14 Sep Putin & Assad: 1; Obama: 0; Syrian People: -1
That’s the tally in light of the deal that has been reached regarding Syria’s chemical weapons. The US position was that any agreement had to permit the use of force against Syria in case of noncompliance. But the US-Russian deal simply calls for the Security Council to consider the consequences of noncompliance under Chapter VII; it does not commit the Council to any particular course of action. And we know what would happen to a resolution authorizing force:
Under a “framework” agreement, international inspectors must be on the ground in Syria by November, Mr. Kerry said, speaking at a news conference with the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey V. Lavrov.
Under the agreement, Syria must submit a “comprehensive listing” of its chemical weapons stockpiles within a week.
American and Russian officials also reached a consensus on the size of Syria’s stockpile, an essential prerequisite to any international plan to control and dismantle the weapons.
“If fully implemented,” Mr. Kerry said, “this framework can provide greater protection and security to the world.”
If President Bashar al-Assad of Syria fails to comply with the agreement, the issue will be referred to the United Nations Security Council.
Mr. Kerry said that any violations would then be taken up under Chapter 7 of the United Nations Charter, which authorizes punitive action. But Mr. Lavrov made clear that Russia, which wields a veto in the Security Council, had not withdrawn its objections to the use of force.
Obama not only failed to muster a credible threat of force, he has now failed to ensure that Syrian noncompliance will result in real consequences. Score one for Putin and Assad.
The real losers in the deal, however, are the Syrian people. If the agreement holds, Assad will have effectively been given the green light by both the US and Russia to continue killing his citizens. He just won’t be able to use chemical weapons to do it.