This is a big deal! Russia and Syria has not only agreed that Syria has chemical weapons, a huge deal was reached on Saturday calling for these chemical weapons to be accounted for and destroyed by the middle of 2014!
The joint announcement, on the third day of intensive talks in Geneva, also set the stage for one of the most challenging undertakings in the history of arms control.
“This situation has no precedent,” said Amy E. Smithson, an expert on chemical weapons at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies. “They are cramming what would probably be five or six years’ worth of work into a period of several months, and they are undertaking this in an extremely difficult security environment due to the ongoing civil war.”
Although the agreement explicitly includes the United Nations Security Council for the first time in determining possible international action in Syria, Russia has maintained its opposition to any military action.
But George Little, the Pentagon press secretary, emphasized that the possibility of unilateral American military force was still on the table. “We haven’t made any changes to our force posture to this point,” Mr. Little said. “The credible threat of military force has been key to driving diplomatic progress, and it’s important that the Assad regime lives up to its obligations under the framework agreement.”
Republicans however, are not having it. Moment after the news broke that an agreement was reached, Senator John McCain and Lindsey Graham issued a statement saying, the deal allows Syrian leader Bashar Assad”to delay and deceive” while the country’s civil war continued.
The statement said: “It requires a willful suspension of disbelief to see this agreement as anything other than the start of a diplomatic blind alley, and the Obama administration is being led into it by Bashar Assad and [Russian president] Vladimir Putin.”0