- Posted September 10, 2013 by
Russian Syria Plan Welcomed with Skepticism
*** Duplicity: deceitfulness, deceit, deception, double-dealing, underhandedness, dishonesty, fraud, fraudulence, sharp practice, chicanery, trickery, subterfuge, skulduggery, treachery, crookedness, shadiness, dirty tricks, shenanigans, monkey business ***
The world gave a collective sigh of relief on Monday following a Russian proposal was put forth to defuse the crisis surrounding the threat of a US military strike against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al Assad as punishment for use of chemical weapons in the ongoing civil war in that Mideastern nation.
Leaders of the Western nations, including President Barack Obama, have welcomed the plan, but with skepticism.
The idea was apparently born following an off-the-cuff remark by Secretary of State John Kerry that the only way Syria may wiggle its way out of a use of force by the US against it was if the Syrians gave up control of its chemical stockpile to international control. Kerry also expressed his doubt that the government of Assad would agree, or even if it did, the planned turned over would be possible.
That remark gave rise to Russia, Assad's chief supporter and ally, to propose that Assad give up his chemical weapons and avert an American missile strike at the nation. The Syrian foreign minister also jumped on board the idea.
Many were heartened by an interview Assad had with Charlie Rose on PBS where the dictator opined he would do anything to keep his country safe from an American attack, which he called interference in a domestic dispute within the nation.
The President, making the rounds of six news networks Monday evening, stated that he was willing to entertain the Russian proposal if it was proffered in good faith and follow-through. He noted his doubt about the proposal and hoped that it was not a stalling tactic by both Russia and Syria.
In the meantime, Kerry pushed vigorously this morning before a House committee for authorization to use force against the Assad regime even though Russia and France have announced submission of plans to take over the Syrian chemical weapons to the United Nations Security Council. Kerry, as did the President last night, stressed to the members of Congress that the only reason the proposal was on the table was because of the threat of military force against the regime.
Kerry said a yes vote would strengthen the US hand and force Assad to follow-through on the proposal. Both Kerry and the President repeated former President Ronald Reagan's mantra of "trust, but verify".
Russia offered a similar proposal over a decade ago at the last minute in an attempt to stave off the US invasion of Iraq, which led to the ouster and subsequent demise of Saddam Hussein. At that time, that proposal was also met with skepticism and did not prevent the war that ensued.
I am not in favor of US intervention or acting as judge, jury and executioner for Syrian use of chemical weapons. I am especially not in favor of the US going it alone or with a handful of nations in alliance.
That said, the idea being proffered by Russia and supposedly being accepted by Assad and his government must be eyed with a critical eye. Both nations have shown that they are quite capable of duplicity.
Is this a stall tactic?
Syria has maintained it does not have chemical weapons. Assad in his interview said as much and called on the President to present concrete evidence his country has weapons of mass destruction and was definitively responsible of the release of the chemical sarin, which killed more than 1,000 including over 400 children.
Now his regime is admitting to the chemicals and agreeing to turn the stockpile over to international control?
Could this be a shell game to allow Assad to move his chemicals out of the country?
Could this buy time to allow the stockpile to be transferred into the hands of Hezbollah, the terrorist organization based in Lebanon?
So many questions still unanswered.
Do we yet know whether it was the regime or the rebels who released the sarin?
Do we want to take action that may tip the scales in favor of insurgents aligned with Al Qaeda?
From the Cornfield, I do not want the US to take military action against Syria. At the same time, I don't want the wool to be pulled over the eyes of our elected officials and our Commander-in-Chief by the Russians and Syrians.
Like the President and Kerry, I agree the best option in regard to the proposals which the UN Security Council will consider today at 4 p.m. - one from France and one from Russia - let us trust, but verify.
BREAKING: Russia has withdrawn its request for the UN Security Council to meet today at 4 p.m. on the Syrian crisis.