The Syrian government has apparently accepted a Russian plan to turn over its chemical weapons to the United Nations, after which the UN would store and destroy them, the acceptance coming after the United States threatened to use military force against the Bashar Assad regime because of its alleged use of chemical weapons against the rebels fighting against it. US President Barack Hussein Obama is trumpeting the acceptance as a victory for American diplomacy and bellicosity and is taking as much credit for it as he possibly can.
Not so fast Barack.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has just announced that the United States must call off the use of military force against Syria before an actual deal is concluded and carried out.
Why did he do it?
Because Russia is a major ally of Assad and wants to keep Assad in power for its own geopolitical and national security reasons, because he doesn’t want to weaken Assad, because he doesn’t want Assad to give up his chemical weapons, because he recognizes and understands how important it is to defeat the rebels, because it was all a set-up from the beginning and because he decided to hedge his bets.
He need not have worried. Syria would not have given up any of its chemical weapons anyway because Assad and everyone else realized a long time ago that Obama’s threat to use the American military was empty and simply not credible because Obama just doesn’t have the stomach to launch an attack, certainly not one that would cause any real damage in any case. Whether or not Obama calls off the military is in fact irrelevant…Putin, Assad and all the other players know that anything Obama does will be small-scale and won’t really change anything, if in fact he winds up doing anything at all.
Putin also doesn’t like or respect Obama very much and has really boxed him in and made him look like a fool here. That may be one of the reasons why he came up with the plan in the first place and then attached conditions to it. It could all have been a smoke and mirrors confidence trick to humiliate Obama without weakening Assad.
If so, it worked.
If Obama calls off the use of military force and the Syrians prevaricate and keep their chemical weapons (which is exactly what will happen) it will be obvious to everyone that he was manipulated and taken advantage of. If he ends up using military force he will be called a warmonger and virulently criticized on any number of levels, not the least of which is that he will have used it essentially on behalf of the rebels, whose hatred and disgust for all things American is well known, who want to destroy America and who have committed and continue to commit innumerable atrocities in their fight against Assad, including quite possibly using chemical weapons themselves. There are no good options for Obama here and Putin has seen to it.
Either way, thanks to Obama Assad doesn’t have to be concerned about meaningful American intervention and is free to carry the war to the rebels.
The last thing the Middle East, America and the world needs, with the possible exception of a Muslim Brotherhood government in power in Cairo, is a rebel government in power in Damascus, even if Obama doesn’t recognize and understand that.
The sooner the rebels are defeated the better. Obama really wants them to win despite all his rhetoric and false protestations and moralizing, but that’s just one of the many things he’s dead wrong about.
Bombs away Bashar.