Sep 16 2013
By Fatih Abdulsalam
Azzaman, September 16, 2013
Now we have something new floating on the arena of the Syrian crisis. We have a chemical initiative that dominates the scene rather than a political one.
The new initiative is supported by Russia and marketed by President Bashar al-Assad as part of efforts to evade a U.S. strike.
Will Syria’s agreement to dismantle its chemical weapons put an end to its conflict with the west? Will the agreement meet Israel’s wishes to get rid of any chemical weapons close to its borders?
Undoubtedly, the decision by President Assad to destroy his chemical weapons came on the heels of mounting evidence that his forces have been using it against civilians.
Moscow before anyone else was aware of these facts and advised Assad to accept the initiative to have his chemical weapons arsenal dismantled.
The furor over Syria’s chemical weapons was linked to punishing the regime in Damascus for using them. The furor was not at all on the subject of having them destroyed.
How come that the international outcry over the use of chemical weapons against civilians and vows of imminent airstrikes turned into a disarmament issue?
Did Moscow trap Washington or the other way round? Did Russia manage through the deal not only delay but remove the U.S. strike from the table?
The U.S., on the other hand, might think that it has achieved all it wanted from the deal without having to shoot a single bullet. It usually takes devastating wars to reach such a result.
Both options are possible and both Russia and the U.S. might have succeeded in imposing their agendas.
But the deal fails to do justice to more than 1,400 innocent people who were killed in the chemical gas attack.
The chemical initiative does not seem to have viable political connotations. What has happened to the punishment U.S. President Barack Obama vowed to inflict? We have forgotten about punishment and concentrated on the fate of chemical weapons.
It is merely a chemical weapons deal and there is nothing in the horizon of a political solution.
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