Syria update

The latest developments show why the “agreement” to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons is just a political distraction.

Referring to the issue of destroying Syria’s stockpiles of chemical weapons, Mr Assad said it was “a very complicated operation, technically”.


And when asked whether he would be willing to hand over chemical weapons to the US, President Assad said: “It needs about one billion. It is very detrimental to the environment. If the American administration is ready to pay this money and take the responsibility of bringing toxic materials to the United States, why don’t they do it?”


Mr Assad also used the one-hour interview recorded in Damascus to criticise the US stance in the Syrian crisis.

Now that Obama’s plan to bomb Syria has lost all momentum (which is not necessarily a bad thing) Assad can mouth off to his heart’s delight. He will exploit his strong position by spouting the usual propaganda, milking concessions and generally snubbing the West. This is playing right into the hands of Putin, who has managed to outmaneuver, sideline and emasculate Obama. At the time of his choosing Assad will simply say that the West were uncooperative, refused to pay, are spying for the rebels, support Israel (tick one or more options) and the chemical weapons deal is off.  This is the game Iran has perfected in their dealing with the West on the nuclear issue so Assad knows exactly what to do to win. With the military option off the table all Obama can deliver now is his usual muddled rhetoric – a mixture of populism and vague threats.

While dealing with rogue states is inherently difficult, Obama has an even worse record than the recent US presidents. North Korea detonated a number of nuclear bombs on his watch, Iran has repeatedly snubbed him, the war in Afghanistan in going nowhere and now Syria is developing into a fiasco. Additionally, the US dithering has cost them any credibility in Egypt. One is beginning to wonder why anyone should treat the US seriously these days.


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