Syrian leader must pay a price
for gassing his own people
Secretary of State John Kerry is in Geneva for talks about the Syrian Crisis. Click image to enlarge.
IN ALL THE EUPHORIA over the possibility of a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Syria, a central point seems to have been overlooked by almost everyone.
If, as planned, Syria agrees to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s plan to surrender its chemical weapons to international control, and that’s the end of it, Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad will go unpunished for gassing his own people.
This is unconscionable.
The evidence that Assad ordered and condoned the attack is overwhelming, despite Putin’s credibility-destroying claim in his op-end in The New York Times that it was the rebels who used the chemical weapons.
Any settlement that excludes some form of punishment for Assad will be taken as a sign by dictators everywhere that they can do the same – and get away with it.
Due to my need for Atonement and travel time, posting will be limited for the next few days.
MEANWHILE, it is full speed ahead on the Putin “compromise.”
The BBC is reporting Friday morning that talks are under way in Geneva.
The BBC story on Friday morning about the talks in Geneva. Click image to enlarge.
In Syria crisis: Tense US-Russia talks on chemicals deal we learn that:
“The Russian and US foreign ministers have begun crucial talks in Geneva on a plan to place Syria’s chemical weapons under international control.
“Sergei Lavrov and John Kerry said they hoped the plan could avoid military action against Syria.”
If these talks are successful, Assad will get away with mass murder without even a slap on the wrist.
The story adds an important point: “The UN has confirmed it has received documents from Syria on joining the Chemical Weapons Convention, a key step in the Russian plan.
“Syria’s president said it would submit arms data one month after signing.” (Emphasis added)
All the momentum for taking action will dissipate by then. This issue cannot be allowed to drag on and on without some form of response from the one power than can – and should – do something about it.
Will President Obama sit back and wait another four weeks for Syria to comply?
What is his timetable?
It is a huge pity the president did not lay out a timeline for action in his otherwise superb address to the nation on Tuesday evening.
He left negotiations open-ended, with no deadline for something concrete to be accomplished.
This was a major oversight.
It allows the Russian leader and his client in Syria to play the delaying game until the west loses interest in the situation and turns its attention elsewhere.
In a Washington Post story this morning, Secretary of State Kerry hints – but only obliquely – at the possibility of the Putin plan being a delaying tactic.
The Washington Post reports that Kerry’s patience with Syria’s Assad is not limitless, but he wont wait a month. Click image to enlarge.
In the story U.S.-Russia talks on Syria chemical arsenal begin on tense note Anne Geran and Karen DeYoung write:
“U.S.-Russia talks over eliminating Syria’s chemical weapons began here Thursday on a wary and stilted note, as Secretary of State John F. Kerry said U.S. military forces remain poised to attack Syria if a credible agreement is not rapidly reached and implemented.”
But nowhere in the story does Kerry say WHEN the patience of the U.S. will run out.
“Syrian President Bashar al-Assad added to the tension by saying that he is willing to place his chemical arsenal under international control — but only if the United States stops threatening military action and arming rebel forces trying to unseat him,” the story reports.
The Syrian president wants a month to take action.
“Kerry made clear that he had a much shorter time frame in mind and that Assad was not a party to the negotiations,” the report says.
Again, it ducks the crucial issue: WHEN will the time be right for the end of talks and the start of action?
We don’t know – yet.
The are so many unanswered questions at this point, but the two crucial ones that desperately need answers are these:
WHEN will negotiations be abandoned as a delaying tactic, and HOW will Assad be punished for what he has already done?
It is time for us to demand clear and precise answers to these vital questions. Everything else depends on what the answers are.
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