The war clouds hovering over Syria since the last few weeks seem to have scattered as Syria has agreed to surrender its chemical weapons. On September 9, Secretary of State John Kerry made a casual suggestion that Syria should hand over its chemical weapons within a week. Russia was quick to respond and propose the same to Syria, to put its chemical weapons under international inspection. Syria readily agreed to it paving the way for a diplomatic solution of the problem. After these developments, the US Senate delayed voting on the issue of attacking Syria which was earlier scheduled for September 11.
A day after these developments, President Obama declared to “post-pone” the Congressional vote authorizing military strike. Meanwhile, various countries including India and China supported the Russian proposal. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, “The Russian side is currently busy preparing a clear-cut, workable plan for placing Syrian chemical weapons under international control”.
In a statement on Russian state television, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al Moallem said Syria was ready to co-operate fully with a Russian proposal to put its chemical weapons under international control and would stop producing them. Now, Syria has expressed its willingness to abide by Chemical Weapons Convention.
Though Obama has put a pause button on a military strike on Syria, he didn’t miss a chance, in his televised address, to portray the Assad regime as a threat to American security, even as fast-moving diplomatic developments offered the prospect that military action could be averted. It raises a point that in the guise of moral responsibility, America keeps showing its attitude of world domination.
Anti-war sentiment is already growing in public. A poll conducted by Reuters and AP has revealed that 63 per cent of Americans oppose intervention in Syria. Similarly, people in Britain and France are also opposing military intervention in Syria. US, in the name of saving humanity, and also its own security has already carried out many wars. Around 10 years ago America attacked and occupied Iraq alleging that there were weapons of mass destruction in its possession which could prove to be a threat to world. Later, no weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq.
On the one hand America has started talks to reach a diplomatic solution on the Syrian issue and on the other American Security Agency CIA has increased its assistance to rebels. According to a Washington Post report, after months of promises to provide aid to Syrian rebels in an ‘official’ manner, Washington has finally sanctioned open delivery of arms and ammunitions to anti-Assad forces – despite fears that some of the weapons could end up in the hands of Islamic fundamentalists which comprise the major chunk of rebels. And there are reports from Turkey that Syrian rebels aligned with Jabhat Al Nusra were found possessing 2 kilograms of Sarin gas. They might have got hold of some chemical weapons while over-running Assad’s weapon depots and bases. Reports are also there that Saudi Arabia had supplied the rebels with chemical weapons. In the present situation, it is wise for the Assad regime to surrender its chemical weapons to the International community to avoid any pretext of being attacked by US and its allies.
In an interview with Russia Today, Ray McGovern, a veteran CIA analyst said that the intelligence gathered against Syria’s Assad was manufactured by elements within the spy community in order to mislead the US President to take punitive action. McGovern is among the signatories to the letter from veteran intelligence professionals to Obama, saying that Assad is not responsible for the chemical attack. He also said, “The reason that they don’t adduce the evidence is because it wouldn’t stand up not only in the court of law, it wouldn’t bear close scrutiny. We’ve been down this road before. It happened before in Iraq.”
The Russian proposal not only saved Syria from war but it has also been a face saver for President Obama as majority of people would have disapproved of military action. Earlier, he was refusing to address the issue in the UN Security Council but now he has agreed to it.
Amidst all this, a UN probe has revealed that at least eight massacres have been perpetrated in Syria by the Assad regime and its supporters and one by rebels over the past year and a half. Both sides were responsible for war crimes. U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay said that military action against Assad for his alleged use of chemical weapons last month would only worsen the prospects for peace in Syria.
Though talks are going on about the chemical weapons issue, Obama is constantly building up pressure on the Syrian government. He also said that any agreement to remove Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile “needs to be verifiable and enforceable.” But on the other hand, President Assad refuted America’s claim that Syria has agreed to the Russian initiative to avoid military strike and called it an “American propaganda”. In a television interview to a Russian news channel, he said that they were ready to give up chemical weapons if America stopped threatening them and supplying weapons to the rebels.
With Russia and the United States reaching an agreement on the “framework” for placing the chemical weapons of Syria under international control and finally for their destruction within the “first half of 2014”, and Syria formally joining the Chemical Weapons Convention, Russian diplomatic efforts and people’s anger against American military intervention in Syria have won the day. Now United States and its allies may try to exploit the non-compliance of Syria on chemical weapons to go for a military strike. Therefore, diplomacy must prevail to tighten all loose ends in the initiative to eliminate all WMDs in the Middle East including those of Israel. But for now, diplomacy has won peace in Syria.