Syria ‘welcomes’ international control over chemical weapons, State Department says it will not avert US strike
By Madison Ruppert
Editor of End the Lie
Despite a statement from Secretary of State John Kerry that indicated Syria could avoid an attack by ceding control over their chemical weapons, a move which they welcomed, the State Department has now said that it was not a real offer.
It appears that the U.S. is now saying that Syria cannot do anything to avoid a strike, even if they comply with the demand to relinquish chemical weapons within a week, as Russia has also encouraged them to do.
This comes after the White House admitted that they do not have “irrefutable beyond-a-reasonable-doubt evidence” of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad using chemical weapons. A report also recently noted that the Obama administration continues to struggle to actually link Assad to the attack.
These developments are interesting because Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem said on Monday that they welcomed the proposal from Russian officials.
“Syria welcomes the Russian proposal out of concern for the lives of the Syrian people, the security of our country and because it believes in the wisdom of the Russian leadership that seeks to avert American aggression against our people,” Moallem said.
Lavrov not only called for international control of Syrian chemical weapons, but also called for the complete destruction of them, according to ABC News.
However, Russian officials were apparently under the impression that handing over the weapons would mean the U.S. would not attack Syria.
“If the establishment of international control over chemical weapons in that country would allow avoiding strikes, we will immediately start working with Damascus,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.
Lavrov was apparently misled by Kerry’s statements, something which the State Department said was only a “rhetorical argument” and not a real offer, according to Good Morning America.
When someone asked if Assad could do anything to avoid war, Kerry said he “could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week. Turn it over, all of it, without delay and allow a full and total accounting.”
Yet that statement didn’t really mean anything.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that Kerry’s point “was that this brutal dictator with a history of playing fast and loose with the facts cannot be trusted to turn over chemical weapons.”
On Monday night, Israel’s Channel 2 quoted an anonymous Israeli official who said that Moscow had created a situation in which the U.S. could no longer launch the “punitive” and “limited” strikes it had promised, according to the Times of Israel.
In an interview with CBS filmed in Damascus, Assad denied any involvement in the chemical weapons attack and further warned of possible retaliatory attacks if the U.S. conducts a military operation on his country.
Assad said that Americans could “expect every action” in response to an attack. The Syrian government’s response “may take many forms,” including “direct and indirect” effects, Assad said to CBS, according to Reuters.
It remains to be seen if the chemical weapons proposal will become reality and what, if any, impact this will have on the American approach to Syria.
UPDATE: The statements made by the State Department earlier Monday were blatantly contradicted by Obama himself in later statements. Obama now says he is willing to “absolutely” wait on conducting a military operation in Syria if Assad complies with the chemical weapons proposal. One must wonder if this too is a “rhetorical argument” or a real offer.
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