Thursday, August 29, 2013

Diplomatic fantasy hour

Cooling down from a run, I caught myself at the tail end of a little diplomatic fantasy: the Obama administration furnishes strong proof that the Assad regime carried out the chemical weapons attack -- and wins a Russian agreement to cut off the arms flow for long enough to equal the estimated damage of a contemplated U.S. missile strike. Or an Iranian agreement.

I know, I know....

UPDATE, 9/1/13:
  1. IAEA or P5? RT : Head of AEOI Salehi says next round of - P5+1 talks scheduled for 27Sept
  2. Should mesh interestingly w/ possible strike on Syria. Deal? You cut off arms to Syria for 3 months; we won't bomb.

    18m  there are an awful lot of moving parts, some potentially pushing US & Iran to an understanding, incl. on Syria CW

    ...steady stream of messages from Iran suggesting tacitly may accept US assessment re: Syria CW :
Update 9/3: Barbara Slavin reports on signs that the U.S. may be opening the door to Iranian inclusion in Syrian peace talks.

Update 9/9: Today we learn that I didn't let my imagination go far enough:
Asked at a news conference in London if there were steps the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, could take to avoid an American-led attack, Mr. Kerry said, “Sure, 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 the full and total accounting.” He immediately dismissed the possibility that Mr. Assad would or could comply, saying, “But he isn’t about to do it, and it can’t be done.”

However, in Moscow, Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, who was meeting with Syria’s foreign minister, Walid al-Moallem, said in response that Russia would join any effort to put Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons under international control and ultimately destroy them. 

Mr. Lavrov appeared at a previously unscheduled briefing only hours after Mr. Kerry made his statement in London, taking Mr. Kerry’s comments as a way to suggest a possible compromise. 

“We don’t know whether Syria will agree with this, but if the establishment of international control over chemical weapons in the country will prevent attacks, then we will immediately begin work with Damascus,” Mr. Lavrov said at the Foreign Ministry. “And we call on the Syrian leadership to not only agree to setting the chemical weapons storage sites under international control, but also to their subsequent destruction.” 

Mr. Moallem said later in a statement that his government welcomed the Russian proposal, Russia’s Interfax News Agency reported, in what appeared to be the first acknowledgment by the Syrian government that it even possessed chemical weapons. The Syrian government has historically neither confirmed nor denied possessing such weapons.
This has that too-good-to-be-true feeling, like the prospect in 2009 that Iran would send its highly enriched nuclear fuel to Russia or Turkey for safekeeping. But for a diplomatic moment I'll indulge sweet hope.

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