Over the course of the last few weeks, President Obama has threatened strikes on Syria in response to chemical weapon use, but diplomacy may solve the crisis.
In the face of an imminent attack on Syria, Russia has brought a new proposal asking the Assad government of Syria to hand over all of the chemical weapons to the United Nations.
As well, Syria has been asked to join the Chemical Weapons Convention outlawing the production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons.
“It is important to recognize that Syrian civil war is very complex and fought on many layers, including local, national, regional and global,” Yusuf Sarfati, director of the Middle Eastern and South Asian minor program, said. “Therefore, any solution to the Syrian civil war needs to be a political solution where all sides including the opponents and supporters of Bashar Assad come to a negotiation table and decide on the future of Syria.”
As of Saturday, the United States and Russia have agreed on a proposal to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal after nearly three days of talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
While skeptical, the U.S. administration seems to be willing to give this diplomatic solution a chance as it would achieve the same ends. It would prevent Assad from using chemical weapons in the future, Sarfati said.
“This is a welcome development as it would solve the dilemma of the administration without resorting to military force,” Sarfati said.
President Obama, who had askedCongress to vote on the subject of whether to strike in Syria, has
now asked Congress to postpone this vote to see if Russia and Syria negotiations prove prosperous.
Lane Crothers, professor and director of assessment in the department of politics and government, commented on Americans feelings toward an attack and Obama’s plan.
“President Obama recognized that many Americans were uncertain about the attack on Syria and wanted Congress’ support before launching any attack,” Crothers said. “President Obama gave a long speech Tuesday night on this point. One can always attack later if diplomacy does not work.”
Under the pact, Syria must submit a comprehensive listing of its chemical weapons stockpiles within one week.
If Syria does not comply with the agreement, they would face consequences under Chapter 7 of the United Nations Charter, the section covering sanctions and military action. The listing must be approved and finalized by the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons.
A list has not been submitted yet from Syria and further action is pending.