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by Stephen Lendman
Tuesday, Sep. 17, 2013 at 6:48 AM
Washington and Israel Conspire to Oust Assad
by Stephen Lendman
On September 15, Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi said his government "views with great seriousness the Russian-US deal."
It intends to observe it to the letter, he stressed. It's "committing itself to whatever comes from the UN. We accept the Russian plan to get rid of our chemical weapons."
"In fact, we've started preparing our list. We are already documenting our papers, and we have started to do our job."
"We don't waste time. For 40 years, Syria has always been trusted once it has committed itself." Syria will "absolutely" grant UN inspectors access to storage sites.
It "respects and honors what (the agreement) says. We take (it) very seriously."
It doesn't matter. Obama's committed to regime change. So is Israel. Both countries want Syrian sovereignty destroyed. They want pro-Western puppet governance replacing it. They want Iran isolated. They want Shah era harshness restored.
Plans remain unchanged. Implementing them is delayed. John Kerry warned:
"Make no mistake. We have taken no options off the table." The US/Russian deal "will only be as effective as its implementation will be, and President Obama has made it clear that to accomplish that, the threat of force remains."
"The threat of force is real." Destroying Syria's chemical weapons "set(s) a marker for the standard of behavior to Iran and with respect to North Korea."
Netanyahu thanked Kerry's efforts "to rid Syria of its chemical weapons."
He ignored his own country's formidable nuclear, chemical and biological weapons arsenal saying so. He was silent about the enormous threat it poses.
Syria threatens no one. Israel and America threaten humanity. According to Netanyahu:
"The Syrian regime must be stripped of all its chemical weapons, and that would make our entire region a lot safer."
"The world needs to ensure that radical regimes don't have weapons of mass destruction because as we've learned once again in Syria, if rogue regimes have weapons of mass destruction, they will use them."
"The determination the international community shows regarding Syria will have a direct impact on the Syrian regime's patron, Iran."
"Iran must understand the consequences of its continual defiance of the international community, by its pursuit towards nuclear weapons."
"What the past few days have shown is something that I have been saying for quite some time, that if diplomacy has any chance to work, it must be coupled with a credible military threat. What is true of Syria is true of Iran, and, by the way, vice versa."
French President Francois Hollande made similar comments. He wants a Security Council resolution passed. "We can vote on (it) before the end of the week," he said.
"It must include the threat of sanctions. We can now seriously think of a diplomatic solution, but the military option must remain. Otherwise there is nothing to stop Syria."
Like Washington and Israel, he wants Assad ousted. He said he always favored that outcome. On Monday, he and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius met with Kerry in Paris.
UK Foreign Minister William Hague and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu joined them. Kerry met separately with Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal. Belligerent strategy going forward was discussed.
Former Obama Middle East official Dennis Ross urges air strikes. He wants "a vote on the Hill" avoided.
"To have the diplomatic initiative fail and not carry out strikes would certainly make it hard to convince anyone that our words mean anything," he said.
Former Obama Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary for the Middle East Colin Kahl said a "credible threat of military force needs to be left on the table."
He urged contingent congressional authorization for it if Syria reneges. Senate and House hawks want military force.
On September 14, Senators John McCain (R. AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R. SC) issued a joint press release, saying:
"What concerns us most is that our friends and enemies will take the same lessons from this agreement - they see it as an act of provocative weakness on America's part."
"We cannot imagine a worse signal to send to Iran as it continues its push for a nuclear weapon."
"Without a UN Security Council Resolution under Chapter 7 authority, which threatens the use of force for non-compliance by the Assad regime, this framework agreement is meaningless."
"Assad will use the months and months afforded to him to delay and deceive the world using every trick in Saddam Hussein's playbook."
"It requires a willful suspension of disbelief to see this agreement as anything other than the start of a diplomatic blind alley, and the Obama Administration is being led into it by Bashar Assad and Vladimir Putin."
"What's worse, this agreement does nothing to resolve the real problem in Syria, which is the underlying conflict that has killed 110,000 people, driven millions from their homes, destabilized our friends and allies in the region, emboldened Iran and its terrorist proxies, and become a safe haven for thousands of Al-Qaeda affiliated extremists."
"Is the message of this agreement that Assad is now our negotiating partner, and that he can go on slaughtering innocent civilians and destabilizing the Middle East using every tool of warfare, so long as he does not use chemical weapons?"
"That is morally and strategically indefensible."
"The only way this underlying conflict can be brought to a decent end is by significantly increasing our support to moderate opposition forces in Syria."
"We must strengthen their ability to degrade Assad's military advantage, change the momentum on the battlefield, and thereby create real conditions for a negotiated end to the conflict."
On September 15, the UN News Centre headlined "Ban receives report from team probing possible chemical weapons use in Syria, will brief Security Council on findings."
On Monday, he did so in closed-door session. He'll also brief General Assembly members. On Tuesday, the report will be posted on the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs' web site: http://www.un.org/disarmament.
On Sunday, Russian State Duma (lower house) international affairs committee head Alexei Pushkov twittered:
"The agreement on Syria should not create any illusions: it has not hampered the US military strike (and) does not mean refusal from a 'regime change' in Syria."
Going forward, he said, the US/Russian deal prevents insurgents from blaming Assad for chemical weapons use. "Now it will be clear that only they could have done this," he stressed.
He expressed concerns that implementing the agreement may stall. Only general principles were stipulated. Moscow and Washington may disagree on key issues. It happened many times before.
Most important is the threat of force. Russia categorically opposes it. According to Pushkov:
"(W)ill the US treat this Syria chemical disarmament deal with Russia as a basis for further cooperation, or will Moscow and Washington once again disagree in their views of the issue, and Washington will pursue its previous goal - to topple the Assad's government by all means."
At the same time, destroying Syria's chemical weapons won't be simple to accomplish. Former commander of British forces in Afghanistan Richard Kemp said:
"I think it
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