October 15, 2013 |
BEIRUT - For much of Syria's civil war, President Bashar Assad has been a man in retreat. Rebels control vast stretches of his country. A little more than a month ago, he faced the prospect of U.S. military strikes that might have finally tipped the military balance. But the U.S.-Russian deal to eliminate Syria's chemical arms, which headed off a U.S. missile barrage, has changed that. Assad is now an essential partner in a process that will last until at least mid-2014, and could drag on much longer.
September 27, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - The ambitious international effort to take control of Syria's arsenal of chemical weapons, which seemed a pipe dream just weeks ago, has gathered momentum with a rapid-fire succession of dizzying diplomatic milestones. The United Nations Security Council on Friday night unanimously approved a resolution requiring Syrian President Bashar Assad to relinquish his stock of poison gases by mid-2014. International inspectors are expected to arrive in Syria by Tuesday - more than a month ahead of an already accelerated schedule - to begin the complex process of removing, dismantling or destroying the illicit arms.
September 26, 2013 |
UNITED NATIONS - Russia agreed Thursday to back a United Nations Security Council resolution that demands that Syria relinquish its chemical weapons by mid-2014, but stops short of threatening President Bashar Assad with military force if he doesn't comply. The Obama administration hailed the draft agreement as a breakthrough despite the U.S. failure after nearly two weeks to persuade Russia, Assad's strongest international backer, to support a resolution that would invoke Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter and could authorize the use of force or other action if Syria doesn't hand over its chemical arms.
September 23, 2013 |
A mathematical solution in Syria? That's not as crazy as it sounds. In fact, the working compromise is a classic case of the power of game theory, a branch of mathematics that analyzes the best possible outcomes in conflicts where neither side knows what the other will do. It's not about winning as much as it is finding the least worst option, which is precisely what Presidents Obama, Vladimir Putin, Bashar Assad and company have done. No one gets exactly what he wants. But no one loses everything either.
September 22, 2013 |
MOSCOW -- The Kremlin on Sunday accused Washington of trying to sabotage a U.S.-Russian agreement for Syrian leader Bashar Assad to surrender his chemical arsenal. “Our U.S. partners are beginning to blackmail us," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Sunday in an interview with the First Channel, a state-owned television network. He charged that the United States was threatening to "fold up the work" toward securing the chemical weapons if Russia won't back a United Nations Security Council resolution based on Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, which allows the use of force against nations that threaten international peace.
September 18, 2013 |
To strike Syria or not - for Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon (R-Santa Clarita), that wasn't exactly the question. In the Wall Street Journal, he said he couldn't even consider U.S. military intervention unless the military budget was liberated from the sequester. McKeon has represented his rock-ribbed GOP district, in north L.A. County and Ventura County, since 1993. His campaigns have benefited from the district's aerospace and defense industries. He chairs the Armed Services Committee. And the nascent diplomatic deal to "sequester" Bashar Assad's chemical weapons?