Monday, September 16, 2013

The Syria deal

Just a few weeks ago, it looked like the US - having learned nothing from Iraq, Afghanistan, or its other military adventures - was going to begin a punitive bombing campaign in Syria. Now, thanks to an off-the-cuff remark by John Kerry and some efforts by the Russians, it looks like they won't:

The US-Russia deal on Syria's chemical weapons is a "victory" that averts war, a Syrian minister says.

The framework document says Syria must provide full details of its stockpile within a week - with the chemical arsenal eliminated by mid-2014.

If Syria fails to comply, the deal could be enforced by a UN resolution with the use of force as a last resort.

So Syria surrenders its chemical weapons, and the US doesn't bomb its children. I fail to see a down-side here. No, its not going to stop the regime's murder of its own citizens, but that was never on the table anyway. What was on the table was a random US bombing campaign, with certain civilian casualties and strong risks of regional escalation. Now that has been averted - for now.