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Russia-Syria: Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov picked on an off-hand sarcastic suggestion by the US Secretary of State today. Russia proposed that Syria place its chemical weapons under international/UN control. It urged Syria to concentrate the chemical weapons and prepare to dismantle them.
Syrian Foreign Minister Mu’allim replied that Syria welcomed the Russian proposal and invited UN inspectors to return to Syria to begin the process..
Comment: Western commentators opined that the Russians and Syrians were bluffing. However, Lavrov was the first to suggest that the US Secretary of State might not be serious. Nevertheless, he indicated Russia would immediately begin to work with Damascus on the proposition if it makes it possible to avoid strikes against Syrian.
In this proposal, the Asad government would stay in power, as multiple commentators have noted, and the UN or some other international entity would become the referee. A US attack could not be justified as long as good faith negotiations made progress.
The opposition would consider itself betrayed and might attempt to demonstrate that sentiment. It had been preparing an offensive surge to coincide with the US cruise missile attacks.
Syria also requested an assessment by the International Atomic Energy Agency of the effects of a Tomahawk missile strike on Syrians nuclear reactor. The US objected to the request as beyond the scope of the Agency’s charter