NIGHTWATCH: Russia-US-Syria – Link to Putin’s NYT Op-Ed

06 Russia, 08 Wild Cards

Russia-US: President Putin’s opinion piece which was printed by the New York Times is well-written, well-reasoned and insufferable. After their invasion of Georgia in 2008 and operations in Chechnya, the Russians have no standing to lecture anyone about international law and the use of force.

However, Putin helped reset the discussion about the 21 August attack. He admitted that “poison gas” was used without specifying the agent. He wrote that there is reason to believe that the rebels executed the attack to provoke western intervention. He also said that the report of a rebel chemical attack against Israel cannot be ignored.

In attempting to manipulate the US leadership, he spotlighted the unsettling prospect that the Syrian opposition groups are doing the same. The other side of the story that the Russians credit more than US is that the Syrian opposition groups are not gallant freedom fighters in any civilized sense.

Russia-US-Syria: For the record. Russian news agencies quoted a Russian source as saying: “We handed over to the Americans a plan to place chemical weapons in Syria under international control. We expect to discuss it in Geneva.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry and their delegations are scheduled to meet in Geneva on 12 September to discuss the proposal.

Comment: The Russians evidently do have a plan. Meanwhile, the UN Secretary General said the UN report of findings on the 21 August attack would be available next Monday, the 16th.

If the Syrian government judged it needed chemical weapons to defeat the opposition groups, it would seem unwise to agree to place them under international control pending destruction. Asad’s advisors apparently judge they can win without these weapons provided the US does not intervene. Hmm…