A French attempt to sneak language authorizing military action into the UN Security Council resolution on Syria’s chemical weapons disarmament, a plan backed by US and British officials, has failed, and the US is resigned to the resolution moving forward without any military option built in.
The concession means that the Russian resolution will essentially be the one accepted, and that while still officially claiming the “right” to attack Syria at any time, the Obama Administration is backing off its threats.
US officials had previously criticized the Russian plan as “toothless” because it didn’t include a threat of war, but since Syria has already ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) now, there was realistically little argument to be made for threatening war in the resolution.
US and Russian officials are holding talks in Geneva on the matter at the moment, and the tack the administration is now taking is to try to include some sort of vague threat of sanctions if the CWC disarmament, which is expected to take many years at any rate, begins stalling.
Russian officials have been adamant about not including anything that could even tangentially refer to military action in the UN resolutions on Syria, noting that a Libya resolution authorizing a no-fly zone was immediately spun by the US as authorization for an all-out war of regime change, and fearing that Syria would be a repeat.
The US, more than any other nation, exemplifies the slow nature of the process of disarmament, as the Nixon Administration began a process of unilateral disarmament by dumping weapons wholesale in the ocean, and 45 years later the US still retains such weapons, and isn’t expected to be done disposing of them for another decade.
In Syria, the process has the extra complication of an ongoing civil war, meaning that job one for the international community will be keeping al-Qaeda dominated rebel factions from seizing the arms.
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