Obama: Syrian War ‘On Hold’ if Assad Hands Over Arms

Claims to Have Been Pushing Russia on Plan Since Last Year

After previous comments from the State Department tried to downplay the impact, President Obama has confirmed today that if Syria continues with plans to turn over its chemical weapons to the international community for destruction he will put plans to attack Syria “on hold.”

Calling Syria’s agreement to give up its arms a “modestly positive development,” Obama also tried to paint it as vindication for his weeks of threatening to attack Syria, saying they wouldn’t have agreed to the offer if he hadn’t been planning to start a war. Congress is expected to reject his authorization for the war by a wide margin, though the White House is still hoping they will move forward with the vote, despite the war being “on hold.”

The offer was proposed by Secretary of State John Kerry earlier in the day and endorsed by Russia and Syria within a matter of hours, and also endorsed by the international community in the hours that followed.

Though this is the first we’re hearing of it, and the reactions from Russian Foreign Ministry and Syrian officials suggested it was the first time they’d seen it, President Obama claimed that he had been pushing Russian President Vladimir Putin on the plan to disarm Syria for over a year, saying they had discussed the matter at least year’s G20 as well as the one last week. Putin has yet to confirm this.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.