The World Awaits Russian Solution to Syrian Problem

Obama says American military strike would be off if chemical weapons are given up

By: Jaron Serven

President Barack Obama met with members of the American press on Monday, September ninth, and said he would back off on planned American strikes on Syria if a peaceful agreement could be reached.

“It’s certainly a positive development,” the president said, referring to the plan proposed by Russia for Syria to give up its store of chemical weapons.

“If, in fact, that happens,” he clarified.

Yet the proposed plan is quickly becoming a reality.  USA Today reported on Thursday, September 12, that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad agreed to pass control of its entire chemical weapons arsenal under international authority.

President Assad said the decision was made “because of Russia …The US threats did not influence the decision.”

Syria has been at civil war since the Arab Spring began in 2011. For months there had been rumours of chemical weapons being used by the government against both the rebel forces and its own civilians.

The international community has been unrelenting in its negative view on the use of chemical weapons. Many Western nations threatened military action against the Syrian government if the use of chemical weapons were confirmed.

Yet for many in the West the ambivalence of getting involved in another war in the Middle East – with operation Iraqi Freedom firmly entrenched within the minds of many Americans – has created a negative outcry. There is reticence on the part of elected officials to sanction any such military action.

Further complicating matters is the Syrian rebels’ possible ties with Al-Qaeda, as well as allegations of rebels using chemical weapons themselves. Despite these concerns, the Associated Press recently reported that the CIA was supplying military aid to the rebels in the form of machine guns and ammunition.

Before the weekend it seemed as if President Obama was poised to act with or without the consent of Congress. But the Russian proposal for Syria to give up its chemical weapons defused a situation that was poised to push many other countries into conflict.

For the time being, the world breathes a collective sigh of relief and waits as negotiations begin to bring all of Syria’s chemical weapon stores to light.  But there is more work needed to conclude this situation peacefully.

Jaron Serven graduated last year as a Master in English from UAlbany, and is now a professional freelance writer/editor in the Greater New York City Area.  Follow him on twitter @j_serv, and check out his music and culture blog at www.jaronserven.com

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