Obama: Syrian Strike On Hold if Assad Gives Up Chemical Weapons

Obama: Syrian Strike On Hold if Assad Gives Up Chemical Weapons

In an interview with ABC News’ Diane Sawyer today at The White House, President Obama said a U.S. military strike would "absolutely" be put on hold if Assad gives up control of Syria’s chemical weapon arsenal.

"I consider this a modestly positive development," the president said. "Let's see if we can come up with language that avoids a strike but accomplishes our key goals to make sure that these chemical weapons are not used."

Obama also spoke with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, reiterating that the United States will work to arrive at an agreement "that is enforceable and serious," noting this proposal could lead to a "breakthrough."

This is after Secretary of State John Kerry’s impromptu comments earlier today that Assad could “turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week,” a statement the State Department initially referred to as a “rhetorical argument" before international leaders, specifically the Russian foreign minister, "welcomed" the strategy. Because, again, sometimes you might be able to solve problems without bombing a bunch of people who live thousands of miles away.

[Image via Getty]

9
Original post by Cord Jefferson on Gawker

Impromptu Comment from Kerry May Have Been the Key to Avoiding War

Impromptu Comment from Kerry May Have Been the Key to Avoiding War

It turns out that sometimes you might be able to solve problems without bombing a bunch of people who live thousands of miles away. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is learning this after Syria, Russia, and the United Nations all appeared receptive to Kerry's suggestions that Syria hand over all its chemical weapons to "the international community" in order to avert a potential U.S. strike.

The New York Times reports:

Asked at a news conference in London if there were steps the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, could take to avoid an American-led attack, Mr. Kerry said, “Sure, he could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week—turn it over, all of it, without delay and allow the full and total accounting.” He immediately dismissed the possibility that Mr. Assad would or could comply, saying, “But he isn’t about to do it, and it can’t be done.”

While Kerry balked at his own suggestion, other leaders seemed to be taking it into serious consideration. Russia's foreign minister, who had been in meetings with Syria's foreign minister, said Russia would support any plan to confiscate Syria's chemical weapons and destroy them. Others soon followed suit: "In quick succession, the idea of sequestering Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile was also endorsed by Britain’s prime minister, David Cameron, the United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, and France foreign minister, Laurent Fabius."

And so a war may have been avoided because John Kerry made an offhanded comment in a press conference. Whatever works, I guess.

[Image via AP]

9 Reply