Secretary of State John “I Fought in Vietnam” Kerry was just bloviating when he suggested that Syria could avoid war with the U.S. by handing over all its gas weapon stockpiles to the international community by the end of the week.
It sounded like a deadline wrapped in a veiled threat, so the State Department issued a quick clarification saying that Kerry was just speaking extemporaneously, sans teleprompter.
But the Russians heard Kerry’s press conference and decided it wasn’t such a bad idea. A couple of phone calls and a quick meeting later, and Russia’s foreign minister, Syrian ambassador in tow, was announcing that Syria would agree to turn over its chemical weapon stockpiles for destruction.
That grinding noise in the background during the Russian press conference was President Obama’s entire plan for war being derailed.
But President Obama is nothing if not a gloryhound, so it was after only a few moments of stammering cluelessness that the White House came up with the storyline that Obama was actually responsible for the stunning peace overture because it was his “credible’ threat of military action that made it possible.
A State Department spokeswoman said, “So I think it’s important to keep in mind the context under which this Russian statement and this Syrian statement is happening, that this is only happening in the context of a threat of US military action.”
White House press secretary Jay Carney said, “The only reason why we are seeing this proposal is because of the US threat of military action.”
National Security adviser Ben Rhodes tweeted, “US will review Russian proposal. We want Syrian CW under intl control. Important that this only proposed bc credible threat of mil action.”
Hillary Clinton, who apparently attended the same meeting, said, “It is very important to note that this discussion that has taken hold today about potential international control over Syria’s stockpiles only could take place in the context of a credible military threat by the United States to keep pressure on the Syrian government as well as those supporting Syria, like Russia.”
In other words, the White House message to Russia is: That peace proposal? You didn’t build that.
It shouldn’t be any surprise that Obama would try, yet again, to take credit for other people’s hard work.
It will be interesting now to see how this plays out. Obama has been funding the Syrian “rebels” under the table for years with the intent of giving Bashar al-Assad the boot. Obama’s partners, or perhaps managers, in this have been the Saudis who want to restore a Muslim caliphate with one of their own on the throne.
There’s also a huge cash incentive for the Saudis because Syria had previously rejected a Saudi oil pipeline through their country in favor of one that goes through Iran and Iraq. That’s why the Saudis have openly offered to pay us to clean out the Syrian hornet nest.
There’s a high likelihood that the civilian gas attack that spurred the current round of saber rattling was actually staged by the al-Qaeda-led rebels to give Obama an excuse to openly intervene.
German intelligence sources have reported that Assad turned down several requests by his generals to use the weapons against the rebels.
Syria’s quick agreement to hand over its chemical weapons may suggest that Assad wanted to be rid of them anyway.
Obama now has every reason to try to block this Russian-Syrian proposal, but he can’t be seen to do so. He is, after all, the “peace president.”
Obama’s war plans have lost what little momentum they had. It may take another “crisis” or more trumped-up evidence to get them back on track.