Putin gets his deal, Obama gets his out, Assad gets away with it. Syria says it accepts Russian chemical arms proposal:
The Syrian government has accepted a Russian proposal to turn over its chemical weapons to international control to avoid a military confrontation with the United States, Syria’s foreign minister said Tuesday. “Yesterday [Monday] we held a round of very fruitful negotiations with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and he put forward an initiative regarding chemical weapons. Already in the evening we accepted Russia’s initiative,” Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said after meeting with the speaker of the Russian parliament. Muallem said Damascus accepted the Russian initiative to “derail the U.S. aggression.” The report was initially carried by the Russian news agency Interfax. Meanwhile, Lavrov said that Russia is now working with Syria to prepare a detailed plan of action, which will be presented shortly.
From the claws of defeat and humiliation, Obama is claiming victory (h/t JWF):
If POTUS hadn't threatened credible military response, does anyone believe Russia and Syria would be coming forward now? No time to falter.
— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) September 10, 2013
— Eric Boehlert (@EricBoehlert) September 10, 2013
There is a kernel of truth in Axelrod’s triumphalism — but just a kernel. The way this was handled was a complete embarrassment and near-disaster, saved only by Vladimir Putin.
The end also isn’t clear. Will this be words, just words, or will Syria actually turn over the chemical weapons?
And it’s hard to see this as punishment for Assad. He got away with mass murder, literally.
Putin comes across as the world leader. Obama and the U.S. come across as laughing stocks.
If you're just tuning in, the Russians offer Obama a poison chalice. And he accepts. http://t.co/dNLOm22OoT
— Noah Rothman (@NoahCRothman) September 10, 2013
Update: Even Obama accolytes see it for what it is:
The big spin upon us in form of the Putin-Assad plan as fruit of Obama's resolve. In fact this is a case study in presidential hesitancy.
— Roger Cohen (@NYTimesCohen) September 10, 2013
(added) And then there’s this:
— Free Syria Media Hub (@Fsa_Media_Hub) September 10, 2013