1344. William Scott Scherk   said:


Syrian Arab media controlled by the regime and its allies are celebrating a great victory. I don’t see how being forced to disarm is a victory. Perhaps it is like the triumph of 1973.

The Syrian Information Minister gave an interview to ITV, in which he was careful to not injure the feelings of his employer. The official line is that Syria will comply fully with UN directives.

Question: The deal says you must provide a full list of your chemical weapons within seven days. Will you provide this list in that time?

Answer: Syria will do what it says. Syria will accept whatever comes from the UN Security Council on this deal. Syria has accepted the Russian proposal and is joining the Chemical Weapons Convention. The rest is only detail, procedural detail and not very important.

Question: Will you provide this list just days from now?

Answer: This issue will go to the UN Security Council. Syria will commit itself and respect whatever comes from the council and it will comply.

Question: Is the timetable in the deal a timetable you accept?

Answer: Syria is serious in keeping its promises and Syria is committing itself to whatever comes from the UN. Everyone knows that Syria does what it says it will do.


Question: What do you get from this deal? Your chemical weapons are being taken away. You regarded them as a deterrent. What have the Russians promised you in return – for example, will you get the S300 missile system?

Answer: What we get is our accomplishment in avoiding a war. We have helped the whole region avoid a war.

It is doubtful that Syrian media will stress the actual details of the US-Russian agreement …

In furtherance of the objective to eliminate the Syrian chemical weapons program, the United States and the Russian Federation have reached a shared assessment of the amount and type of chemical weapons involved, and are committed to the immediate international control over chemical weapons and their components in Syria. The United States and the Russian Federation expect Syria to submit, within a week, a comprehensive listing, including names, types, and quantities of its chemical weapons agents, types of munitions, and location and form of storage, production, and research and development facilities.

We further determined that the most effective control of these weapons may be achieved by removal of the largest amounts of weapons feasible, under OPCW supervision, and their destruction outside of Syria, if possible. We set ambitious goals for the removal and destruction of all categories of CW related materials and equipment with the objective of completing such removal and destruction in the first half of 2014. In addition to chemical weapons, stocks of chemical weapons agents, their precursors, specialized CW equipment, and CW munitions themselves, the elimination process must include the facilities for the development and production of these weapons. The views of both sides in this regard are set forth in Annex B.

The United States and the Russian Federation have further decided that to achieve accountability for their chemical weapons, the Syrians must provide the OPCW, the UN, and other supporting personnel with the immediate and unfettered right to inspect any and all sites in Syria. The extraordinary procedures to be proposed by the United States and the Russian Federation for adoption by the OPCW Executive Council and reinforced by a UN Security Council resolution, as described above, should include a mechanism to ensure this right.

Under this framework, personnel under both the OPCW and UN mandate should be dispatched as rapidly as possible to support control, removal, and destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons capabilities.

In other news, an Assad envoy to Iraqi Kurdistan sheds light on Syria’s  waning influence.

Assad Envoy to Kurdistan: Damascus is a Friend of the Kurds

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Syrian President Bashar Assad remains a friend of his country’s large Kurdish minority and wants to keep their relatively calmer regions out of the civil war, said an envoy from Damascus visiting Erbil last week.

Omar Ose, a Kurdish member of the Syrian parliament who is close to the embattled Syrian president, said Assad “is aware of my visit to the Kurdistan Region and he is glad that I am here. In this visit I will explain the Syrian situation to Kurdistan’s leadership as it is.”


“President Assad from the very beginning warned the Syrian army to stay away from confronting or killing the Kurds,” Ose said.


Ose acknowledged that the Kurds have acted wisely by not getting involved in the war, but that they made a mistake in declining Assad’s call for negotiations at the outset of the revolution.

“A year and a half ago he (Assad) sent a plane to the Qamishlo airport to bring the Kurdish leadership to Damascus, but the Kurdish leadership made a historical mistake and refused Assad’s invitation,” Ose explained. “Back then the Kurdish leadership believed that Assad would collapse in a couple of weeks, so why meet with him.”

In an effort to reach out to regional leaders about his country’s crisis, the Syrian president invited Kurdistan Region President Massoud Barzani to Damascus last year, which the latter declined.


“The current Syrian regime is much better than the opposition for the Kurds,” he warned. “It is in the interest of the Kurds if Assad stayed in power.”

“President Assad knows the situation of Kurdistan,” said Ose. “He understands that Kurdistan has good relations with Turkey, America, and Europe.”

I think the Kurds consulted by the envoy will have nodded politely, and sighed inwardly as they were lectured about their ‘mistakes’ in not following the Assad line.

This special visit to Iraq comes days after accord was signed between the Syrian coalition and the largest of the Kurdish bodies of Syria:

Details of Kurdish National Council Union With Syrian National Coalition

Tue 27 Aug 2013

The two groups agreed that Syria should be named the “Syrian Republic” instead of the “Syrian Arab Republic”

The Kurdish National Council has concluded two days of meetings with the leaders of Syrian National Coalition in Istanbul, leading to several major agreements.

A member of the foreign relations committee in the Council, Mustafa Sino described the talks as “positive”.

Most importantly, the two groups agreed that Syria is a federal state that should be named the “Syrian Republic” instead of the “Syrian Arab Republic.” They agreed Syria is a parliamentary republic that contains multiple ethnicities and religions and that   cooperation in the country is based on equality that should protect the rights and identity of Kurds in the constitution.

Negotiations are also being held to include the the Democratic Union Party (PYD) in the Coalition if it clarified its attitude towards the regime.

Sino said the agreement decided to remove all discriminatory policies against the Kurds.

So, a week of great victories for the palace, with its arsenal gutted and its margin of maneuver further limited.

And the war grinds on.