Syria Says It Will Accept Proposal to Give Up Its Chemical Weapons

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Sept. 10 2013 10:23 AM

Syria Says It Will Accept Proposal to Give Up Its Chemical Weapons

179198287
Protesters shout slogans during a rally against a possible attack on Syria in response to alleged use of chemical weapons by the Assad government on September 1, 2013, in Hatay

Photo by Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images

This morning brings us more signs that the Obama administration's perhaps-accidental, perhaps-on-purpose new plan for Syria is taking hold, via the Associated Press:

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

Syria has accepted a proposal to place its chemical weapons under international control for dismantling, the Syrian foreign minister said Tuesday, as France proposed a U.N. resolution that would enforce the plan militarily if the government failed to follow through.
The moves are part of flurry of diplomatic activity aimed at averting Western military action. Speaking in Moscow, Walid al-Moallem said his government quickly agreed to the plan to "thwart U.S. aggression" — an allusion to possible U.S.-led strikes in retaliation for a deadly Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack near Damascus that Western powers blame on the Syrian regime. Syrian President Bashar Assad has denied the claim.
Advertisement

Al-Moallem's brief statement sounds more definitive than his previous remarks, which stopped short of promising to comply with a Russian-led call for the Assad regime to turn over its complete stockpile of chemical weapons. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Moscow is now working with Damascus to draw up a detailed plan of action. France, meanwhile, plans to formally put forward a resolution codifying the proposal to the United Nations later today, at which point we'll see if the general international consensus that is emerging can survive what is likely to be another round of U.N. debate between Syria's longtime patron (Russia) and Bashar al-Assad's critics.

The Obama administration is no doubt wary of Assad's intentions—Kerry even made it clear yesterday during his ad-libbed remarks that set the current plan in motion that he didn't believe the Syrian president could be trusted—but at this point it appears likely that the White House will give the plan a shot as President Obama faces continued skepticism at home over his original call for limited military strikes aimed at punishing, but not toppling, Assad.

"I think you have to take it with a grain of salt, initially," Obama said yesterday in an interview with NBC, one of a half dozen he gave to U.S. networks ahead of Tuesday's primetime speech. "We’re going to make sure that we see how serious these proposals are."

***Follow @JoshVoorhees and the rest of the @slatest team on Twitter.***

This post was updated with additional information.

TODAY IN SLATE

Culturebox

The Ebola Story

How our minds build narratives out of disaster.

The Budget Disaster That Completely Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics

A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers

Education

Welcome to 13th Grade!

Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.

Culturebox

The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

Want Kids to Delay Sex? Let Planned Parenthood Teach Them Sex Ed.

Would You Trust Walmart to Provide Your Health Care? (You Should.)

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 22 2014 9:42 PM Landslide Landrieu Can the Louisiana Democrat use the powers of incumbency to save herself one more time?
  Business
Continuously Operating
Oct. 22 2014 2:38 PM Crack Open an Old One A highly unscientific evaluation of Germany’s oldest breweries.
  Life
Gentleman Scholar
Oct. 22 2014 5:54 PM May I Offer to Sharpen My Friends’ Knives? Or would that be rude?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 22 2014 4:27 PM Three Ways Your Text Messages Change After You Get Married
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 22 2014 5:27 PM The Slate Walking Dead Podcast A spoiler-filled discussion of Episodes 1 and 2.
  Arts
Culturebox
Oct. 22 2014 11:54 PM The Actual World “Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 5:33 PM One More Reason Not to Use PowerPoint: It’s The Gateway for a Serious Windows Vulnerability
  Health & Science
Wild Things
Oct. 22 2014 2:42 PM Orcas, Via Drone, for the First Time Ever
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.