The Assad regime praised the US-Russia deal that calls for the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons as a “victory” that helped prevent war. “We welcome these agreements. On the one hand, they will help Syrians come out of the crisis, and on the other hand, they prevented the war against Syria by having removed a pretext for those who wanted to unleash it,” minister Ali Haidar told Russia’s RIA news agency. The minister added that the agreement “is a victory for Syria won thanks to our Russian friends.” Ali was the first Syrian official to give an official reaction to the deal reached Saturday in Geneva, notes Reuters. For their part, rebels continue to be angry at how the whole thing has played out, saying the obsession on poison gas and chemical weapons is nothing but a sideshow. Now that the threat of air strikes has been moved to the backburner, rebels claim that Assad is increasing an offensive using ordinary weapons.
Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry sent a warning to Syria saying that the threat of force could once again quickly be put on the table if Damascus fails to fulfill the steps necessary to get rid of all its chemical weapons. In Jerusalem, where he met with Israeli leaders who are worried about what the deal could mean for the region, Kerry said that “we cannot have hollow words in the conduct of international affairs.” Israel is particularly concerned that if the international community fails to act forcefully in Syria it would encourage Iran to speed up its nuclear program, notes the Associated Press. But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the deal brokered between Moscow and Washington proved that "if diplomacy has any chance to work, it must be coupled with a credible military threat."
TODAY IN SLATE
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
Welcome to 13th Grade!
Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.
The Actual World
“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.