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Fred Fleitz: Syrian Chemical Weapons Deal 'Toothless'

By Todd Beamon   |   Saturday, 14 Sep 2013 09:56 PM

The agreement announced on Saturday between Washington and Moscow to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons is a "toothless agreement" that will be difficult to enforce, LIGNET.com chief analyst Fred Fleitz said.

"It says that Syria will be referred to the U.N. Security Council for sanctions and other action, but the Russians have already said that they're not going to tolerate authorization of the use of force," Fleitz told Fox News. "So, basically, we've said that we're going to throw paper at the Syrians if they don't comply with this agreement," Fleitz said.

LIGNET.com is Newsmax's global intelligence and forecasting service.
Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced the agreement earlier Saturday after three days of talks in Geneva.

Under the accord, Syria must submit a "comprehensive listing" of its chemical weapons stockpiles within a week. Arms inspectors must be on the ground in Syria by November, with the goal of eliminating the country's chemical weapons by the middle of next year.

The agreement, however, contains nothing about the potential use of force if Syria fails to comply — and Kerry said at joint news conference that no pre-agreement existed on what action the U.N. Security Council might take if Syria failed to comply with the plan.

"The president has already given in to Russia's concerns," Fleitz told Fox, referring to President Barack Obama. "Originally, the United States, the U.K., and France said that there was going to be the threat of the use of force if the Syrian government did not live up the language of a resolution to remove their chemical weapons. The Russians would not agree to that."

Neither Russian President Vladimir Putin nor his Syrian counterpart, Bashar Assad, can be trusted under this deal, Fleitz said.

"He's a former KGB officer, and his government is arming the Syrians," he said of Putin. "They're using this as an effort to rein in the United States, to reduce America as a great power.

"Russia is not a superpower anymore, and this is a vehicle that a number of nations use. They use the United Nations to try to restrict American power.

"We should not be giving China and Russia a veto over the use of U.S. military force," he said.

As for Assad, "it's sort of mind-boggling" that he would now be expected to give up his chemical weapons, Fleitz said. "But no matter how weak this agreement is, we want Syria to give up its chemical weapons.

"My concern is that this agreement is going to have major problems: It's extremely difficult and costly. We need people to go in there and find these weapons. We may need troops to safeguard them.

"The Syrian government has a history of not cooperating with international teams and not safeguarding their safety," he told Fox. "With the lack of an enforcement mechanism, it’s hard to see why they're going to cooperate. There's going to be lengthy negotiations.

"If there's a violation, the Syrians will deny it," Fleitz added. "The Russians will back them up. There's a lot of trouble on the horizon for this."

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