Tags: Syria | John | Bolton | Syrian | Pact

Bolton: Syrian Pact 'Will Die a Death by a Thousand Cuts'

Saturday, 14 Sep 2013 07:47 PM

By Todd Beamon

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Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton predicted on Saturday that the agreement reached between the United States and Russia on destroying Syria's chemical weapons "will die a death by a thousand cuts."

Syrian President Bashar Assad "is required to make his initial declaration on Friday," Bolton, a senior fellow with the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, told Fox News. "It'll slip a few days, or maybe a few more. Maybe the first declaration won't be full and complete, and it'll have to be amended. And, then, it'll have to be amended again.

"You can see the impact of this as time goes on, and I think that's exactly what the strategy is."

Urgent: Who is Right on Syria - Obama or Putin? Vote in Urgent Poll

Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced the agreement earlier Saturday after three days of talks in Geneva.

The agreement requires Syria to 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.

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

"One of the fine ironies here is that we have agreed with Russia, which has been in violation itself of the Chemical Weapons Convention since the treaty came into force [in 1993]," Bolton told Fox. "Most experts agree that Russia did not make its own full and complete declaration of its chemical weapons stockpiles in the mid-1990s, and many believe that Russia has been in violation of the treaty, developing new generations of chemical weapons.

"So the notion that Russia is going to vouch for Bashar al-Assad is almost comical," he concluded. "You can't make this stuff up."

Further, he attacked some of the language in the agreement.

"It says that the Security Council will take measures 'commensurate' with the violations," Bolton noted. "Well, that word means anything you want it to mean — and you can bet that in a debate in the Security Council, it will go on for quite some time."

But, more importantly, President Barack Obama has been greatly helped by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"The president is very grateful to President Putin. He got him out of an impossible dilemma," Bolton said. "I don't think the president himself wants to use force. Now, he will never have to — and he himself said, the longer time goes by from the August 21 use of chemical weapons, the harder it would be to generate the emotion necessary to get the support for the use of force."

The White House has said that more than 1,400 people, including over 400 children, were killed in the chemical weapons attacks on rebel-held suburbs of Damascus on Aug. 21. The Obama administration has since shown gruesome pictures to Congress of Syrians suffering and dying from the attacks in making its case for military strikes.

Urgent: Who is Right on Syria - Obama or Putin? Vote in Urgent Poll

"The idea that you couldn't get the support in Congress to use force against Assad after those pictures means that, nonetheless, you'll be able to get congressional approval because Syria violated this agreement?" Bolton asked. "It's a delusion — and so is [Obama's] Syria policy generally."


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