A diplomatic agreement between Syria, Russia, and the United States on removing Syria's chemical weapons is possible, but is "fraught with obstacles and difficulties," Gen. Wesley Clark tells Newsmax.
"Will [Syria] tell us the truth on where it is? What if they stall? What if they withhold? What if they move stuff out? What if the Russians are conniving it one way or another? And what if it's all about just trying to stall so the Americans lose their nerve to do the strike?"
"It's up to the diplomats," Clark said in an exclusive interview with Newsmax TV. "But here's the thing: When you can get the diplomats arguing, it's better than the soldiers fighting or dropping bombs."
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The retired four-star general says each of the three countries involved in the pending agreement have their own interests at stake and the challenge will be working all those interests together.
"For Assad, of course — it's keep the strike out. For Russia, it's not only keep the strike off, but also elevate Russia's role in this and give [Russia] a permanent foothold in the Middle East and so forth.
"And for the United States, it's better to get rid of the chemical weapons than to drop 400 warheads on something, because this way you might actually make a dent in the future possibility of chemical-warfare use. And once this is done ... it's a big step in moving forward against chemical weapons," Clark explained.
The former 2004 presidential candidate for the Democratic party also said that it remains to be seen if Iran is serious about wanting diplomacy over militarism — especially since this has been the pattern for the Middle East country over the last several years.
"There's always an interest in opening the talks, especially if it will reduce sanctions or postpone the day of reckoning," said Clark, former chief of Operation Allied Force in the Kosovo War while he was serving as Supreme Allied Commander Europe for NATO.
"So Iran's very eager to talk. Whether they're willing to give up anything for it remains to be seen, and that's really the issue facing the United States in the West.
"If Iran is serious about not wanting to [go to] war again, I'd like to see them pull all of their forces out of Syria, get rid of that presidential guard that's in Syria helping Bashar Assad, tell Hezbollah to pull back Lebanon and stay away, [and] let the Syrians sort out their problems," he added.
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