Globe Mail 130911

Eli Lake reports that Israel played a role in developing the initiative to disarm Syria’s chemical weapons in 2013. Former Israeli ambassador to the United States claims, in a new book, that the plan originated in the Israeli government. A senior US official (yes, another anonymous one) says that the US and Russia were discussing the possibility before the Israeli proposal.

Whatever the details, removing Syria’s chemical arsenal was a win for the Israeli government. Syria had developed chemical weapons in response to Israel’s nuclear arsenal, so that removal assured Israeli military dominance in the region.

It has seemed to me from when US Secretary of State Kerry answered a reporter’s question by saying Bashar al-Assad could give up his chemical weapons and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov jumped in and said, in effect, “Let’s do it!” that there had to have been some coordination previously. I came close to saying that here and here¬†and have probably said it explicitly on Twitter.

Criticism of President Barack Obama for taking the offer of disarmament instead of holding onto his “red line” comment about chemical weapons use seems to be overtaking the consideration of partially disarming one of the parties to the Syrian civil war. Diplomacy consists of finding conditions that provide some positive outcome for all parties. There is far more to diplomacy than “Bomb, bomb, bomb” the latest enemy. Disarming Syria’s cw was by far the better choice.


Photo from Globe and Mail, September 11, 2013.

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