President Obama said this morning that he would put strikes against Syria on hold if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad agrees to turn control of his country’s chemical weapons over to the international community.
The possible agreement comes after Russia proposed the notion to Syria, and according to reports, Syria accepted. Secretary of State John Kerry made a seemingly rhetorical statement on Monday when he suggested that the United States would back down from military action if Syria turned its chemical weapons over, further stating that he believed there was virtually no likelihood of this ever happening. Russia took interest in that sentiment, and now a Syrian official is saying that the country has agreed to the proposal.
The announcement has been taken with understandable skepticism, however, as the United States and its allies worry that this could potentially be a tactic used to stall a military strike longer than it’s already being stalled.
Still, President Obama said Monday that he’s open to the possibility of this happening.
“We’re going to run this to ground,” he said in an interview with CNN. “And John Kerry and the rest of my national security team will engage with the Russians and the international community to see can we arrive at something that is enforceable and serious.”
This new development comes on the heels of a Congressional vote that would determine whether or not the United States would actually engage in a military strike against Syria for the government’s alleged use of chemical weapons on their own people. Even though there was a scheduled vote, it was still unclear whether or not President Obama would override it and pursue military action regardless. Now, with a possible diplomatic agreement from Syria, none of this may matter.
According to reports, Syria accepted the proposal set forth by Russia in an effort to “remove the grounds for American aggression.” Some see this development as a huge step towards peaceful international relations, while others don’t totally believe it to be true.
Republican Senator John McCain, who agrees with proposed military action against Syria, says that while he is very skeptical, he thinks that this could be the right way to go if it is indeed true.
“That would be for the immediate dispatch of international monitors to these chemical weapons site,” said McCain “But the fact is, you can't pass up this opportunity — if it is one."
President Obama will discuss this latest development in an address to the nation tonight at 9 p.m. Eastern.