There has been real progress made to resolve the crisis in Syria. This will involve Syria surrendering the stockpile of Serum Gas and other chemical weapons stockpile. The benefits of this arrangement are that it allows Syria to avoid a U.S. led military strike, It allows the US to have achieved something worthwhile without having the domestic issues involved in an international war, and it allows the Russians to feel like they have been the heroes though clearly they have a vested interest in Syria not being bombed as they have military installations in Syria.
The issue arose when in eastern Damascus nearly 1500 people died as a result of the use of Serum gas. Around one-third of these were children. This outrage to humanity offends us all. Since the 1920’s there is a broad general agreement that these weapons is unacceptable in any circumstance.
Of course the use in an internal conflict is even worse. The US and others presume that the administration deployed the weapons. The Russians suggest that it fact they it was rebels who used them. As both Russia and the US have vetoes in the Security Council of the UN so the UN has been essentially ineffectual in resolving this issue.
The stature of Barrack Obama, in my eyes at least, has risen significantly through this episode where he has in the true sense of the prophetic sought to demand justice for the 1500 non-combatant civilians whose lives were lost in this insidious way. One of the problems with chemical warfare is that it is essentially the weakest who are the most vulnerable and least able to escape of protect themselves. The Russians seem to look a little compromised, firstly arguing that it was the rebels who used the gas – this seems unlikely as there is no suggestion that they have any access to it while it is known that the Government of Syria has stockpiles of such weapons – and then seem to have suggested the deal whereby the administration in Syria surrender its stockpile rather than face a U.S. led strike. Russia’s mediterranean naval base is on Syrian soil and they clearly profit from arms supplies to the Syrian Government and the Russian Economy is probably not that flash and needs all the support it can get.
None the less it is good for the world that we appear to have averted another armed conflict and hopefully removed some of the appalling weapons. It seems that the game changed somewhere in the discussion, which began with condemnation and seeking justice for the innocent, and ultimately moved to how do we get out of this without another war. Does this solution carry with it any sense of justice for the victims? Has any one been identified has having used the weapons? Can there be peace without Justice?
I guess we cannot expect a perfect solution in a less than perfect world, and we can be thankful that we are moving in a positive direction.