BY TIM CUTLER
The United States and Russia reached an agreement on Sept. 12 calling on Syria to reveal and destroy its chemical weapons arsenal according to The Daily Beast and a report from the U.S. Department of State.
Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov came to this agreement in Geneva, after more than two years of deliberation by the Obama administration on how to best tackle the Syrian civil war.
It would appear that progress is finally being made on the Pandora’s Box that is Syria. Still, no one is popping the champagne just yet.
County College of Morris students have strong beliefs regarding the Syrian civil war and the U.S. involvement.
“Right now I can’t take a definite stance as far as Syria because I think America only wants to get involved to teach them a lesson,” said Eileen Byrne, a CCM student. “On the other hand, maybe we should help, but I’m afraid this will become another Iraq. It might not be our place to be involved. By the time we realize it’s a good or bad decision, it will be too late.”
The country’s motives regarding our involvement in Syria have no doubt come under question by its citizens in the past two years, in no small part due to our previous involvement in the Middle East.
“I support U.S. involvement in the agreement, but I agree most with Obama’s previous statement that the country is tired of war,” said James Church, a first-year CCM student. “We’re at a crossroads where anything could happen.”
The volatility of the war in Syria has many in the U.S. hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst.
The framework agreement expects Syria to give “within a week, a comprehensive listing, including names, types and quantities of its chemical weapons agents, types of munitions, and location and form of storage, production and research and development facilities,” stated a U.S. Department of State press release. A tentative goal of meeting these conditions by the first half of 2014 however zealous that may be.
If Syria does not comply, “including unauthorized transfer, or any use of chemical weapons by anyone in Syria, the U.N. Security Council should impose measures under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter,” which the charter states could be “action by air, sea, or land forces as may be necessary….”
The agreement is consistent with Obama’s position of not sending troops to Syria without the approval of Congress. Still, there are some factors keeping this agreement from being idyllic. There is a void in the resolution in the form of one, President Bashar al-Assad, who may well remain in power after the chemical weapons are surrendered and whose retribution is still being sought by the Free Syrian Army (FSA).
There are also no guarantees as to the fate of the FSA, as they will not necessarily stop fighting for such an agreement despite possibly losing aid from the U.S. This could lead to another incident involving chemical weapons if their opposition becomes too fierce and Assad decides not to cooperate.
Additionally, reports from The Daily Beast have detailed attacks on the FSA by al-Qaida portions of the rebels originally focused on Assad. These factors could draw the U.S. and Russia into a quagmire where they may be faced with opposition by Iran, leading to a larger scale conflict, drawing out a war that the U.S., Russia, the U.N. and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons are trying to stop.
For the first time in two years, it would appear as though tangible progress is being made on the Syrian Civil War between the U.S. and Russia. This agreement marks the dawn of what will hopefully be a swift and just resolution. The ball is in Syria’s court now and ultimately the fruition of such an agreement lies in their hands.