Now that President Obama has made his case to the nation for holding Syrian President Bashar Assad responsible for a chemical weapons attack near Damascus last month, the next key moment in the quickly evolving crisis appears to be Thursday’s meeting in Geneva between Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
Russia has proposed — and the Assad regime has reportedly accepted — that the Syrian government hand over its chemical weapons to international monitors for destruction. Obama said Tuesday night that the Russian initiative “has the potential to remove the threat of chemical weapons without the use of force.”
The president and his top aides, however, have said that the Russian effort can’t turn into a drawn-out delaying tactic on the part of the Assad regime. “We’re not waiting for long,” Kerry said Tuesday.
On the NPR Newscast early Wednesday, Jean Cochran rounded up the latest developments and looked ahead to the diplomatic dance with Russia. Christopher Hill, a veteran U.S. diplomat whose postings include a stint as ambassador to Iraq, said in Jean’s report that Russia’s involvement may be helpful.
“The Russians have been pretty strong in various international fora against these kinds of banned weapons,” Hill said. “The Russians have a real interest in making sure that something is done about this.”
The morning after the president’s address, the headlines include:
— “Obama’s Speech On Syria May Fail To Sway Doubters.” (It’s All Politics)
— “Accounting For And Destroying Syria’s Chemical Arsenal … A Complicated Undertaking.” (Morning Edition)
— “Chemical Weapons Disarmament Hard Even In Peacetime.” (The New York Times)
— “To Russia With Love?” (Politico)
— “Syrian Refugees In Turkey Want U.S. Strikes, Turks Are Wary.” (Morning Edition)
— “Syrians’ Resentment At Western Delay.” (BBC News)