The Washington Times on September 15, 2013, reported that US Senator McCain threw cold water on the deal the United States and Russia have struck to dismantle the Syrian government’s chemical weapons stores by 2014, arguing it does nothing to keep the use of force on the table and help the rebels topple an Assad regime accused of gassing its own people. Excerpts below:
Mr. McCain, Arizona Republican…who’s called for more forceful action in Syria, said the agreement went soft on Syrian President Bashar Assad despite tough talk from President Obama in the wake of an Aug. 21 chemical attack on civilians near Damascus.
“And by the way, they didn’t even assign blame for this attack,” Mr. McCain told NBC’s ” Meet the Press.” “In fact, [Russian President Vladimir] Putin in his op-ed piece…said that it was the rebels, it was the Free Syrian Army that committed this. There is not a seriousness on the part of the Russians.”
Ultimately, Mr. McCain said, the Americans did not strike a winning deal with the Russians.
“I think it’s a loser, because I think it gave Russia a position in the Middle East which they haven’t had since 1970,” he told NBC. “We are now depending on the good will of the Russian people if Bashar Assad violates this agreement. And I am of the firm belief, given his record, that is a very, very big gamble.”