Assad Comes Out on Top in Syria Deal

Putin now 'US ambassador to Syria': GOP senator
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 16, 2013 11:47 AM CDT
Assad Comes Out on Top in Syria Deal
In this frame grab from video taken Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, and provided by "CBS This Morning," Syrian President Bashar Assad responds to a question from journalist Charlie Rose during an interview in Damascus, Syria. In the interview broadcast Monday on CBS, Assad threatened to retaliate for any military...   (AP Photo/CBS This Morning)

(Newser) – Following the US-Russia agreement on Syrian chemical disarmament, plenty of political insiders are furious with the Obama administration—but the White House has its defenders. What the media is saying:

  • At Bloomberg, Jeffrey Goldberg sees a major victory for Bashar al-Assad: "The US has in a perverse way made Assad its partner," he writes, noting that Washington "now needs Assad in place for the duration. He’s the guy, after all, whose lieutenants know where the chemical weapons are." Still, Obama has "reinforc(ed) the international taboo on the use of chemical weapons, and that’s not nothing."

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  • Obama has bowed to Vladimir Putin's will for years, and now the Russian president has become the "de facto US ambassador to Syria," writes GOP Sen. John Barrasso in the Wall Street Journal. It's "extremely unlikely that Russia is suddenly now going to cooperate with the US," and it's "downright naïve to think that Mr. Putin will do anything that President Obama asks him to do without exacting a huge price in return."
  • Meanwhile, at the Washington Post, Marc Thiessen notes that "this entire episode has been driven not by deliberate strategy but by slips of the tongue," whether Obama's "red line" or John Kerry's chemical-weapons offer. Moreover, "it’s supposed to be the president of the United States who gives a dictator a face-saving way out, not the other way around. The sad fact is Obama needed this way out more than Assad."
  • But Michael Tomasky is sick of hearing complaints from those who drove us into Iraq—"the very people who turned the world against us," he writes at the Daily Beast. Maybe Obama hasn't shown George Bush's so-called "resolve," but he's "spoken honestly to the American people, obeyed their strong majority view, and secured a deal that for the moment represents the outer limits of the possibility of doing good in Syria."
(Read more John Kerry stories.)

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