Diplomatic success on Syria hinges on conduct of Russia

Diplomatic success on Syria hinges on conduct of Russia

2But Syria is not Iraq. Iraq, contrary to the Bush administration assurances, had no weapons of mass destruction. The recent poison-gas attack launched by the Syrian government confirms that not only do the Syrians possess weapons of mass destruction; they have the means of delivering them.

For more than two years now, rebels have been fighting a war to depose Bashar al-Assad, an unspeakably cruel, despicable tyrant. Even though the U.S. government is openly hostile to Assad, we have refrained from offering the rebels any more than token support and for good reason. A substantial number of them are religious extremists who harbor a deep hatred for our country and all that we stand for.

Were they to defeat the Syrian army and gain control of the country, they would be in control of all the chemical and biological weapons in the Syrian arsenal, at which point “it doesn’t concern us” would no longer apply. Weapons such as these falling into the hands of people who have sworn to obliterate us could have catastrophic consequences.

Missiles and airstrikes would work only if all the chemical weapons and the means to deliver them could be destroyed. Unfortunately, bombing stockpiles of chemical weapons would likely release them into the atmosphere causing cataclysmic suffering and death to God only knows how many people.

Diplomacy would seem to be the only possible solution, but this will be impossible without Russian cooperation. President Obama must convince world leaders to pressure Russia to stop military support for Syria while at the same time work to encourage and support trustworthy Syrian groups to develop plans to govern the country.

Make no mistake; this is an enormously difficult task but one necessary for our own security as well as the security of the people of the Mideast.

Robert F. Mollic, Liberty