Beltway Insider: US-Russia Broker Syrian Deal;Obama Addresses Nation; NYT Prints Putin Op-Ed; Nation Remembers 9/11

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The United States and Russia have brokered a deal, in principal, with the government of Basher al-Assad forcing the authoritarian leader to relinquish control of Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal or face swift, severe, and effective retaliation.

According to Gallup, President Obama’s job approval, over the past week, rose one percentage point to 44% of those polled approve of his effectiveness as President and those who disapprove of his effectiveness as President dropped two percentage points to 46%

Syria Agrees to Deal; Averts U.S. Strike

The United States and Russia, led by Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergi Lavrov, after President Barack Obama and Russia President Vladimir Putin met in a pull aside meeting at last week’s G-20 Summit, brokered a deal which would effectively dismantle Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal and hold Bashar al-Assad accountable for any violations.

At the urging of the United Nations and the global community, the two superpowers in an attempt to find an alternative solution, engaged in dialogue with the Syrian government, which resulted in a strict resolution that momentarily averts a military strike against the battered country.

The last ditch deal stops all aggression from the U.S. as President Obama had maintained a course of action that would serve as retaliation for Bashar al-Assad’s use on August 21, 2013 of Sarin gas, which killed over 1400 villagers in the suburbs of Damascus. The deal also spared the people of Syria from suffering, after two years of civil war, a major air attack.

“This framework provides the opportunity for the elimination of Syrian chemical weapons in a transparent, expeditious, and verifiable manner, which could end the threat these weapons pose not only to the Syrian people but to the region and the world, the international community expects the Assad regime to live up to its public commitments.”  President Barack Obama said in a statement issued by the White House after the deal.

Pledges within the framework of the deal places immediate pressure on Syria to live up to its promises and demands the weapons be placed under International control within one week.  There are also consequences should Syria fail to comply with any point within the declaration.

President Obama also stated “While we have made important progress, much more work remains to be done. The United States will continue working with Russia, the United Kingdom, France, the United Nations and others to ensure that this process is verifiable, and that there are consequences should the Assad regime not comply with the framework agreed today. And, if diplomacy fails, the United States remains prepared to act.”

The deal has unilateral, widespread and global support, with cautious endorsement from allies France and Great Britain. The plan has also been endorsed by non-traditional allies including China, who has voiced support as well as Syria’s Middle East and Arab Peninsula neighbors.

It is important to add that while a deal has been brokered, in principal, all parties agree that should Assad violate any of the agreed terms he will be held accountable and face severe retaliation which also has unilateral support.

President Obama Address Nation on Syria

President Obama, prior to the resolution hammered out over the weekend, addressed the nation to gain support for the United States determination to punish the Syrian government for the use of chemical weapons that violated a global proliferation treaty.

President Obama addressed the American people, on the eve of the 12th Anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, as the investigation and the campaign to hold Bashar al-Assad accountable for his use of Chemical weapons continued.

Making his case, President Obama became a man of the people, describing in layman’s terms the current Syrian situation.

The current strategy, which is lost in the last two years of White House rhetoric in which President Obama has vocally opposed Assad and the Syrian leadership, is the elimination of Syrian’s chemical weapons, use and stockpile.

The Chemical Weapons Convention which over 198 countries, even non-traditional allies of the United States, have agreed to abide outlaws the production, stockpiling and use of Chemical Weapons and any weapon which could be considered chemical within the boundaries of the contemporary chemical weaponry.

Syria has acknowledged the August 21, 2013 attack although the Assad government has denied responsibility alleging the rebels may have had access and used the weapons to invoke U.S. led military action.

President Obama also used the time for a public Q & A answering questions he indicated came from concerned citizens. The most pointed questions including the possibility of assassinating Assad, as Obama stated in question form “what good is the strike if we don’t get him?”  He also answered the most common questions which surrounded long term military involvement. He reiterated there would be “No prolonged air campaign, no boots on the grounds, no long term campaign, no pin prick strike,” and he added “the U.S. Military doesn’t do pin prick strikes.” 

Since Arab Spring President Obama and other leading democrats have voiced their dislike of Assad and the necessity of his removal.  The United States allies in the region, those countries affected most by the tyrannical abuse brought on by Assad, agree.

While Assad is supported by Russia, at this time even Russian President Putin agrees the arsenal of chemical weapons governed by Assad must be removed and he must not have access to those banned weapons.

The Senate viewed videos that through Syrian News media, International News Organization and social media posting reveal the aftermath of the Sarin gas attacks.

The images depicted show dead children in the last moments of life, adult men barely conscious foaming at the mouth and nose shaking uncontrollably, hospitals overwhelmed with patients lying on the floor. Additional video show a make shift morgue, bodies claimed by family members, wrapped ready for burial, parents mourning their children. All videos are dated August 21, 2013.

The 13 videos that escaped Syria and shown to the senate can be viewed here: They contain GRAPHIC death images.  http://www.intelligence.senate.gov/syriavideo.html

 

Solemn Ceremonies Mark 12th Anniversary of September 11th Terror Attacks

President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joseph Biden and Dr. Jill Biden, marked the 12th Anniversary of the 9/11 Terror Attacks by observing a moment of silence, along with the White House staff, on the White House lawn.

This solemn moment was one of many ceremonies marking the September 11, 2001 Terror Attacks that killed close to 3000 Americans at three separate sites on the eastern seaboard.

The World Trade Center complex now the site of Freedom Towers marked the day as they have each year by reading the names of victims murdered, paying tribute to the spirit of those killed and focusing on the families who suffered on that day and every day after.

September 11, 2001

On the morning of September 11, 2001 Al Qaeda terrorist Mohammad Atta, and nineteen others commandeered four planes from different airports on the east coast, two flights, America Airlines 11 and United Airlines 175, originated from Boston Logan Airport, United Flight 93 from Newark International Airport in New Jersey and American Airlines Flight 77 from Washington Dulles Airport. All flights were bound for Los Angeles.

With 15 minutes of take off, the planes were taken over and averted to targets, according to later published reports the Al Qaeda pilots had final control over the target, including the World Trade Center in New York City’s financial district, The Pentagon and the forth plane was headed for either the White House or Capital.

Three of those projectiles hit the targets demolishing the World Trade Center complex and five surrounding buildings, the Pentagon sustained heavy damages, and the forth plane was re-taken by a brave group of passengers who understood, as they had contacted family members and knew the planes were being used to wage war on the United States, that the plane was headed to Washington to complete the destruction of symbols of America’s freedom and democracy. That plane, United 93, crashed into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. All passengers and crew members aboard died.

What these terrorists didn’t know is the spirit of democracy is not housed in a building; it is housed and held with passion in the hearts of Americans. What they didn’t know on that day, is that Americans, even the most jaded, would rally around the destruction and vow to rebuild; vow to support and vow to change. And that is what we all did.

September 11 is now more than a day of remembrance it is a day where all, from all walks of life, spend that day honoring those who died by participating in the National Day of Service which was birthed from the tragedy.

New York Times Prints Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Op-Ed

The New York Times, in rare objectivity, printed an Op-Ed piece written by Russian President Vladimir Putin which also addressed the American people.

The opinion piece, not the inflammatory rhetoric the United States has heard from militant leaders in the past, but a clear voice of calm and reason urging American leaders to allow objectivity to prevail and take the necessary steps to ensure the Syrian people do not suffer further.

President Putin voiced many of the same concerns Americans had with the swift decision made by President Obama.

Putin’s opinion didn’t strike as being so obscure or out of touch with reality as to label him a tyrannical dictator supporting the even crazier Assad.

Putin explained the delineation of war powers belong with the United Nations, and giving a brief history lesson he also wrote on how the United States and Russia have been enemies and allies. Diplomatic relations with Russia will always remain an evolving relationship; the United States deals with Russia across many spaces and therefore the relationship shallow or strained in one area will be strong and growing in another.

Putin also explained his working relationship with President Obama was a growing one of “trust.” The two leaders have many of the same economic problems plaguing their countries and look to each other to find working solutions.

Putin also made it clear that he understand and knows, as the world does, that Chemical weapons were used in Syria.

He stated “there is every reason to believe it was used not by the Syrian Army, but by opposition forces, to provoke intervention by their powerful foreign patrons, who would be siding with the fundamentalists. This opinion is one that many America writers, leaders and politicians, have also stated.

The opinion piece ran in the New York Times printed edition appearing on September 12, 2013 in the New York edition on page A31 under the heading “A Plea for Caution from Russia.” A version of Putin’s piece also appeared in the online edition.

Many politicians have publically stated the piece made them want to vomit. It can be read via this link:  NYT: A Plea for Caution From Russia

 

For more information on President Obama: www.whitehouse.gov 

 

Sources: Gallup, Wikipedia, Whitehouse.gov, The New York Times

 

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