It was announced on Saturday that a U.S.-Russian agreement was made to secure Syria’s chemical weapons. The deal was hashed out between American and Russian diplomats, who began to strive for a compromise after the threat by President Obama to use military force against Syria.
This controversy began in late August when the Syrian government, led by Syrian president Assad, allegedly used poison gas against rebel-held suburbs in Damascus. More than 1,400 people were killed during the attack, including many women and children.
What many people don’t realize is that a civil war has been going on in Syria for several years. Rebels in the area have been trying to overthrow president Assad’s government. This compromise is disappointing in a way because it does nothing to address the war, or the use of conventional weapons, that have resulted in the death of more than 100,000 people in Syria. The agreement simply concerns the use of the illegal chemical weapons.
One thing this agreement did do is eliminate the need to use a targeted military strike on Syria. After the attack, President Obama proposed that we take military action in the form of targeted missile strikes, a proposal that was widely unpopular in the eyes of Congress and the public. After many years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan, many people are weary about getting involved in this war. Although this plan of military action is off the table, Obama said that it is still an option if Syria does not comply with demands.
According to the agreement, Syria will be responsible for submitting a comprehensive inventory of its chemical weapons stockpile. International weapons inspectors will be in Syria no later than November, and the destruction of these weapons should take place sometime next year. President Obama stated that the agreement, “represents an important concrete step toward the goal of moving Syria’s chemical weapons under international control so that they may ultimately be destroyed.”
I have very mixed feelings about the conflict in Syria, but I am glad that an agreement could be reached that didn’t involve military action. I still have my doubts about the agreement, but it seems promising. I also think that the civil war in Syria needs to be addressed because of the vast number of casualties that it has caused. I can only hope that our leaders will do the right thing in such a cloudy and complex situation.