The best possible outcome

To ensure success, a military threat against Assad should be present; the US Congress should endorse this policy.

Bashar Assad and Vladimir Putin 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Bashar Assad and Vladimir Putin 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The agreement reached in Geneva on Saturday between the United States and Russia to remove all chemical weapons from Syria is an amazing development.
According to the agreement, Syria will submit a full report of its chemical arsenal within a week, allow international monitoring by November and full removal by June 2014.
There is no doubt that this agreement is a huge diplomatic success for Russia and a personal achievement of President Vladimir Putin.
Putin dared to oppose the US every step of the way, scuttled its strategy, and took the lead on the Syrian crisis to the disappointment of US allies in the region.
This was aggravated by the inaction and indifference of Europe.
If this agreement is fully implemented it will be the best possible outcome, and will serve as a face saver for President Barack Obama after the recent indecisiveness and inconsistencies coming out of Washington regarding Syria. However, the only measure of success is the full and timely compliance of Syria without any evasions, procrastinations, or interference by President Bashar Assad.
Full transparency must be maintained throughout the process, and the UN task force handling the monitoring and subsequent removal must be capable, serious and undeterred.
To ensure success, a credible military threat against Assad should be constantly present. The US Congress should endorse this policy.
The Russian success is even more salient, with Putin maneuvering Obama into a supporting role – the first time the US has relinquished leadership since World War II. This US-Russia cooperation may be a model for neutralizing the Iranian threat, but this will take much more resolve, determination, and leadership by the United States.The writer, the founder of The Truth About Israel, is a former deputy foreign minister and ambassador to the US.