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Elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons is above all Russia’s merit


MOSCOW, August 20 /ITAR-TASS/. The elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons and the prevention of bombardments of Damascus that might have sparked another large-scale war in the Middle East is above all Russia’s merit, says the president of the Geopolitical Analysis International Centre, Colonel-General Leonid Ivashov.

The operation to neutralize Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile was completed on board the special US ship The Cape Ray in the Mediterranean Monday on. It was an occasion for US President Barack Obama to hail what he described as "an important achievement in our ongoing effort to counter the spread of weapons of mass destruction."

Further on Obama said this: "We also thank our close allies and partners - Denmark, Norway, Italy, Finland, Germany, and the United Kingdom - for their key contributions to this mission, and we appreciate the assistance of Russia and China."

“In reality, Barack Obama’s and his team’s plan in 2013 was to slam Damascus for allegedly using chemical weapons against civilians and on that pretext to topple President Bashar Assad and bring their creatures to power, the way it was previously done in Iraq and Libya,” Ivashov told ITAR-TASS in an interview.

“Russia and China as permanent members of the UN Security Council throughout 2013 repeatedly blocked US-authored draft resolutions of the UN Security Council that would be tantamount to permission to bomb Syria. Russia managed to set the world public opinion against yet another military operation by the Pentagon and its NATO allies in the Middle East. The leaders of the BRICS countries, representing half of the world’s population, came out against proposed bombardments of Syria. The United States was forced to drop the original intention to eliminate Syria as a state,” Colonel-General Ivashov said.

“It was Russia that proposed the plan for putting Syria’s chemical weapons under international control, which Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov more than once discussed in Geneva with US Secretary of State John Kerry. None other than Vladimir Putin less than a year ago told the final news conference of the G20 summit in St. Petersburg that the use of chemical weapons in Syria was a provocation by militants, and that any strike against that country without UN permission would breach the law,” the expert recalled.

“Russia’s plan for the elimination of chemical weapons envisaged several stages. In phase one Syria joined the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). In phase two Damascus declared the sites where chemical weapons were produced and stored. In phase three it allowed OPCW inspectors to visit these sites. And in phase four it made a joint decision with the inspectors on how to dispose of the chemical weapons. Syria agreed with that plan and the chemical weapons stockpiles have now been eliminated,” the expert said.

“The fact that the United States undertook to handle and neutralize Syria’s chemical weapons was ordinary business. Russia had been prepared to participate, too. But the United Nations decided to give the money to fund the disposal operation to the Pentagon, which merely put it to use,” Ivashov believes.

“Damascus had needed weapons of mass destruction as a counter-balance to Israel’s nuclear potential. Last September Israel fired two ballistic missiles in the Mediterranean. It was an attempt to provoke Damascus into dealing a retaliatory attack. The United States then would have got an excuse to start bombardments of Syria to support its ally Israel. Damascus then displayed restraint and a major war in the Middle East was prevented,” Ivashov said in conclusion.

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TASS may not share the opinions of its contributors