Looks Like Syria Will Miss First Arms-Deal Deadline

Plus: Pentagon says US could train some rebels
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 19, 2013 4:42 AM CDT
Will Syria Miss First Arms Deal Deadline?
Syrian opposition fighters are seen at the top of a mountain in the vicinity of a rebel camp in Idlib province, Syria, Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013.   (AP Photo)

Syria probably won't get a full inventory of its chemical weapons to international authorities by Saturday, as proposed—but the US, it seems, isn't panicking. "Our goal is to see forward momentum," rather than the whole inventory, by Saturday, says a State Department rep. "We've never said it was a hard and fast deadline." But John Kerry said last Saturday that there would be "no games, no room for avoidance, or anything less than full compliance" when he called for a listing "within a week." The Los Angeles Times wonders whether Syria just needs some extra time—or whether this is a sign the deal isn't working.

The UN aims to establish a resolution on the chemical weapons deal by tomorrow, allowing authorities to move in on the weapons stash, but disagreements between the US and Russia are further complicating matters. Some Western diplomats fear Bashar al-Assad could pull a Saddam Hussein-like "cheat and retreat" on weapons inspections, the Times notes. Meanwhile, Assad is continuing to make the interview rounds, and last night repeated to Fox News his assertion that his troops weren't to blame for last month's chemical attack. "Anyone can make sarin in his house," he said. (Read more Syria stories.)

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