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With Syria's foreign minister saying Syria would sign the international chemical weapons ban treaty and allow United Nations inspections of its chemical weapons facilities, and with Russia promising to deliver a concrete proposal to Secretary of State John Kerry later today, President Obama is asking lawmakers to delay a vote on military action against Syria:
President Barack Obama asked Democratic senators to delay a vote on authorizing military strikes in Syria to allow time for talks on eliminating that country’s chemical weapons, lawmakers said today.
“I think to give them an opportunity to put together a proposal that Russia has suggested is the right thing to do,” California Democrat Dianne Feinstein said after senators met privately with the president. “He’s inclined to try to do that.”
The president also asked senators to “keep the threat of credible military action available,” Democratic Senator Tom Carper of Delaware said after the meeting.
I'm sure the iffy prospects for the vote also are playing a role here, but if Russia, Syria, and the U.S. can come to an agreement supported by the U.N., then there probably won't be a need for any vote at all.
At this point, everybody seems to be saying the right things—Syria says it will give up its weapons, Russia says it will support international monitoring, and the United States says it wants a diplomatic solution. The big question is going to be whether Russia and the United States can agree on how make any agreement durable. Ultimately, that probably means a U.N. resolution of some sort that spells out consequences for Syria if it fails to abide by its commitments.