I haven’t posted recently, in part because I’ve been waiting with such bated breath to see how the chemical weapons disarmament deal will play out. It will be practically impossible to ensure Syrian compliance, and what happens when the next chemical weapons attack occurs (with again the US blaming the regime and Russia blaming rebel provocateurs, regardless of who actually sets off the attack) will be a sticky issue. But an agreement is far better than no agreement, even if of course it does not go nearly far enough. The appendices to the UN chemical weapons report were very incriminating to the Syrian regime, which predictably rejected the report along with Russia. Since then, however, the horrible attack on the Nairobi shopping mall, the condemnation of Bo Xilai, and the US budget showdown have again removed Syria from the headlines.
At the end of this week I will be giving a 10-15 minute presentation on the crises in Syria (and Iraq as well) to a concerned church group. What can one say in 10-15 minutes about a civil war as complicated as Syria’s, to say nothing of the resurgent sectarian violence across the border in Iraq? We’ll see what I do end up saying. I’ll post some version of my remarks here.