US-Russia plan on Syria ‘provocative weakness’ on America’s part: John McCain

Slamming US-Russia deal on dismantling Syria chemical arms, Republican Senator John McCain on Sunday termed Barack Obama’s move as a “provocative weakness on America’s part”.

Last Updated: Sep 15, 2013, 16:32 PM IST

Zee Media Bureau

Washington: Slamming US-Russia deal on dismantling Syria chemical arms, Republican Senator John McCain on Sunday termed Barack Obama’s move as a “provocative weakness on America’s part”.

In a bid to avert US strikes on Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry agreed upon a plan to disarm Syrian regime of chemical weapons.

But the deal drew flak from top Republican Senators who claimed that it would send a wrong message to America’s friends and enemies alike.

"What concerns us most is that our friends and enemies will take the same lessons from this agreement they see it as an act of provocative weakness on America`s part," Arizona`s John McCain and South Carolina`s Lindsey Graham said in a joint statement.

Slamming the move as a “diplomatic blind alley”, the statement said that the Obama administration was being waylaid by Syria’s Assad and Russia’s Putin.

"It requires a willful suspension of disbelief to see this agreement as anything other than the start of a diplomatic blind alley, and the Obama Administration is being led into it by Bashar Assad and Vladimir Putin," they said.

Terming the agreement as meaningless and impactless, Mc Cain and Graham also mentioned the risk of “emboldening Iran and its terrorist proxies”.

"What`s worse, this agreement does nothing to resolve the real problem in Syria, which is the underlying conflict that has killed 110,000 people, driven millions from their homes, destabilised our friends and allies in the region, emboldened Iran and its terrorist proxies, and become a safe haven for thousands of Al-Qaeda affiliated extremists," McCain and Graham said.

"We cannot imagine a worse signal to send to Iran as it continues its push for a nuclear weapon," the statement further said.

The two Senators said that Assad will use the months and months afforded to him to delay and deceive the world using every trick in Saddam Hussein`s playbook.

"Is the message of this agreement that Assad is now our negotiating partner, and that he can go on slaughtering innocent civilians and destabilising the Middle East using every tool of warfare, so long as he does not use chemical weapons? That is morally and strategically indefensible," they said.

"The only way this underlying conflict can be brought to a decent end is by significantly increasing our support to moderate opposition forces in Syria," the Senators said.

With Agency Inputs