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Media Watch

Syria and Chemical Weapons

Issue No. 44

A Survey of Editorials

By: J R Philemon Chiru
Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

Note: Amongst several allegations in the Syrian civil war, the alleged deployment of sarin gas at Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus, on 21 August 2013 by the Syrian regime resulted in the death of more than 1,400 people, prompting the US and its allies to threaten military intervention. Following diplomatic parleys, the US and Russia (which backed Assad’s regime) reached an agreement (Framework for Elimination of Syrian Chemical Weapons) on 14 September 2013 for destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons. On 27 September, the UN Security Council unanimously passed resolution 2118, incorporating a plan adopted by the Organization for Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) for “Destruction of Syrian Chemical Weapons.” The binding resolution aims to dismantle and destroy Syria’s chemical weapons programme and stockpiles under the aegis of OPCW and UN inspectors by mid-2014. Editorials from international and Middle Eastern media covering the events are reproduced here. Editor MEI@ND
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Khaleej Times, Dubai, Editorial, 22 August 2013, Thursday
1. Toxic Victims in Damascus
There are claims and counter-claims in Damascus. The news that chemical weapons had been used in the suburbs of the capital is quite disturbing. And if one goes with the number of casualties, which are conflicting in reports, it makes the entire issue suspicious. The government says its forces never used any toxic agents, and termed it as a ploy on the part of the rebels to influence the forthcoming weapons inspectors. For the full text

The Daily Star, Lebanon, Editorial, 22 August 2013, Thursday
2. Ignoble Inaction
The news that Syrian government forces have used chemical weapons on an attack in areas near the capital Damascus, leaving hundreds of people dead, is the latest horror story in a country that should have seen its national nightmare end a long time ago. Almost one year ago to the day, US President Barack Obama issued his now-infamous “red-line” threat about the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons. In the months that followed, the line was eventually erased because it was crossed so many times. For the full text

The New York Times, Editorial, 22 August 2013, Thursday
3. The Corpses in Syria
The lifeless bodies depicted in photos and videos from Syria over the past two days suggest another chemical attack, quite possibly the deadliest single attack in more than two years of civil war. If the killings of an estimated 500 to 1,000 men, women and children outside of Damascus prove to be the work of President Bashar al-Assad’s cut-throat regime, as many suspect, the United States and other major powers will almost certainly have to respond much more aggressively than they have so far. For the full text

Gulf News, Dubai, 22 August 2013, Thursday
4. Deadly Gas Attack Ups the Ante in Syria
Hundreds of victims, especially children, lay struggling for breath in hospitals as parents and doctors tried desperately to revive them back to life. Cut to hospital morgues: Corpses lie on top of one other — again, the majority of them being children, their lives extinguished not by bullets, bombs and shrapnel, but by the use of a deadly, poisonous gas. The scale of such wholesale butchery is unheard of, especially in this day and age. For the full text

The Independent, London, Editorial, 22 August 2013, Thursday
5. Any Use of Chemical Weapons is Barbaric. But the Case for Intervention in Syria Remains Weak
The images are truly horrendous. Dozens of bodies laid out in rows, many of them children; dozens more people, including very young children again, are seen suffering spasms – the classic results, so it would appear, of a major gas attack. Appalling though the pictures are, however, is all as clear cut as it seems? The photos and video have been circulated by Syrian opposition activists; the timing of their release, as UN experts arrived in Syria to investigate the reported use of chemical weapons, has powerful propaganda value. For the full text

The Guardian, London, Editorial, 22 August 2013, Thursday
6. Syria: Chemical Weapons with Impunity
There is next to no doubt that chemical weapons were used in Ghouta in eastern Damascus, and that, unlike previous alleged attacks, they produced mass casualties. Whether the death toll is in the hundreds or over a thousand, as the rebels claim, this is one of the most significant chemical weapons attacks since Saddam Hussein's on the Kurds in Halabja 25 years ago, and an unmistakable challenge to the vow Barack Obama made a year ago that, if proved, the use of chemical or biological weapons would "change my calculus." For the full text

The Peninsula, Doha, Editorial, 22 August 2013, Thursday
7. Ghastly Attack
The bodies of hundreds of men, women and children after the ghastly attack on a Damascus suburb yesterday point to the extent to which the Syrian crisis has worsened. As the Syrian regime of President Bashar Al-Assad and the opposition pointed a finger at each other for the gas attack that is said to have killed 1,300 people, bodies of scores of children frothing at the mouth told a sordid tale. While world leaders expressed their shock, the international community was divided along pro-and anti-Assad lines. For the full text

The National, Abu Dhabi, Editorial, 23 August 2013, Friday
8. Blocking Inquiry into Gas Report Is Disgraceful
Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus stubbornly held by rebel fighters, has been a thorn in the side of Bashar Al-Assad's embattled forces. On Wednesday (21 August) sudden death on a large scale came to Ghouta. Chilling photos and videos suggest that chemical weapons killed hundreds; some estimates put the total over 1,300. If nerve gas was used, this may be the worst such crime anywhere since Iraq's Saddam Hussein gassed the Kurds of Halabja in 1988.For the full text

The Independent, London, Editorial, 23 August 2013, Friday
9. Is the United Nations Simply a Talking Shop?
At first glance, the case appears to be that of Nero and the burning Rome. A team of United Nations weapons inspectors sits in a luxury Damascus hotel just 20 minutes’ drive from what appears to be the deadliest use of chemical weapons since Saddam Hussein’s barbarity against the Kurds of Halabja in 1988. They are there, but they do nothing. For the full text

Saudi Gazette, Jeddah, Editorial, 23 August 2013, Friday
10. How Do They Sleep At Night?
The Middle East woke up Thursday (22 August) morning to haunting pictures of lines of dead kids, each in a shroud. Only their small faces were showing. Their eyes were closed. Anyone unaware of what they were really seeing, would have assumed they were merely asleep. For the whole text

Arab News, Jeddah, Editorial, 23 August 2013, Friday
11. A Defining Moment in Syrian Savagery
In Halabja and then again in Srebrenica, political leaders who enjoyed pretending they were avuncular men of the world, displayed their true colours by ordering massacres as acts of terror. Saddam Hussein met the hangman’s noose for his crimes, as did his cousin Ali Hassan Al-Majid, or “Chemical Ali,” who actually planned and carried out the 1988 crimes. Radovan Karadzic, the Bosnian Serb president, is still on trial in The Hague for the slaughter of up to 6,000 men and boys in 1995. For the full text

The Indian Express, New Delhi, Editorial, 24 August 2013
12. Smudged Red Lines
UN investigators must be allowed to visit sites of Wednesday's (21 August) alleged chemical-weapon attack in Syria. In the wake of grisly footage distributed by activists that appears to show the aftermath of an alleged chemical weapon attack in the Ghouta region east of Damascus, UN inspectors need permission to visit the site as soon as possible. For the full text

The Guardian, London, Editorial, 24 August 2013, Saturday
13. Choosing Between Bad Options in Syria Becomes Ever More Complex
One defining feature of western foreign policy over the past two-and-a-half decades is the question of when, in what circumstances, and in what way the international community should intervene to prevent large-scale human rights abuses. The doctrine of responsibility to protect – R2P – was inspired in large part by the bloodshed that followed the break-up of Yugoslavia when, as today, the world seemed unable to shape a coherent response. For the full text

The Jerusalem Post, Editorial, 25 August 2013, Sunday
14. Attention on Syria
The photographs from Syria last week showed people writhing on the floor before they died. Rows of dead bodies were wrapped in sheets. Since then corroborating evidence had indicated this was a chemical weapons attack. Doctors Without Borders said hospitals it works with received 3,600 patients of whom 355 died. The charity could not, however, determine that gas or other chemical weapons caused the deaths. For the full text

The Jordan Times, Amman, Editorial, 25 August 2013, Sunday
15. Eyes Wide Open
Chiefs of staff of top Western and Arab military officials were invited to Amman by the Jordan Armed Forces chairman, Major General Mashal Al Zaban, to discuss regional security and related developments, particularly the fast-deteriorating situation in Syria. For the full text

The Independent, London, Editorial, 25 August 2013, Sunday
16. Western Leaders Seem Worryingly Unaware of the Risks of Military Involvement in Syria
Almost exactly a year ago (2012), Barack Obama warned that if the Assad regime in Syria resorted to the use of chemical weapons in its fight with the rebels, it would have crossed “a red-line.” Now some form of military action by the US, acting in concert with Britain and France, looks imminent following talks at the weekend between Mr. Obama and David Cameron, when the two leaders promised “a serious response” to the carnage inflicted on a rebel-held suburb of eastern Damascus. For the full text

Khaleej Times, Dubai, Editorial, 25 August 2013, Sunday
17. Act against Damascus
Graphic images of chemical attack victims have made a strong point. Damascus after a long time is in a defending position – though it denies that its forces ever used those toxic agents. The fact of the matter is that hundreds are reportedly dead and thousands of survivors are likely to lead a miserable life. The Wednesday’s (21 August) attack has, at least, made one difference. For the full text

China Daily, New York, Editorial, 26 August 2013, Monday
18. UN Investigation in Syria
With the Syrian government gesturing on Saturday (24 August) that it will allow United Nations inspectors access to the site near Damascus where it is alleged chemical weapons were used, the international community should throw its weight behind the UN so that its inspectors can produce a report on the issue through a justifiable investigation. For the full text

Gulf News, Dubai, Editorial, 26 August 2013, Monday
19. More Violence Not the Answer in Syria
The pace with which western action on Syria has developed over the past few days has been worrying. Western states have lined up to offer military solutions to the conflict, provoking their international adversaries to issue their own warnings. For the full text

The Hindu, Chennai, Editorial, 26 August 2013, Monday
20. Attacking Syria Is a Bad Idea
As allegations fly thick and fast that the Syrian Army attacked a Damascus suburb with chemical weapons last week, the West seems once again on the verge of committing itself to another disastrous military adventure. Though opinion is still divided within the United States, all indications are that Washington is thinking of aerial bombardment along the lines of NATO’s 1999 attack on Yugoslavia, once again citing humanitarian compulsions to justify what would be an act of aggression. For the full text

Khaleej Times, Dubai, Editorial, 26 August 2013, Monday
21. Amassing On Syria
There is serious confusion in world capitals in jotting down a response over Syria’s alleged usage of toxic agents. Five precious days have been wasted in just finger pointing, and at the same time no rescue efforts were undertaken to rehabilitate the victims in and around Damascus.  For the full text

The Peninsula, Doha, Editorial, 26 August 2013, Monday
22. Elusive Evidence
After the intense walloping in international fora over the purported chemical weapons attack in a Damascus suburb on Wednesday (21 August), the Syrian regime has allowed the United Nations to probe the attack. A team of UN experts was there in Syria when the attack in the suburbs of Damascus took place. For the full text

The New York Sun, Editorial, 26 August 2013, Monday
23. ‘A Moral Obscenity’
“What we saw in Syria last week should shock the conscience of the world. It defies any code of morality. Let me be clear: The indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, the killing of women and children and innocent bystanders by chemical weapons is a moral obscenity. By any standard, it is inexcusable. And despite the excuses and equivocations that some have manufactured, it is undeniable.” For the full text

The Washington Post, Editorial, 26 August 2013, Monday
24. Syria Strategy Can’t Rely Solely On Military Might
Convinced that Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad wielded chemical weapons against civilians last week, the Obama administration is considering a military response, according to senior officials. The “large-scale, indiscriminate use” of chemical weapons was a “moral obscenity,” as Secretary of State John F. Kerry said Monday, and some response is needed. But it needs to be part of a larger strategy aimed at influencing the outcome of Syria’s war. For the full text

The National, Abu Dhabi, Editorial, 26 August 2013, Monday
25. US Has Few Options to Strike Back At Syria
If - and it remains if - the Assad regime used chemical weapons against civilians last week, and UN inspectors will soon be allowed to judge the strength of that claim, there are few plausible reasons for it doing so. Among the best possible rationales would be highlighting to the rebels and their supporters the sheer impotence of the international community. For the full text

The Jordan Times, Amman, Editorial, 27 August 2013, Tuesday
26. ‘There Must Be Accountability’
The US has used very strong words against the Syrian regime for what it says is compelling evidence that it used chemical weapons against its population, killing hundreds of innocent people, including women and children, in a suburb of Damascus. For the full text

Khaleej Times, Dubai, Editorial, 27 August 2013, Tuesday
27. Countdown in Damascus
The clock is ticking away as the United Nations inspectors try to find traces of chemical agents. The fear is that they may have been dissipated. But as far as the world body chief is concerned, he is already judgmental. In a brief media talk in Seoul, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that the use of chemical weapons is a crime against humanity and must be punished. For the full text

The Independent, London, Editorial, 27 August 2013, Tuesday
28. When They Frame Their Response to the Syrian Gas Attack, MPs Must Heed the Lessons of Iraq
A disturbing momentum is building for intervention in Syria. It is hard to interpret yesterday’s (26 August) decision to call Parliament back early in any other way. Since the start of the weekend, political leaders on both sides of the Atlantic have been dropping heavy hints about their readiness to use force, following the apparent gas attack on rebel-held territory last week. For the full text

The Guardian, London, Editorial, 27 August 2013, Tuesday
29. MPs and Syria: In the Shadow of Iraq
"I may not have succeeded in halting the war, but I did secure the right of parliament to decide on war." The words are inscribed on the Edinburgh gravestone of the late Robin Cook, the most senior minister to resign over the war against Iraq in 2003. Yet Mr. Cook now has a living epitaph too. For the full text

Dawn, Karachi, Editorial, 27 August 2013, Tuesday
30. Syrian War Talk: Reaction to Chemical Attack
The war talk emanating from various Western capitals regarding Syria may result in a dangerous escalation of an already bloody conflict. The US is mulling military action against Damascus in reaction to an alleged chemical attack last week, while the UK and France have said the UN could be bypassed in order to allow armed intervention. For the full text

The Peninsula, Doha, Editorial, 28 August 2013, Wednesday
31. Syria Stares at Peril
If talk of US strikes on Syria become real, the situation in the Middle East is likely to become more turbulent. A number of countries have stakes in Syria, which is grappling with a civil war that has claimed close to 100,000 lives over two years. Russia, Iran and China have continuously stood beside the regime of President Bashar Al Assad, who keeps referring to the rebels as terrorists. For the full text

The Japan Times, Tokyo, Editorial, 28 August 2013, Wednesday
32. A Crime against Humanity in Syria
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was unequivocal: “Any use of chemical weapons anywhere, by anybody, under any circumstances, would violate international law. Such a crime against humanity should result in serious consequences for the perpetrator. This is a grave challenge to the entire international community — and to our common humanity.” For the full text

The Guardian, London, Editorial, 28 August 2013, Wednesday
33. Syria: Feeding the Fire
"Once we take action, we should be prepared for what comes next. Deeper involvement is hard to avoid," General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wrote one month ago. His letter to Congress was an exercise in damping speculation about involvement in Syria. If it was written to pour large quantities of cold water over all military options, today Gen Dempsey no longer has that luxury, with an airstrike which may be within days of being launched. For the full text

The Jerusalem Post, Editorial, 28 August 2013, Wednesday
34. Threatening Israel
“If Damascus is attacked, Tel Aviv will burn,” a Syrian higher-up bristled this week. Israel, in light of such statements, cannot regard the escalating situation up north with the equanimity of a detached observer. There can be no passivity when a coterie of evil powers hurls deadly threats at Israel in the context of a struggle in which it is uninvolved. For the full text

The New York Times, Editorial, 28 August 2013, Wednesday
35. More Answers Needed on Syria
Despite the pumped-up threats and quickening military preparations, President Obama has yet to make a convincing legal or strategic case for military action against Syria. While there should be some kind of international response to the chemical weapons attack that killed hundreds of civilians last week, Mr. Obama has yet to spell out how that response would effectively deter further use of chemical weapons. For the full text

Arab News, Jeddah, Editorial, 29 August 2013, Thursday
36. It’s Time for Serious and Decisive Action
The Kingdom has led the Arab world in condemning the horrific incident in Syria and called for stern global action against the Assad regime.  For far too long, the international community has failed to face up to the appalling events in Syria. For the full text

The Daily Star, Lebanon, Editorial, 29 August 2013, Thursday
37. Moscow Muddle
According to Vladimir Putin, the world faces a “terrible precedent” and a development that could “shake the entire foundations of the international system,” should it come to pass. Putin was not speaking about an impending military strike against the Syrian regime, but rather the possibility – back in 2000 – that countries would dare to support the independence of the Kosovo region. Needless to say, the international order did not collapse. For the full text

The Guardian, London, Editorial, 29 August 2013, Thursday
38. The Syria Debate: Two Cheers for Parliament
Summoned back to debate the Syrian crisis, the House of Commons distinguished itself on Thursday (29 August). It did so because of the political outcome it achieved more than because of the quality of the parliamentary occasion itself. What mattered most was not the many speeches. What really counted is summed up in the familiar constitutional phrase about the legislature holding the executive to account. For the full text

The National, Abu Dhabi, Editorial, 29 August 2013, Thursday
39. Choosing the Least Worst Option in Syria
For almost two years, the debate has continued as thousands of men, women and children have perished: what to do about Syria? The regime, mired in stalemate but as brutal as ever, has relentlessly pounded the rebels, turning millions into refugees as the world watched. But now the world appears to have had enough. For the full text

The Independent, London, Editorial, 29 August 2013, Thursday
40. The Syria Vote and the Mother of All Parliaments
For all the Prime Minister’s talk of building a consensus, the decision to recall Parliament for an emergency debate about Syria still looked like a move to sanction decisions that had already been made. With all three party leaders taking an apparently similar tone – the use of chemical weapons was to be abhorred and might yet warrant military action by the outside world – David Cameron not unjustifiably hoped that the vote would be easily carried. For the full text

The Washington Post, Editorial, 29 August 2013, Thursday
41. President Obama Should Consult Congress before Striking Syria
If history is any guide, President Obama could probably get away with ordering a military strike on Syria without first getting congressional authorization. Yes, the Constitution grants Congress the exclusive right to declare war. And yes, the 1973 War Powers Resolution legislated congressional control over presidentially initiated uses of force.  For the full text

Saudi Gazette, Jeddah, Editorial, 29 August 2013, Thursday
42. A Mismatch of Expectations?
The Arab world is expecting the United States to inflict serious military damage on the dictatorship of Bashar Al-Assad, in retribution for its use of chemical weapons against its people. There is a clear expectation that the devastation that will be inflicted upon the Syrian military machine will permit the Free Syrian Army to finish the job that it has set about so heroically in two years of vicious struggle. For the full text

China Daily, New York, Editorial, 29 August 2013, Thursday
43. No Excuse for Strikes
As the United States and its Western allies have made it clear they believe the Syrian government used chemical weapons on the outskirts of Damascus, there is growing speculation that the US might soon launch military action against Syria. For the full text

The Indian Express, New Delhi, Editorial, 29 August 2013, Thursday
44. Damascus Dilemma
There are no tidy solutions in sight as the Syrian crisis escalates. The US assertion that there is "no doubt" Bashar al-Assad's regime used chemical weapons in attacks near Damascus last week and the US military's declaration of its readiness make intervention in Syria seem imminent. Syria is not a signatory to the Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993, but the requisites of the UN's Responsibility to Protect (R2P) norm may already have been met by a conflict that has seen an estimated 1,00,000 casualties and almost two million refugees. For the full text

The Guardian, London, Editorial, 29 August 2013, Thursday
45. Syria Debate: Parliament Did Its Job When It Mattered
Summoned back to debate the Syrian crisis, the House of Commons distinguished itself on Thursday. It did so more because of the political outcome than because of the quality of the parliamentary occasion itself. What mattered most was not the many powerful speeches. What really counted is summed up in the familiar constitutional phrase about the legislature holding the executive to account. For the full text

The New York Times, Editorial, 30 August 2013, Friday
46. Absent on Syria
UPDATE: On Saturday (29 August) afternoon, President Obama said he would seek Congressional authorization before he launches a limited military strike on Syria. As President Obama moves toward unilateral military action in response to a chemical weapons attack in Syria that killed more than 1,400 people, he is doing so without legal justification and without the backing of two key institutions, Congress and the United Nations Security Council. Both have abdicated their roles in dealing with this crisis. For the full text

The Hindu, Chennai, Editorial, 30 August 2013, Friday
47. International Order Be Damn
The West’s attempt to ride roughshod over the United Nations Security Council with a hastily drafted proposal to authorize the use of force in Syria sets the stage for its second military intervention in West Asia and North Africa in as many years. The resolution, drafted by the United Kingdom and backed by the United States and France, seeks two things from the Council: one, a condemnation of President Bashar al-Assad for using chemical weapons on his people and two, its blessings to deploy “all necessary measures” to protect Syrians.  For the full text

The Independent, London, Editorial, 30 August 2013, Friday
48. Syrian Repercussions: A Political Blow to the Prime Minister, But the Right Decision for Britain
In the end, it was not enough. The Prime Minister acquiesced to Labour’s demand for a second parliamentary vote on military action in Syria, to take place after UN inspectors have reported on the chemical attack 10 days ago. But the motion was still rejected. Between the Opposition and no fewer than 39 rebels – 30 of them Conservative – the Coalition tally came up 13 short. If – or, more likely, when – the US goes ahead with air strikes against the Assad regime, Britain will play no part in them. For the full text

The Peninsula, Doha, Editorial, 30 August 2013, Friday
49. The Price of Follies
As the US and Britain make preparations to punish Bashar al-Assad for his alleged use of chemical weapons, reports from both countries speak of the herculean task their leaders are facing to convince their sceptical public of the need for an attack. It’s the fallout of Iraq war and other Western interventions in the Arab world. Western leaders may be willing, but the people aren’t easily convinced.   For the full text

The Guardian, London, Editorial, 30 August 2013, Friday
50. The Syria Vote: Britain’s New Mood
So, after a tumultuous political week dominated by the government defeat over Syria, which Britain do we inhabit now? Is it the free-at-last nation which is "no longer a plaything of the US military adventure," as one Labour MP put it on Friday. Or the humiliated irrelevance which awoke that day with "the international credibility of Luxembourg", as a Daily Telegraph blogger suggested. The reality, as soon as you think about it, is neither of them. For the full text

The Washington Post, Editorial, 31 August 2013, Saturday
51. US Must Act Against Crimes against Humanity
A perception has been growing over the past week that President Obama has worked himself into a jam on Syria policy. We agree that he faces no easy options, and that some of his challenges ensue from his mistakes as well as those of the previous administration. But let’s be clear: It’s not Mr. Obama, nor George W. Bush, who has brought the United States to this difficult place. It is the crime against humanity allegedly committed by Syria’s leader and the fact that no country other than the United States can or will respond fittingly to such a crime. For the full text

The Guardian, London, Editorial, 31 August 2013, Saturday
52. Syria: An Air Strike Will Have No Practical Benefit
Many words beginning with P swirl through the Syrian debacle. Try principle, perplexity, posturing, poison – and politics – for starters. But first on the P list is the simplest concept of all. Here's practicality, the business of initiating a policy that delivers clear objectives and makes obvious sense. How can you support proposals lurching from on high that address neither of those imperatives?  For the full text

The Peninsula, Doha, Editorial, 31 August 2013, Saturday
53. A Vote for Democracy
The House of Commons vote against British involvement in air strikes against Bashar al-Assad didn’t come as a complete surprise. The stunning NO to Prime Minister David Cameron’s enthusiastic and hurried plan to join the US in punishing the Syrian dictator for gassing his own people was in fact in consonance with the public view.  For the full text

The Jordan Times, Amman, Editorial, 31 August 2013, Saturday
54. Divided Over Syria
The West’s views on Syria — where a ruthless regime allegedly used chemical weapons against its people, killing over 1,300, many of them children — regarding a military strike seem to diverge. The UK House of Commons narrowly missed giving Prime Minister David Cameron authorization to use force against Syria without a UN resolution. For the full text

Gulf News, Dubai, Editorial, 31 August 2013, Saturday
55. Global Consensus on Syria Action Needed
The British parliament debate on Thursday (29 August) regarding armed action against Syria served as a reminder to the rest of the world, especially the United States, that making decisions on military conflicts is not easy. Such actions, which will cause bloodshed and human misery, must only be carried out when there is compelling and undisputed justification and must be sanctioned by the organization entrusted by the world to act in its interests — the United Nations. For the full text

The Jerusalem Post, Editorial, 1 September 2013, Sunday
56. Obama’s Strategy
US President Barack Obama has taken an unfair beating by many on the right of the Israeli political spectrum for his decision to seek congressional approval for a strike on Syria. They see a connection between the West’s oscillating on Syria – including the British decision to vote down Prime Minister David Cameron’s appeal to approve action against Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime for using chemical weapons – and the likelihood that, when push comes to shove, a call to confront Iran militarily to prevent it from becoming a nuclear power might meet a similar fate. For the full text

Ha'aretz, Tel Aviv, Editorial, 1 September 2013, Sunday
57. A Military Action Aimed At Proving That Obama Is a Man of His Word
John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, uttered words carved in stone on Friday (30 August), in a speech aimed at making the moral case for a military strike against Syria. He announced that the United States is highly confident it knows who ordered the use of chemical weapons, where the rockets were launched from and knows to an unusual degree of certainty that 1,429 people, including 426 children, died as a result of the chemical weapons attack.  For the full text

The Jordan Times, Amman, Editorial, 1 September 2013, Sunday
58. Surprising Move
US President Barack Obama’s decision to seek congressional authorization for a limited military strike against Damascus may have taken some by surprise. Many, within and outside the US, were expecting Obama to push the button and start the long-promised punitive measures against the Syrian regime, but he decided, at the very last minute, to seek the blessing of the US Congress. For the full text

Khaleej Times, Dubai, Editorial, 1 September 2013, Sunday
59. Putin Jumps into the Fray
Vladimir Putin has spoken out for Syria. The Russian president came down heavily on his American counterpart when he brushed aside Washington’s claims that Damascus had used chemical weapons, describing them as ‘utter nonsense.’ For the full text

The Guardian, London, Editorial, 1 September 2013, Sunday
60. US and Syria: Gambling With Engagement
President Barack Obama's decision to seek congressional approval for a US military attack on Syria is an act both of strength and weakness. It is an act of strength because it represents a virtuous choice to put democracy, debate and diplomacy before acts of war. It is an act of weakness because it seemed the president was about to take the decision unilaterally, before changing his mind at the last minute because things were getting difficult, partly because of David Cameron's defeat on the same issue. For the full text

Saudi Gazette, Jeddah, Editorial, 1 September 2013, Sunday
61. The Case for War
John Kerry’s address on Syria’s chemical weapons leaves little doubt that the US will soon militarily strike the Arab country. In laying out last week’s chemical attack at the regime's feet in compelling fashion, and arguing with similar passion that the US could not sit idly by watching, Kerry made it clear that the question is no longer “if” as much as it is “when.” For the full text

The Washington Post, Editorial, 1 September 2013, Sunday
62. Obama to Take His Syrian Case to Congress
President Obama said Saturday (31 August) that the United States must respond militarily to Syria’s Aug. 21 gassing of its own people. We agree. He also said he would seek congressional authorization before proceeding. We think that’s right, too, though the approach isn’t risk-free. For the full text

The Independent, London, Editorial, 1 September 2013, Sunday
63. In Consulting Congress on Syria, Mr. Obama Has Changed the US Constitutional Balance
Following last week’s surprise parliamentary defeat over Syria, there has been much talk of the long shadow of Iraq, of poor government whipping and, in some quarters, of the perfidious politicking of the Opposition. But with the majority of the public opposed to military action, the result that so humiliated David Cameron was simply democracy at work.  For the full text

The Daily Star, Lebanon, Editorial, 2 September 2013, Monday
64. Unfulfilled Hype
It is no secret that the White House of President Barack Obama has been systematically cautious about any type of intervention in the Syria crisis, and when a series of chemical attacks last month shocked the world, this caution has moved into high gear. For the full text

China Daily, New York, Editorial, 2 September 2013, Monday
65. Few Support Syria Strike
With US President Barack Obama seeking approval for a military strike against Syria from the US Congress, global concerns that the United States would launch immediate military action against the Middle East country have been temporarily relieved. For the full text

The National, Abu Dhabi, Editorial, 2 September 2013, Monday
66. The Choice in Syria Is Morality versus History
The very public about-turns in London and Washington over how to respond to the use of chemical weapons on Syrian civilians merely serve to emphasize the lack of good options on offer. President Barack Obama's decision to defer the choice to Congress, an institution so grid-locked that it has been unable to agree on even basic legislation, telegraphs the message that he does not want to do anything at all. For the full text

The Indian Express, New Delhi, Editorial, 2 September 2013, Monday
67. Delay Is Good
Obama buys time and space on Syria. He must use it to explore diplomatic options. In delaying the air strikes on Syria until the US Congress approves them, President Barack Obama has evidently sought to limit some of the political risks associated with dragging America into yet another war in the Middle East.  For the full text

The New York Times, Editorial, 2 September 2013, Monday
68. Debating the Case for Force
President Obama made the right decision to seek Congressional authorization for his announced plan to order unilateral military strikes against Syria for using chemical weapons. There has to be a vigorous and honest public debate on the use of military force, which could have huge consequences even if it is limited in scope and duration. For the full text

The Khaleej Times, Dubai, Editorial, 2 September 2013, Monday
69. World Awaits Action
Barack Obama has made a second decision. The US president’s resolve to seek Congress support before taking action against Syria has surprised many. Though he has, in principle, decided to act against the regime in Damascus for its alleged gassing of people last month, his decision to hold on for a while is genuine leadership.  For the full text

Ha'aretz, Tel Aviv, Editorial, 2 September 2013, Monday
70. Israel, Stop Kibitzing and Let Obama Work
The disappointed voices that arose on Sunday (1 September) from belligerent circles in Israel in the wake of US President Barack Obama’s decision on Saturday (31 August) night to put on hold for now the military operation against Syria might create the false impression that most, if not all, Israelis are eager to see an attack on Damascus. For the full text

The Jordan Times, Amman, Editorial, 3 September 2013, Tuesday
71. Clear Choices
While the world appears divided on how it views and how it will respond to the use of chemical weapons in a Damascus suburb on August 21, Jordan is clear minded on the issue. During the recent Arab League Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Cairo discussing Syria, Jordan’s foreign minister presented the Kingdom’s perspective on the situation and what needs to be done. For the full text

The Jakarta Post, Editorial, 3 September 2013, Tuesday
72. Who Can Save the Syrians?
US President Barack Obama is putting his country’s credibility on the line by calling for a military strike on Syria. Not even a Congressional decision to approve or reject the plan will provide Obama with a face saving exit plan. A strike against another country amounts to a declaration of war, even if Obama has insisted that it will be limited. For the full text

The New York Times, Editorial, 3 September 2013, Tuesday
73. Britain’s Syria Vote in Perspective
While President Obama tries to persuade Congress to support his plan for punitive airstrikes against Syria, Britons are still debating the meaning of Parliament’s 285-to-272 vote last week not to authorize Prime Minister David Cameron to commit British military forces to join in those strikes.  For the full text

The Independent, London, Editorial, 3 September 2013, Tuesday
74. G20 Is a Rare Chance to Seek Syria Consensus
Ostensibly, the G20 is an economic forum. Topics scheduled for discussion at the two-day meeting starting in St Petersburg tomorrow range from international financial reforms to enhancing multilateral trade. Overshadowing all, though, will be Syria. For the full text

Khaleej Times, Dubai, Editorial, 3 September 2013, Tuesday
75. Syria’s Al Qaeda Argument
Syria has come out with a rejoinder to the United States. In a swift and carefully worded statement, Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad, who is considered to be very influential in the regime, said that Washington’s possible military action against Damascus would fuel terrorism worldwide, and come as a shot in the arm for al-Qaeda.  For the full text

The Peninsula, Doha, Editorial, 3 September 2013, Tuesday
76. Need For Unanimity
As the West speaks in disparate voices on planned US military strikes against Syria, Arabs have spoken in one voice, at least in the resolution passed at a meeting of Arab League foreign ministers held in Cairo on Sunday (1 September).  For the full text

Gulf News, Dubai, Editorial, 3 September 2013, Tuesday
77. Unilateral US Action is Discredited
Modern conventions on war have banned the use of chemical weapons because of the painful and indiscriminate manner in which they inflict death on all in their way. This is why the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime — according to intelligence reports from the US and France and statements by the Arab League — is a clarion call to action by the international community, even though it has killed uncounted thousands with bombs and bullets over the past two years while many just stood by. For the full text

Saudi Gazette, Jeddah, Editorial, 3 September 2013, Tuesday
78. Far, Far Too Late
Is two-and-a-half years since the Syrian people rose in revolt against an oppressive and brutal dictatorship. One hundred thousand corpses and two million refugees later, the United States stands on the brink of action. For the full text

The Washington Washington, Editorial, 4 September 2013, Wednesday
79. President Obama’s Mideast Policy is Vague and Contradictory
In arguing Tuesday (3 September) for military action against Syria, President Obama asserted that strikes in response to the use of chemical weapons would fit into “a broader strategy” that “can bring peace and stability not only to Syria but to the region.” We’d like to believe such a strategy exists, but much of what the president and his administration have been saying and doing raises doubts. For the full text

The Guardian, London, Editorial, 4 September 2013, Wednesday
80. G20 and Syria: Putin’s Show
Napoleon's foreign minister, Talleyrand, observed that Russia is always simultaneously too strong and too weak. As the world's major leaders gather in St Petersburg today for the G20 summit, they may find themselves thinking much the same. Over Syria – but also more generally – Vladimir Putin's Russia has proved strong enough to frustrate the US at key moments.  For the full text

Khaleej Times, Dubai, Editorial, 4 September 2013, Wednesday
81. The ‘Second Vote’ Option
Political heavyweights are lobbying in Britain to seek a second vote from the House of Commons on Syria. Though none have come forward to say it in so many words, it is believed that London would soon like to join the US bandwagon if the Congress authorizes President Barack Obama to go for the strike.  For the full text

The New York Times, Editorial, 4 September 2013, Wednesday
82. The Stakes in Congress
The divided 10-to-7 vote on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday authorizing a strike against Syria for the use of chemical weapons showed there is no strong consensus yet on this critical question. For the full text

The Daily Star, Lebanon, Editorial, 4 September 2013, Wednesday
83. Tragic Power Play
The joint US-Israeli missile test in the Mediterranean Tuesday (3 September) morning, announced first by Russia, epitomizes exactly how the tragedy of the Syrian civil war has now become a power play between the Cold War enemies, acted out in someone else’s backyard. For the full text

The Washington Post, Editorial, 5 September 2013, Thursday
84. Vladimir Putin’s ‘Ludicrous’ Stance on Syria’s Chemical Weapons
In an interview Tuesday (3 September) with the Associated Press and Russian television, Russian President Vladimir Putin threw a bucket of cold water on the assertions of the United States and others that Syrian troops used chemical weapons in the 21 August attack that killed 1,429 people near Damascus.  For the full text

Khaleej Times, Dubai, Editorial, 5 September 2013, Thursday
85. Draft Gets a Nod
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has furthered the envelope. The draft resolution backing the use of United States military force in Syria got a momentous nod — and the ground is now set for a popular vote next week on the floor of the house. The surprising fact is that partisan politics wasn’t evident as the committee members patiently heard the secretary of state and the defence secretary advocate the case of war, as they went on to assure that inaction is not an option on the table.  For the full text

The National, Abu Dhabi, Editorial, 5 September 2013, Thursday
86. US Action in Syria Must Level the Playing Field
President Barack Obama's aides have begun to build a case for military action against the regime of Bashar al-Assad to deter him from using chemical weapons again. While many prominent senators have declared their support for Mr. Obama, whether the action will be sanctioned by Congress is still a matter of speculation.  For the full text

China Daily, New York, Editorial, 6 September 2013, Friday
87. Obama Lacks Legal Basis
With US President Barack Obama's push for military action against Syria passing its first hurdle in the Senate, the countdown to military intervention by the United States in the Middle East country has begun ticking again. With the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voting 10 to 7 in favour of a resolution authorizing the use of military force in Syria, it could go before the full Senate next week. For the full text

The New York Times, Editorial, 6 September 2013, Friday
88. Can Mr. Obama Avoid Mission Creep?
President Obama is scheduled to address the nation Tuesday (10 September) on his plans for using military force in Syria. He will have a hard time persuading a sceptical Congress and an equally sceptical American public. For the full text

Saudi Gazette, Jeddah, Editorial, 6 September 2013, Friday
89. What Is Obama Up To
On Tuesday (3 September), Russian radar operators picked up the launch of missiles in the Eastern Mediterranean. It turned out that what they had discovered was a joint missile defence test carried out by Israel and the United States.  For the full text

The Guardian, London, Editorial, 6 September 2013, Friday
90. G20 and Syria: A Forlorn Display
Friday marked the G20 forum's first big test on a major non-financial crisis. Its performance can only be described as a failure. Not because the St Petersburg summit failed to agree on a solution to the catastrophe in Syria. To expect 20 powerful states (and assorted representatives of multilateral institutions) to shake hands on some kind of a deal was always highly implausible, given that neither Barack Obama nor David Cameron has yet managed to secure the backing of even their own parliaments.  For the full text

The Jordan Times, Amman, Editorial, 7 September 2013, Saturday
91. Another Failed Forum
The G-20 meeting in St. Petersburg was a fractious gathering where the Syrian conflict overshadowed the main agenda item, which was economic and financial cooperation. The divide between US President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin on the response to the deployment of chemical weapons on a suburb of Damascus in 21 August did not become any narrower. Neither leader budged from his position on what to do next. For the full text

The Hindu, Chennai, Editorial, 7 September 2013, Saturday
92. Fig Leaf for an Illegal War
Even as United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon calls for fresh talks on Syria, and Russia says it is not blocking the UN but wants member states to be “more objective,” Syria’s part in President Barack Obama’s domestic agenda could yet be crucial. In practice, the United States Congress leaves foreign affairs to the President, but the War Powers Resolution of 1973 (the War Powers Act) requires him to consult the legislature before introducing US troops into hostilities or clearly likely hostilities, and limits involvement to 60 days unless Congress has declared war or specifically authorizes continuation.  For the full text

The Peninsula, Doha, Editorial, 7 September 2013, Saturday
93. Dithering on Syria
Who expected the G20 to close ranks and vote for US President Barack Obama’s planned strikes on Syria? Not even Obama. With differences among global powers running deep on how to respond to Bashar al-Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons, there was no way a consensus could be forged. It looked as if it was not a question of gassing innocent people, but reasserting the positions already taken.  For the full text

Gulf News, Dubai, Editorial, 7 September 2013, Saturday
94. Striking Syria Will Be a Grave Mistake
For the past two weeks, the world’s attention has been focused on a potential strike by the United States and allies such as France, Germany, Canada and Turkey on the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as punishment for his purported use of chemical weapons in the suburbs of Damascus. For the full text

Khaleej Times, Dubai, Editorial, 8 September 2013, Sunday
95. Obama’s Post-G20 Dilemma
The G20 summit has made intervention in Syria almost an impossible task. So is the case of US President Barack Obama who seems to have lost the clout to convince a maximum number of world leaders in St Petersburg for flying sorties over Damascus.  For the full text

The Jerusalem Post, Editorial, 8 September 2013, Sunday
96. AIPAC and Syria
Just as Israelis are split on support for US military intervention against Assad, so undoubtedly is the American Jewish community. A decade ago as the US marched on Iraq, prominent news commentators and academics raised accusations that a “Zionist cabal” was pushing America to war. For the full text

The National, Abu Dhabi, Editorial, 8 September 2013, Sunday
97. G20 Has Failed the Syrian People
Many Syrians believe the world has failed them. After two and a half years of bloodshed and heartache, a brutal regime steadfastly clings to power. Meanwhile, the nation over which Bashar al-Assad presides is in tatters and refugees continue to head for Syria's borders. For the full text

The New York Times, Editorial, 9 September 2013, Monday
98. A Diplomatic Proposal for Syria
Secretary of State John Kerry may not have expected his casual suggestion that Syria avert American military action by giving up its chemical weapons to be taken seriously. But it may have created a diplomatic way out for President Obama, who has insisted that a military strike is the only way to respond after concluding that the Syrian government used poison gas in its civil war. For the full text

The Daily Star, Lebanon, Editorial, 10 September 2013, Tuesday
99. Stuck on Spin
In the wake of a chemical weapons attack in the suburbs of Damascus last month, people in Syria and the rest of the world have been treated to a deafening crescendo of rhetoric that was supposedly laying the groundwork for a US-led military strike on Syria. For the full text

Ha'aretz, Tel Aviv, Editorial, 10 September 2013, Tuesday
100. In Case You Were Wondering: AIPAC Is Not Israel
US President Barack Obama is waging a desperate war this week. Not against Syrian President Bashar Assad, whose country he threatens to attack, but against the American majority that opposes military action in Syria and conveying its disinclination for war to its congressional representatives.  For the full text

Gulf News, Dubai, Editorial, 10 September 2013, Tuesday
101. A Window of Opportunity in Syria
The Russian proposal that Syria hand over its stock of chemical weapons to the international community — with a view to its destruction — is a compromise that offers many countries a way out of the immediate crisis. For the full text

The Washington Post, Editorial, 10 September 2013, Tuesday
102. Threat of US Strikes Needed to Change Syria’s Behaviour
It would be wrong to dismiss a potential move by Syria to place its chemical weapons arsenal under international supervision — a possibility that suddenly appeared Monday (9 September) when a seemingly offhand comment by Secretary of State John F. Kerry was seized upon by Russia. For the full text

The Guardian, London, Editorial, 10 September 2013, Tuesday
103. Syria: A Path worth Exploring
However the plan emerged – whether it was the US secretary of state John Kerry going off-piste at a press conference, whether it had been floated at the G20 summit last week, or whether it had been worked over in back-channel discussions for some time – it soon acquired momentum. Within 24 hours, China and Iran had backed the emerging Russia-US idea for Syria to surrender its chemical arsenal – although Iran added that this should include the chemical weapons it alleged were in rebel hands.  For the full text

Khaleej Times, Dubai, Editorial, 10 September 2013, Tuesday
104. Assad Warns of Retaliation
Bashar al-Assad has squarely put the onus on the United States. In a direct challenge to the US legislators — who are in the process of evaluating evidences to approve or reject the use of force against Damascus, the Syrian president has once again claimed that Washington has no evidence to prove that his government used chemical weapons.  For the full text

The Independent, London, Editorial, 10 September 2013, Tuesday
105. Russia’s Call to Put Syria’s Chemical Weapons beyond Reach Deserves Serious Consideration
The speed of the diplomatic turnaround over Syria has been truly breath-taking. One minute, President Obama was preparing to tour the US talk shows to appeal for Congressional (and public) support for air strikes; the next, he was actually on those talk shows, voicing qualified support for a Russian proposal to place Syria’s chemical weapons stocks under international control.  For the full text

The New York Times, Editorial, 11 September 2013, Wednesday
106. Diplomacy as Deterrent
After a muddled start in his lurch toward military action in Syria, President Obama did better in his speech on Tuesday (10 September) night. He offered a forceful moral argument for a limited strike against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad for the use of chemical weapons on 21 August. For the full text

The Jordan Times, Amman, Editorial, 11 September 2013, Wednesday
107. Political Carousel
The rapid developments over the past few days surrounding Syria caught many unprepared and even more surprised. First came the seemingly off-the-cuff offer by US Secretary of State John Kerry who stated that Damascus could avert a military strike by surrendering its chemical weapons within a limited time frame. For the full text

The Peninsula, Doha, Editorial, 11 September 2013, Wednesday
108. Stop Dithering
If Barack Obama and his team have succeeded in doing anything on Syria, it’s in making a ketch-up. Follow the president’s statements since he first made the threat to punish the Syrian regime if it crossed the red-line on chemical weapons, until his remarks at a meeting with Democrats and Republicans yesterday (10 September) in which he expressed his desire to choose the diplomatic option, and what we can say with certainty is that this is a president who is confused, uncertain, wobbly and timid on Syria.  For the full text

The Washington Post, Editorial, 11 September 2013, Wednesday
109. Stumbling Toward a Solution on Syria
President Obama approached his address to the country Tuesday (10 September) night in a deep political hole — one largely of his own digging. As the president and his aides have argued for a military response to Syria’s use of chemical weapons, support for a strike among Americans and members of Congress has decreased.  For the full text

China Daily, New York, Editorial, 11 September 2013, Wednesday
110. Breakthrough on Syria
With US strikes against Syria still looming, a ray of hope has emerged that might help avert them, as members of the international community, the United States and Syria included, have responded positively to a Russian proposal that the Middle East country place its chemical weapons under international control. For the full text

Khaleej Times, Dubai, Editorial, 11 September 2013, Wednesday
111. A Goof That Worked!
A somersault on Syria is in the making. A goof from John Kerry seems to have changed the war argument in Washington. The secretary of state after a whirlpool tour of Europe, wherein he tried his level best to seek an endorsement for attacking Syria, somehow had a slip of the tongue when he said that if Damascus is ready to give up its chemical weapons, an attack might be avoided.  For the full text

Ha'aretz, Tel Aviv, Editorial, 12 September 2013, Thursday
112. Obama’s Wise Decision to Back Down
President Barack Obama, who brandished a massive sword over Bashar Assad's head in recent weeks, returned it to its sheath Wednesday (11 September). In due course he may draw it again to strike the Syrian regime, but the chance of this is diminishing. For the full text

The Indian Express, New Delhi, Editorial, 12 September 2013, Thursday
113. Securing a Solution
Russia's proposal on Syria is the only diplomatic way out. With a fluctuating conflict on the ground, a military strike on Syria, no matter how limited in scope, would likely have made a bad situation worse, destabilizing a volatile region. US President Barack Obama's decision to postpone a Congressional vote on military intervention is, therefore, welcome.  For the full text

The New York Sun, Editorial, 12 September 2013, Thursday
114. Time for Kerry to Resign
At this point the best thing that could happen in the Syria crisis would be for Secretary of State Kerry to resign. He’s one of the logical persons to take the fall for this fiasco, given that we don’t live under a parliamentary system and the constitutional concept in respect of the president, any president, is for the decision to be made by voters once in four years. It was Mr. Kerry who made the blunder that has put the administration on track for a classic appeasement. For the full text

The Washington Post, Editorial, 12 September 2013, Thursday
115. Demilitarizing Syria’s Poison Gas Would Be Extremely Difficult
The Russian suggestion that Syria put its chemical weapons under international supervision sounded like a potential diplomatic breakthrough. In the aftermath of the alleged 21 August chemical attack in Damascus that is said to have killed more than 1,400 people, it would certainly seem proper for a United Nations force to march in, load the remaining bombs and artillery shells onto trucks and cart them away to a safe place for disposal — and do it fast. For the full text

The Daily Star, Lebanon, Editorial, 12 September 2013, Thursday
116. All Options Open
After nearly three weeks of geopolitical tensions following the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian war, US President Barack Obama took to the airwaves Tuesday (10 September) evening to declare the latest steps to be taken by his administration: postponing a congressional vote on a US military response, and discussing a Russian initiative to end the crisis by seeing Damascus give up its control over its chemical weapons stockpiles.  For the full text

The Daily Star, Lebanon, Editorial, 13 September 2013, Friday
117. Lives before Glory
The rare meeting between US Secretary of John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov Thursday and Friday comes at the end of a dramatic week of diplomatic dances between the two world powers. But it is imperative that the two work together for the good of the Syrian people, and not to pursue personal or political glory. For the full text

The Washington Post, Editorial, 14 September 2013, Saturday
118. Work on Syria’s Chemical Weapons Should Not Preclude Removing Assad
The Obama administration faces two distinct challenges in attempting to conclude a diplomatic deal to eliminate Syria’s massive arsenal of chemical weapons. The first is to agree with Russia on a workable plan for declaring, securing and then destroying munitions, chemical precursors and production facilities, with a clear timetable and close international monitoring, and to formalize that plan in a UN Security Council resolution.  For the full text

The Peninsula, Doha, Editorial, 15 September 2013, Sunday
119. Exploring Options
The election of a moderate Islamist as provisional prime minister by the Syrian National Coalition is unlikely to make any significant impact on the current course of events. The election was a clear move by the SNC to avoid being sidelined as developments on Syria spin out of control, with Russia and the US trying to reaching a deal on the handover of chemical weapons in Syria and the opposition finding itself stuck in a groove, its voices and opinions going unnoticed.  For the full text

The Jerusalem Post, Editorial, 15 September 2013, Sunday
120. Israel and the Syria Deal
It is too early to assess the implications for the Jewish state of an increasingly assertive Russia and a more hesitant US, particularly with regard to Iran. Is the Russian-led agreement with the United States to do away with Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons good for the Jews?  For the full text

The Guardian, London, Editorial, 15 September 2013, Sunday
121. Syria: The Deal That Only Goes So Far
In terms of dealing with Syria's chemical stockpile, the agreement in Geneva between the US and Russia on Saturday (14 September) is probably the best framework solution that anyone could have hoped for in the circumstances. Bashar al-Assad must report what stocks he holds within a week, rather than a month.  For the full text

Khaleej Times, Dubai, Editorial, 15 September 2013, Sunday
122. The Geneva Success
The Americans and the Russians have reached a deal on Syria’s toxic stockpiles. Their brainstorming in Geneva concluded on a positive note, as US Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov proudly announced the salient features of a six-point agreement, which would provide UN inspectors’ unbridled access to chemical weapons sites and Damascus dismantling the same by mid-2014.  For the full text

The New York Times, Editorial, 15 September 2013, Sunday
123. The Syrian Pact
The United States-Russian agreement to dismantle Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal is remarkably ambitious and offers a better chance of deterring this threat than the limited military strikes that President Obama was considering. For the full text

The Independent, London, Editorial, 15 September 2013, Sunday
124. Syria Crisis: Russia, the Peacemonger
The myths about the agreement between the United States and Russia on chemical weapons in Syria should not be allowed to distract us from its importance. The idea that Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian dictator, could avoid military action by giving up his chemical weapons was more than an “off-the-cuff remark” by John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, on Monday (9 September).  For the full text

The New York Sun, Editorial, 15 September 2013, Sunday
125. ‘Imbeciles’
The agreement between Secretary of State Kerry and the Russian Federation makes the Obama administration a partner of not only President Putin but also of President al-Assad of Syria. The idea is that the Syrian will destroy his chemical weapons, which the Kremlin helped him to acquire, and accede to the Chemical Weapons Convention.  For the full text

The Daily Star, Lebanon, Editorial, 16 September 2013, Monday
126. Step into Unknown
This weekend’s Geneva agreement, brokered by the US and Russia, calls for Syria to outline its chemical weapons stocks within a week and to destroy its stocks by the middle of next year, both of which are great steps in theory. But the agreement, already hailed by the Syrian government as a “victory,” will not affect the outcome of the war nor will it halt the killings by conventional weapons or improve the quality of life for those millions of refugees currently living in appalling conditions. For the full text

The Indian Express, New Delhi, Editorial, 16 September 2013, Monday
127. A Reason to Hope
US-Russia deal on Syria is a breakthrough. Now, renew efforts to end the civil war. The agreement between the US and Russia on the framework document for the disarming of Syria's chemical weapons is the most significant breakthrough yet in the Syrian civil war. While this diplomatic progress — worked out in Geneva by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry — will be construed as a Russian victory, the Obama administration must be congratulated for seeing the wisdom of putting its faith in diplomacy and a multilateral approach, holding off a military strike that would have made the humanitarian crisis in Syria much worse.  For the full text

Ha'aretz, Tel Aviv, Editorial, 16 September 2013, Monday
128. Farewell to Chemical Weapons
The agreement reached by the United States and Russia for Syria’s chemical weapons disarmament, if it is implemented in letter and spirit, holds a great opportunity for Israel. Syrian President Bashar Assad’s stores of nerve gas were considered a strategic threat to Israel’s home front that pushed Israel into making huge investments in gas masks for the population.  For the full text

The New York Sun, Editorial, 16 September 2013, Monday
129. Is the Kremlin an Accessory?
The United Nations report on the Syrian chemical attacks and the response of the international organizations makes the political classes of the United States and the U.K. look pathetically weak — enough to call into question basic assumptions of the post-Cold War world. It’s bad enough that the report confirms that mass civilian casualties resulted from an air bombardment using the Sarin nerve agent. Secretary General Ban calls the attack a “war crime.”  For the full text

The Jordan Times, Amman, Editorial, 17 September 2013, Tuesday
130. Not Enough
The momentous US-Russian agreement on the “framework” for surrendering chemical weapons in Syria, which are to be eventually destroyed, risks unravelling for a few reasons. To begin with, the accord was over the “framework” for dismantling Syria’s chemical weapons, nothing more and nothing less. For the full text

Dawn, Karachi, Editorial, 17 September 2013, Tuesday
131. Syria Spared War: US and Russia Can Achieve More
For the time being at least, Syria and the region have been spared a conflagration, sending a message loud and clear to hawks the world over: diplomacy should never be abandoned. The American war machine was on battle stations, ready to unleash its lethal power on a country where nearly two and a half years of fratricide have already killed over 100,000 people, with countless injured and maimed, two million rendered homeless and an infrastructure left pulverized.  For the full text

The National, Abu Dhabi, Editorial, 17 September 2013, Tuesday
132. War Criminals of Ghouta Must Face Justice
The release of the UN report into the use of chemical weapons in Syria might seem to have been overtaken by events. While the team of inspectors were investigating whether banned weapons had been used in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta, Syria not only admitted having chemical weapons but informally agreed on a deal to join the international ban on their use and to have the international community destroy its stockpile. For the full text

Gulf News, Dubai, Editorial, 17 September 2013, Tuesday
133. Using Chemical Weapons a War Crime
If there had ever been a lingering doubt that chemical weapons were ever used in Syria, causing the deaths of hundreds of civilians in an attack in suburban Damascus on 21 August, let the report of the United Nations analysts put those doubts to rest. For the full text

Khaleej Times, Dubai, Editorial, 18 September 2013, Wednesday
134. Syria’s Whodunit
The much-awaited United Nations weapons inspectors’ report was a non-starter. It created more confusion on the path of finding a diplomatic solution for the mess in Syria than suggesting clear-cut remedies as to who played foul. It failed to fix the responsibility and identify the culprits behind the gassing of people in Damascus on 21 August.  For the full text

China Daily, New York, Editorial, 18 September 2013, Wednesday
135. Let UN Take the Lead
The report by United Nations inspectors confirming that chemical weapons have been used in Syria seems to have only intensified the bickering between the United States and Russia. On Monday (16 September), UN weapons inspectors said they had "clear and convincing" evidence that the nerve gas sarin had been used against civilians in a suburb of Damascus last month.  For the full text

The Daily Star, Lebanon, Editorial, 18 September 2013, Wednesday
136. Paper Tigers
Amid the diplomatic debacle surrounding Syria over the last few weeks, Russia, and in particular President Vladimir Putin, has appeared the major player on the global stage. After decades of American hegemony internationally, is the order being reversed? Are we witnessing – if not a complete switch in roles – a return to Cold War days of parity between the two powers?  For the full text

Gulf News, Dubai, Editorial, 21 September 2013, Saturday
137. Spare a Thought for Ordinary Syrians
Disarming the Syrian regime of its chemical weapons stockpile is a significant move. It will prevent a ruthless regime from using weapons of mass destruction against its people. The Syrian decision to get rid of this arsenal came under the threat of force, led by the United States, which insists that the military option is “still on the table” in case the deal, brokered by Russia, is not implemented. For the full text

The Daily Star, Lebanon, 23 September 2013, Monday
138. Stalled Diplomacy
Using the language of diplomacy, the Russian foreign minister said Sunday (22 September) that the United States was using blackmail to try and force Russia and China to agree to a Security Council resolution on Syria that threatens force against the regime, and “shields” the opposition. For the full text

The New York Times, Editorial, 26 September 2013, Thursday
139. Some Progress on Syria
The resolution to rid Syria of its chemical weapons, agreed to by the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, is a useful, if imperfect, step toward a credible international response to a bloody war that has killed more than 100,000 Syrians. For the full text

Gulf News, Dubai, Editorial, 28 September 2013, Saturday
140. UN Has Failed the People of Syria
The United Nations has failed the people of Syria. People are dying every day in Syria and the international community has conspired to ignore them. The UN General Assembly should be ashamed that it spent far too long debating what to do about the Syrian government’s chemical weapons and did not look at the ongoing war that has killed more than 100,000 people and displaced more than two million. For the full text

The Peninsula, Doha, Editorial, 28 September 2013, Saturday
141. Groping in the Dark
It’s time for Syria to act on its promise to destroy its chemical weapons arsenal. When the threat of punitive military strike hung over the regime of Bashar al-Assad, over its alleged use of chemical weapons against its own people, Assad and his friends in Moscow had hatched the idea of surrendering its chemical arsenal to escape an attack. Despite severe doubts by experts and leaders about the true designs of the Assad regime, US President Barack Obama had agreed to that plan, out of his own eagerness to avoid getting mired in another Middle East conflict.  For the full text

Saudi Gazette, Jeddah, 29 September 2013, Sunday
142. UN Resolution on Syria
While the UN Security Council resolution ordering the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons is historic, the fact that the US and Russia are both raising their hands on the vote to destroy Syria's stockpile is a genuinely groundbreaking event. The murderous 30-month run by the Assad regime which has killed over 100,000 people, displaced millions and culminated in last month’s horrific sarin attack might not be coming to an end, but the threat of another chemical weapons assault like that on Ghouta has definitely receded. For the full text

The Jordan Times, Amman, Editorial, 29 September 2013, Sunday
143. Still Some Way to Go
The resolution recently adopted by the UN Security Council on Syria’s chemical weapons has been hailed worldwide as a major breakthrough of international diplomacy, especially at the UN Security Council level. It sealed a seemingly timely diplomatic alliance between the US and Russia on the issue. For the full text

Khaleej Times, Dubai, Editorial, 29 September 2013, Sunday
144. Resolution and Beyond
The United States and Russia have a document to cheer in consensus. But two weeks down the line when diplomats will convene in Geneva to take stock of the situation in Syria, there will be pressing questions to answer.  For the full text

China Daily, New York, Editorial, 30 September 2013, Monday
145. A Notable Consensus
Saturday's (28 September) UN Security Council resolution on Syria marks the greatest consensus the world has managed to build so far on seeking a political resolution to the crisis. All 15 UNSC members voted unanimously for the document, which aims to solve the Syria chemical weapons issue once and for all. For the full text

Dawn, Karachi, Editorial, 1 October 2013, Tuesday
146. Hope for Peace?: UN Resolution on Syrian WMDs
It remains to be seen whether the agreement on Syria’s chemical weapons will pave the way for an end to the 30 months of civil war in that country. As always, the UN acted only after America and Russia had clinched a deal. Passed on Friday (27 September) by the Security Council, the binding resolution calling for the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons doesn’t provide for punitive action if the Damascus government fails to cooperate. For the full text

The Washington Post, Editorial, 1 October 2013, Tuesday
147. US Credibility Still On the Line in Ridding Syria of Chemical Weapons
The initiative to eliminate Syria’s chemical arsenal will advance another step Tuesday (1 October) when the first team of inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) arrives in Damascus. The previously obscure agency, based at the Hague and charged with implementing the Chemical Weapons Convention, adopted this weekend a plan under which Syria’s capacity to produce chemical munitions would be destroyed by Nov.?1 and all of its bombs and precursors eliminated within eight months. For the full text

Khaleej Times, Dubai, Editorial, 2 October 2013, Wednesday
148. The Dismantling Process
Disarmament experts have a daunting task to deliver in Syria.
As they got to work on Tuesday (1 October) to implement the Geneva deal, which will see the dismantling of Syria’s entire chemical stockpiles they were awakened to the reality that a truce between state security forces and the rebels is essential to get the job done.  For the full text

The Washington Post, Editorial, 4 October 2013, Friday
149. Syria’s Chemical Weapons Stash Must Be Thoroughly Destroyed – and Verified
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons’s mission to Syria this week is vital. The outcome could mean that one of Syria’s most serious threats — deadly nerve agents, and the shells and bombs that carry them — may be neutralized and destroyed in the aftermath of the chemical attack on a Damascus suburb 21 August.  For the full text

The Japan Times, Tokyo, Editorial, 8 October 2013, Tuesday
150. Destroying Syria’s Chemical Weapons
A small team of chemical weapons specialists entered Syria last week and began the critical task of dismantling that country’s chemical weapons programme and stockpiles. Fulfilling that assignment will not be easy. For the full text

Saudi Gazette,Jeddah, Editorial, 9 October 2013, Wednesday
151. Assad Deserves No Praise
For many people, Washington’s praise of Bashar Assad for cooperating with UN chemical weapons inspectors is sticking in the craw. It is, indeed, entirely inappropriate. This is a savage regime that has used poison gas on its own people, most recently in a suburb of the capital Damascus where up to 1,400 victims many of them women and children were gassed to death. Nor was this the first time that this awful armament has been deployed.  For the full text

Khaleej Times, Dubai, Editorial, 15 October 2013, Tuesday
152. An SOS from OPCW
The call from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) should be heeded. The body responsible for destroying chemical weapons in Syria says that fighting is preventing access to the rebel-held areas and the need of the hour is an instant ceasefire.  For the full text

The Washington Post, Editorial, 21 October 2013, Monday
153. Syria’s Crisis Averted? Not So Fast
Two months after a horrifying sarin gas attack propelled Syria to the centre of Washington’s attention, the episode appears to have been forgotten. International inspectors say their implementation of a plan to eliminate the regime’s chemical weapons arsenal, which ended up being President Obama’s response to the crime, is proceeding relatively smoothly. In Congress, the foreign policy debate has moved on to Iran. For the full text

Compiled by J R Philemon Chiru

J R Philemon Chiru is a Doctoral candidate at the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Email

As part of its editorial policy, the MEI@ND standardizes spelling and date formats to make the text uniformly accessible and stylistically consistent. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views/positions of the MEI@ND.  Editor, MEI@ND:  P R Kumaraswamy