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Syria chemical weapons deal: Path to disarmament or 'indefensible'? (+video)

The agreement brokered by the US and Russia to rid Syria of chemical weapons is getting mixed reviews. It could reduce such weapons, but critics say it plays into the hands of Iran and Hezbollah.

John Kerry explains Syria plan to Israel
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Like an exciting new TV series that may or may not be headed for a satisfying conclusion, the tentative agreement on Syria’s chemical weapons brokered by the United States and Russia is getting mixed reviews.

Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, plus the Syrian rebel commanders they support, hate the deal announced Saturday by Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Many US lawmakers – Republicans and Democrats alike – tentatively welcome the agreement, if only because it relieves at least some of the pressure they were feeling to vote on a measure authorizing use of US military force against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

China, which (like Russia) likely would have blocked any measure in the UN Security Council that included the possible use of force against Mr. Assad, likes it, too.

So does Syria itself for at least two reasons: Their principal major power patron – Russia – wants them to, and the deal specifies no military or economic sanctions against Syria. It doesn’t even directly charge the regime with responsibility for the Aug. 21 chemical attack US intelligence sources say killed 1,429 people, including 426 children.

Quoted Sunday on Russia's state-run news agency RIA Novosti, Syrian National Reconciliation Minister Ali Haidar called the deal "a victory for Syria won thanks to our Russian friends.”

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