Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Washington (AFP) – U.S. President Barack Obama said Tuesday that Russia had a “responsibility” to ensure that Syria complies with a deal to hand over its chemical weapons.

Washington has said only limited shipments of chemicals have left the Syrian port of Latakia so far — far less than the 700 tonnes the country was supposed to dispose of by the end of 2013, under a U.S.-Russia brokered agreement.

“Syria must meet its commitments and Russia has a responsibility to ensure that Syria complies,” Obama said in a press conference with French President Francois Hollande.

Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin said last week that despite rising U.S. reservations, things were “moving along” with the chemical weapons deal.

The UN Security Council last year backed the U.S.-Russian deal to destroy Syria’s vast chemical arsenal as a way to avert US strikes threatened after chemical attacks near Damascus that Washington blamed on the regime.

Under the agreement, Syria’s entire chemical arsenal is due to be eliminated by June 30.

Western powers accuse President Bashar al-Assad’s regime of purposefully delaying the operations, while Syria stresses the challenges it faces in meeting its commitments during a time of war.

AFP Photo/Mandel Ngan

Photo by Mediamodifier from Pixabay

Reprinted with permission from TomDispatch

When it rains, pieces of glass, pottery, and metal rise through the mud in the hills surrounding my Maryland home. The other day, I walked outside barefoot to fetch one of my kid's shoes and a pottery shard stabbed me in the heel. Nursing a minor infection, I wondered how long that fragment dated back.

A neighbor of mine found what he said looked like a cartridge case from an old percussion-cap rifle in his pumpkin patch. He told us that the battle of Monocacy had been fought on these grounds in July 1864, with 1,300 Union and 900 Confederate troops killed or wounded here. The stuff that surfaces in my fields when it storms may or may not be battle artifacts, but it does remind me that the past lingers and that modern America was formed in a civil war.

Keep reading... Show less