The article still defends the deal as reducing the scale of chemical weapons use by Assad, but by minimizing the effect of the deal in keeping Assad in power, this defense basically says that the hundreds of thousands who have died by conventional means don't count for as much as the "success" of preventing thousands of deaths by poison gas attack.
Hell, Assad killed more with old fashioned secret police methods than he did with poison gas attacks:
Amnesty [International] said on Tuesday as many as 13,000 people were hanged in five years at the notorious Saydnaya military-run prison near Damascus, accusing the regime of a "policy of extermination".
And there is this:
Syrian government forces carried out at least eight chemical attacks during the final weeks of the battle for Aleppo, killing nine people, among them four children, Human Rights Watch said Monday.
Fancy that. Even as a stand-alone question, the chemical deal failed.
President Obama stepped in it with his red line comment to deter Assad from using chemical weapons that Obama probably never had any intention of enforcing.
Yet rather than take the hit to his reputation like a man after Assad crossed that line, and move on to a better Syria policy, our president--aided by that buffoon of a diplomat John Kerry--preferred to let Russia provide a fig leaf deal to allow President Obama to claim a diplomatic success.
It was obvious from the start that the deal would fail on its merits. And it has, since Assad still uses chemical weapons in his war effort.
In many ways, Assad and his Russian friends used the West as a Superfund clean up project for old chemical weapons and equipment that Assad can rebuild with modern facilities when the civil war is over.
I don't assume Assad will win this civil war. But that he has a chance to win is the bigger legacy of President Obama and his foolish chemical weapons deal that set in motion a process that turned America from an enemy of Assad into a co-belligerent against his enemies; and has allowed Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah to prop Assad up despite being heavily outnumbered by Syrian opponents.
This would have been Obama's biggest failure in the Middle East, but for the withdrawal from Iraq in 2011. But he at least initiated Iraq War 2.0 to redeem his 2011 withdrawal from Iraq. And President Obama jammed through an even bigger clusterfuck of a deal with Iran that he claims will slow down Iran's drive for nuclear weapons.
And as you read the review of the chemical weapons deal, ponder how long it takes to put Assad's fingerprints--and Assad still denies it, avoiding all but token punishment--on the use of chemical weapons in Syria.
Does anybody really believe Russia with their Security Council veto will allow any decisive international retribution to fall on Assad?
France said on Tuesday the United Nations Security Council had to respond over the use of chemical weapons in Syria with a resolution that would punish those responsible for repeated attacks.
What part of Russian and Chinese veto power in the Security Council is unclear?
Now tell me how we can determine--let alone set out the proof--that Iran is violating the nuclear deal in laboratories that have only limited IAEA presence or that are in off-limits Iranian military sites.
That doesn't even address the question of how much of Iran's nuclear program is subcontracted to the North Koreans.
So tell me again that Russia or China, with their Security Council veto power, will allow any decisive international retribution to fall on Iran if we manage to meet the burden of proof on what is a murky issue (and which if we meet that burden of proof, we will likely tell Iran exactly who provided that information or how we managed to find out what Iran did).
Have a super sparkly day.