So now Assad is DEMANDING we stop arming the rebels. This is all very quaint.
First, over a year ago the US said Assad had to go. The US tried to delegitimize him and treat him as if he were not the official decision-maker for Syria. Now, we are negotiating with him. Now he is re-legitimized.
Second, Russia is handing Assad weapons hand over fist. So, it's "weapons for me but not for thee." Rather cheeky, don't you think?
But that's just a foretaste. Assad also said he needed 30 days to catalog his CW stockpiles. SS Kerry said that was unacceptable. I'll wager they'll spend at least 30 days arguing over whether or not 30 days is acceptable before settling on a timeframe that is acceptable (maybe 180 days?).
This whole "I need 30 days" and "You must stop arming rebels" thingy is just a tremendous game. Expect to see several other demands creeping out over the next few days and weeks. Expect some of them to be rather absurd in nature. It's a ploy with several aspects.
The most obvious is to bide time for Assad. Russia is not going to allow Assad to fall. That is a reality that has to be accepted. Killing 100,000 more people to maintain a hold on power in a region is what Putin calls "Tuesday afternoons."
However, once he has re-secured power for his chinless stooge he will have show that he can hold his satrapy in Syria with more power (and sheer brutality) than the US will holds its fiefdom in Iraq. Hey, there Mr. Arab Prince. That's a nice kingdom you gots there. I'd be a shame if something were to happen to it.
And with each new demand the original demand gets further and further away. If you thought the US public and congress were loathe to go to war over the alleged gassing of civilian wait until you see how much they do not want to go to war over 15-days vs. 30-days or the arming of rebels or whether or not the drapes in the negotiating room in Geneva are mauve with gold trim. And as that non-existent threat of war becomes increasingly non-existent the demands will grow both in frequency and absurdity.
No, Obama will not go back to congress. The proposed AUMF couldn't even pass the Democratic controlled senate; the single most embarrassing indicator of this entire farce. If he circumvents congress unilaterally his presidency is as good as ended, impeachment or not because no one will trust him after that. The rest of his term will be spent watching congress trying to rein him in after he has told them point blank he runs the show without regard or checks or balances.
Play the negotiation game. Draw it out. Accept the fact Assad gets to keep Syria and Putin gets to keep Assad. Let the murderer have his knife fight with the rapist. We wish them both much success. We have our own damn country to run and there's nothing in Syria to save that won't be saved incidentally by an Assad victory. We sure as hell don't want AQ getting a foothold because they can't be controlled by anyone. Walking away with the occasional WOOF! WOOF! WOOF! is the least crappiest of a thousand potentially crappy outcomes.