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Former US President Barack Obama says his decision not to “bomb Syria” after it was blamed for chemical weapons use needed “the most political courage.”
“I actually think that the issue that required the most political courage was the decision not to bomb Syria after the chemical weapons use had been publicized and rather to negotiate them removing chemical weapons from Syria,” he told online publishing platform Medium during an interview released Monday.
“Now, we know subsequently that some remained, so it was an imperfect solution. But what we also know is that 99 percent of huge chemical weapons stockpiled were removed without having to fire a shot,” the former president claimed.
The Syrian government turned over its entire chemical stockpile under a deal negotiated by Russia and the United States back in 2013.
The country’s stockpile of chemical weapons was surrendered in a joint mission comprising representatives of the UN and the OPCW in 2014.
Obama’s pitch was supposed to contrast with the rash response by Trump, who recently ordered an airstrike against an airbase under the control of the Syrian government after reports of a chemical attack blamed on Damascus, which argues it was a false flag.
Obama asserted that in the US, you generally get praised for taking military action, and you’re often criticized for not doing so.”
“And it wasn’t a slam dunk, but I thought that it made sense for a variety of reasons for us to see if we could actually try to eliminate the prospect of large-scale chemical weapons use rather than the political expenditure of a one-time shot.”
The Syrian government voluntarily dismantled its stockpile of chemical weapons under the supervision of the UN and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
Under Obama, a US-led coalition was launched to conduct airstrikes against purported Daesh targets inside Syria since September 2014, without any authorization from the Damascus government or a United Nations mandate.