A senior Russian diplomat on Thursday said his nation would not accept any Syrian chemical-arms shipment to its territory under plans to subject the weapons to international monitoring and destruction, Reuters reported.
“There can be no doubt — we will not do this,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said. An international treaty prohibits such transfers, and domestic legal restrictions also would prevent the United States from importing the weapons, he added in comments reported by the Russian government news agency RIA Novosti.
“We believe the destruction (of chemical weapons) on Syrian territory is the best option,” he said. Interfax quoted him as saying Russian officials “will be ready to help in guarding” Syrian chemical-arms facilities where work is being carried out.
Meanwhile, Moscow and Washington have hammered out broad parameters of a U.N. Security Council resolution on their plan to rid the Syrian government of its chemical-warfare stockpile, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday. The draft would allow for potential penalties in response to any noncompliance by Damascus, but the text would not contain an outright endorsement of possible military strikes.
Meanwhile, Syrian President Bashar Assad reportedly said his government holds weapons more potent than chemical arms, Lebanon’s Daily Star newspaper reported.
“Initially, we manufactured chemical arms in the 80s as a deterrent weapon to confront Israel’s nuclear arsenal,” the Lebanese newspaper al-Akhbar on Thursday quoted him as saying.
“Now, they are no longer a deterrent weapon. Today, we have more important and more sophisticated weapons that can blind Israel in a moment.”
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Paul Ryan told CNN today he's "not ready" to back Donald Trump at this time. "I'm not there right now," he said. Ryan said Trump needs to unify "all wings of the Republican Party and the conservative movement" and then run a campaign that will allow Americans to "have something that they're proud to support and proud to be a part of. And we've got a ways to go from here to there."
In The New Yorker, Jeffrey Toobin gives Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, the longread treatment. The scourge of corrupt New York pols, bad actors on Wall Street, and New York gang members, Bharara learned at the foot of Chuck Schumer, the famously limelight-hogging senator whom he served as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee staff. No surprise then, that after President Obama appointed him, Bharara "brought a media-friendly approach to what has historically been a closed and guarded institution. In professional background, Bharara resembles his predecessors; in style, he’s very different. His personality reflects his dual life in New York’s political and legal firmament. A longtime prosecutor, he sometimes acts like a budding pol; his rhetoric leans more toward the wisecrack than toward the jeremiad. He expresses himself in the orderly paragraphs of a former high-school debater, but with deft comic timing and a gift for shtick."
President Obama has announced another round of commutations of prison sentences. Most of the 58 individuals named are incarcerated for possessions with intent to distribute controlled substances. The prisoners will be released between later this year and 2018.
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