Kremlin aide: there may be ‘some pretext’ for war on Assad if chemical arms scrapped

Sergei Ivanov file photo

(Interfax – VLADIVOSTOK, Russia, September 23, 2013) Syria may still be in danger of a military strike from abroad if it fulfills its commitment to scrap all its chemical weapons because there may be “some other pretext” for war, the Kremlin’s top aide said.

File Photo of Bashar al-Assad and Sergei LavrovSergei Ivanov, president Vladimir Putin’s chief of staff, said in a program on Saturday on Russia’s Rossiya television that he had been asked once whether it meant that President Bashar al-Assad’s government was safe against a foreign military strike if “the chemical weapons in Syria are destroyed and that is verified, if no one has any questions and if there remains not a gram of chemicals – sarin or anything else.”

“I answered honestly, no it doesn’t. There will be some other pretext, I can’t rule this out,” Ivanov said.

However, he said, “it will be a significant result per se if the Russian initiative, which has been approved by the United States, to destroy the chemical weapons, the weapons of mass destruction, in Syria is successful in the sense that one more country will have joined the international convention for their destruction.”

He pointed out that, under international law, the go-ahead from the UN Security Council is needed for any military action against the Syrian government.