The House Democratic leader said the deal, under which Syria will be expected to put its stockpile of chemical weapons under international control before they ultimately are destroyed, represented "significant progress" in efforts by the U.S. to prevent the use of weapons of mass destruction.
"What concerns us most is that our friends and enemies will take the same lessons from this agreement: They see it as an act of provocative weakness on America's part," Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said in a joint statement. "We cannot imagine a worse signal to send to Iran as it continues its push for a nuclear weapon."
The Obama administration and many lawmakers – including McCain and Graham – blame Syria for the deaths of more than 1,400 people last month in a chemical weapons attack near the capital of Damascus. But the two sides parted company on whether the U.S. should take military action in response, as Obama had said he was prepared to do before he tossed the issue to Congress for a vote.
Many lawmakers opposed the military option, while McCain and Graham were among those supporting it.
But what the two senators do not support is the agreement their former colleague, Secretary of State John Kerry, announced Saturday in Geneva after days of tense talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. The deal calls for securing and destroying Syria's chemical weapons stockpile and imposing penalties if the government of President Bashar Assad fails to comply with its terms. The agreement was the result of a surprise proposal by Syria's staunch ally, Russia.
McCain and Graham said a U.N. Security Council resolution, one of the next steps in the process, that doesn't threaten Assad with the use of force if his government fails to comply will render the agreement meaningless. Senior administration officials said Friday that Obama would be open to a U.N. resolution that omits the threat of military force for failing to abide by the agreement, largely because Russia, a permanent member of the council, would veto any measure that includes a military trigger. Russia has vetoed past attempts by the council to take action against Syria.
The administration officials said Obama retains the authority to launch a strike.
McCain and Graham also argued that Assad will use the time the agreement gives him to delay and deceive the world.
"It requires a willful suspension of disbelief to see this agreement as anything other than the start of a diplomatic blind alley, and the Obama administration is being led into it by Bashar Assad and (Russian President) Vladimir Putin," the senators said.
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California, who supported Obama, credited the president's "steadfast leadership" for "making significant progress in our efforts to prevent the use of weapons of mass destruction." She also credited Obama's "clear and credible" threats to use force against Syria for making the agreement possible.
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., said eliminating Syria's chemical weapons cache is a better outcome than just deterring and degrading Assad's ability to use them, which Obama had said was the goal of the limited military operation he envisioned.
"It is important for everyone, but especially for Syria and Russia, to keep in mind that as the president said, the United States remains prepared to act if Syria does not implement this agreement. Russia and Syria sought two things in any agreement: a promise on our part not to use military force, and an end to international support for the Syrian opposition. This agreement includes neither item," Levin said.
"Just as the credible threat of a strike against Syria's chemical capability made this framework agreement possible, we must maintain that credible threat to ensure that Assad fully complies with the agreement," he said.
Sen. Angus King of Maine, an independent who sits on both the Intelligence and Armed Services committees, voiced the sentiments of lawmakers in both houses when he said "a diplomatic solution to eliminate (Assad's) chemical weapons capabilities is preferable to a military one." King said he was encouraged by the development and looked forward to the process moving ahead.
McCain and Graham argued anew for more robust assistance from the Obama administration to opposition forces that have been fighting for more than two years to topple Assad. They said the deal doesn't do anything to solve a civil war that has killed more than 100,000 people and turned millions of Syrians into refugees.
"Is the message of this agreement that Assad is now our negotiating partner, and that he can go on slaughtering innocent civilians and destabilizing the Middle East using every tool of warfare, so long as he does not use chemical weapons?" they said. "That is morally and strategically indefensible."
We the people of World Community of Nations are totally amazed and disgusted at the attitude of the US Republicans and , Democrat Party’s Jewish activities that exposed the heinous hostile intent of its political motives against the US President and the Secretary of State. In addition, Israel fumed with fury because it was prepared to erase totally SYRIA, IRAN and the Muslim Brotherhood of EGYPT from the surface of the world map. Was it not true that their master of “WE JEWS CONTROL AMERICA” & AIPAC were anxiously waiting the time to strike?
Therefore, that Israel’s JEW Prime Minister could boldly declare WE JEWS NOW CONTROL Mid East also. In addition, because the US Secretary of State with Russian’s Foreign Minister doomed the desire of the Republicans and Democrat’s “We Jews Control America and AIPAC” , caused it to fume in anger on Secretary of State, the Russian Foreign Minister and both the Presidents of US and Russia. After all, why should they not be angry when Israel’s Mossad prepared the ground for the strike by killing the SYRIANS using chemical weapons that Israel possesses are similar to the chemical used in SYRIAN’s Chemical Weapons. That is the chemical experts could not ascertain the party pin pointedly as to who actually used the chemical weapons to kill.
It is therefore, World Community of Nations demanded that Israel must also be disarmed at the sametime, as Syrian is disarmed. If US is actually sympathetic to the loss of life, killed by chemical weapons then why disarm one country only why not the rest those countries that possess chemical weapons. What is the guarantee that the leftover countries would not use it? It has become a must that Israel must also surrender all his chemical Weapons to the UN as SYRIA AGREED IT must also agree immediately or else if anything untoward happens hen Israel would be held squarely responsible for it./
Would any super power give guarantee to this effect that those possessing Chemical Weapon would not use the Chemical weapons they possess and even if it is given who would believe in case of Israel the violator of International Laws. Particularly how can the World Community of Nations believe an original terrorist state killing human being on daily basis by bombing from land air and sea, over and above the used chemical bombs and committed genocide?
First, we request the UN Secretary General and all super powers to sit and consider if a state has already violated UN security council’s resolution’s for the last 67years, opening its trousers and exposing its private parts for the council that includes the Super Power's members to see telling them Israel care all balls about UN Security council Resolutions and International Law and their bloody members. Even after all these is it worth while believing Israel possessing all types of WMDS in tons, should per force believe it why, how and for what? In addition, immediately decide so that the World Community of Nation can finally realize the type of moral value the super powers have and that the world Community of Nations are safe under their umbrellas and take a decision to shift its position (if needed).