The deal that will supposedly disarm the Syrian army of its chemical weapons and leaves Bashar al-Assad in power to conduct it will inevitably strengthen his position, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen tells McClatchy in an exclusive interview. The process will take months, if not years, and depends on Assad both controlling the weapons and cooperating with the UN inspection regime for as long as it takes to complete:

The head of NATO said Wednesday that the U.S. threat of a military strike had forced Syria to agree to surrender its chemical weapons and the potential use of force must remain to help compel compliance with its agreement to disarm.

But he added that a United Nations inspection program to find, secure, and move or destroy Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile could help solidify President Bashar Assad’s grip on power because such a program would require his assistance and probably take many months to complete.

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