Chemical Weapons Handover Seen Strengthening Assad

Keeps him in power, without a hammer over his head


WASHINGTON — A deal allowing Bashar Assad to surrender Syria's chemical weapons stockpiles runs the risk of extending his stay in power and undercutting support of rebels who have been fighting his regime with U.S. support, some analysts say.

"Assad is going to come out of this stronger," said Flynt Leverett, a former National Security Council official who is now a professor at Penn State.

Instead of an attack that could weaken Syria's military, particularly its ability to use chemical weapons, negotiations with Assad's government could strengthen the Syrian leader, Leverett and others say.