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What to do when the guy you want to get rid of suddenly starts cooperating

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, shakes hands with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the prime minister's office in Jerusalem, Israel, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013. (AP Photo/Larry Downing, Pool)

“I am confident that Assad’s days are numbered.”

The president has been saying that since the final presidential debate last year, but the countdown has been getting slower and slower.

Bashar al-Assad is like a serial killer who avoids the death sentence by offering to reveal where the rest of the bodies are buried. But thanks to his instinct for self-preservation, in just two weeks – we’ve gone from the president having his thumb on the red button, to a deal that, according to the Secretary of State, will not only rid Syria of chemical weapons, but could end the civil war.

“We could also lay the groundwork for further cooperation that is essential to end the bloodshed that has consumed Syria for more than two years,” said Secretary of State John Kerry

The Syrian rebels obviously don’t like this. They wanted us to come in and win. But we’ve just finished winning a couple of wars and we can’t really afford to win another one.

So the president’s military threat – half-hearted though it was – seems to have worked. Although there might also be another reason Russia and Syria were suddenly eager to cooperate with us.

Last week, Foreign Policy magazine disclosed that 30 years ago, U.S. satellites detected an Israeli chemical weapons program, which Israel has never owned up to.

The guessing in the Israeli press is that as part of the deal, the U.S. will be giving Israel a little nudge in the direction of making its chemical weapons disappear as well.

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