Reports that the Syrian government would relinquish its chemical weapons to the international community helped push U.S. markets higher Tuesday morning.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) was up 82 points to 15,145 in early afternoon trading. The S&P 500 Index (GSPC) continued its upward swing and was on pace to close higher for the sixth consecutive day. Oil and gold prices fell on Tuesday, with U.S. crude down 2.71% and gold off 1.61%.
Syria's foreign minister Walid al-Moallem said his country would accept Russia’s proposal to turn over its stockpile of chemical weapons if it would "remove the grounds for American aggression," according to Reuters. The U.S. government accuses Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of killing more than 1,400 civilians with chemical weapons in an attack on Aug. 21. President al-Assad has denied involvement in the attack.
Congressional support for President Barack Obama’s military strike against Syria has dwindled; Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid postponed a procedural vote on the Syria authorization strike until after the president delivers his national address on the crisis tonight at 9pm ET.
Yahoo News political reporter Chris Moody tells The Daily Ticker that lawmakers are either “firmly against [a strike] or very hesitant…no one is excited to vote for war.”
A few days ago U.S. officials believed strikes would “be inevitable,” Moody notes, and now world leaders may have convinced the Syrian government to permanently hand over its weapons peacefully.
"This is kind of a cold war comedy playing out here," he says.
Intelligence officials estimate that Syria’s chemical arsenal is stored in 50 separate facilities and contains about 1,000 tons of mustard gas, sarin and VX nerve gas.
Military action may be permanently off the table after remarks by Secretary of State John Kerry. Speaking to reporters in London, Kerry said that “[al-Assad] could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week. Turn it over, all of it, without delay, and allow a full and total accounting for that.” The White House publicly embraced the idea hours after Kerry opened the door to a diplomatic solution, with deputy national security adviser Antony J. Blinken declaring “We would welcome a decision and action by Syria to give up its chemical weapons.”
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