Because United Nations inspectors are only supposed to determine whether chemical weapons were deployed in Syria and not who deployed them, it was clear from the start that the argument would continue between Russia on one side and Washington, London and Paris on the other.

Of course, it is not irrelevant whether the Assad regime or rebels committed this taboo breach. The wording of the U.N. resolution is crucial to the progress of the Russian-American plan for the destruction of the chemical weapons.

Will it refer to Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter and thus sanctions in the event of noncompliance — military, in the most extreme case — or will Moscow only allow a nonbinding provision in order to protect Assad?

The answer to this question is the first crucial test of the value of the deal. France appears to have taken a harder position that America. That is a good thing. To be sure, President Hollande does not have the military lever in his hands. Obama does.