Friday, September 20, 2013

Blog 2: Syria's First Deadline on Chemical Weapons Pact

Summary:  Syria has met its first deadline on the chemical weapons pact proposed by Secretary of State John Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and United Nations officials last week.  The first deadline was met with an initial declaration of the chemical weapons possessed by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian government.  It is believed that the Syrian government has 1,000 tons of precursor chemicals and agents and at least forty-five sites associated with the chemical weapons program.  The framework of the pact laid out by Kerry, Lavrov, and UN officials requires Syria to disclose amounts and locations of all of its chemicals, the facilities used to produce them, and the locations in which they are stored.  The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons will do an inspection of Syria's arsenal by November, and the call for the destruction of all Syria's chemical weapons is set for 2014.  Thus far, Mr. Assad has been willing to cooperate with the demands of the UN and the OPCW.

Analysis:  Not everyone is convinced by President Assad's sudden willingness to cooperate over the chemical weapons possessed by his government.  Initial deadlines have been met, more have been laid out, and goals of destroying Syria's arsenal have been made.  Secretary of State Kerry, along with other officials, is not sure that the deadlines decided on will be met quickly enough.  He is pushing the United Nations Security Council to act sooner than previously agreed on.  He fears that without the remaining threat of force or military action, Assad will have the opportunity to deceive officials in charge of inspecting his arsenal and making sure he has disclosed all information linked to the production of chemical weapons.  It does seem hard to believe that someone who just recently carried out an attack on thousands of people is suddenly so willing to cooperate with terms laid out to destroy chemical weapons.  It seems to be a process that will be approached a step at a time for now as so many nations are now involved and hoping for a peaceful outcome.

Eva Holland
SOC 202-03

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