Syria Stops Removing Chemicals Amid Coastal Clashes

Global Security Newswire Staff
Add to Briefcase
Global Security Newswire Staff
April 4, 2014, 7:04 a.m.

Syr­ia’s gov­ern­ment has stopped trans­fer­ring chem­ic­al arms to a coastal pickup point, cit­ing threats from a nearby rebel in­cur­sion, Re­u­ters re­ports.

Ship­ments of war­fare chem­ic­als in­to Syr­ia’s Latakia province hal­ted after March 20, the United Na­tions in­dic­ated on Thursday. To ex­plain the stop­page, Syr­i­an Pres­id­ent Bashar As­sad’s re­gime ref­er­enced an op­pos­i­tion of­fens­ive launched around that time near the pro­vin­cial cap­it­al, where for­eign ves­sels are tak­ing the ma­ter­i­als for de­struc­tion out­side the war-dev­ast­ated na­tion.

As­sad’s chief U.N. del­eg­ate said the sus­pen­sion may force ad­di­tion­al lags in a sched­ule for re­lin­quish­ing the gov­ern­ment’s chem­ic­al stock­pile. Dam­as­cus agreed to sup­port the ar­sen­al’s dis­man­tle­ment after an Au­gust nerve-gas strike raised the pro­spect of for­eign mil­it­ary in­ter­ven­tion, and in­ter­na­tion­al au­thor­it­ies are push­ing to fully elim­in­ate the haz­ard­ous ma­ter­i­als by the end of June.

Speak­ing to journ­al­ists on Thursday, Syr­i­an Am­bas­sad­or Bashar Jaa­fari said dis­arm­a­ment ef­forts would fall fur­ther be­hind sched­ule “un­less the se­cur­ity situ­ation evolves in the right dir­ec­tion.”

U.N. spokes­man Far­han Haq, though, said over­seers pressed As­sad’s gov­ern­ment “to re­sume [chem­ic­al] move­ments as soon as pos­sible in or­der to meet the timelines.”

Sigrid Kaag, the in­ter­na­tion­al dis­arm­a­ment ef­fort’s spe­cial co­ordin­at­or, said Dam­as­cus earli­er this week com­mu­nic­ated an in­ten­tion to re­start ship­ments to the Latakia sea­port “in com­ing days,” ac­cord­ing to par­ti­cipants in a U.N. Se­cur­ity Coun­cil brief­ing on Thursday.

Kaag re­portedly said that if ship­ments re­star­ted right away, it would still be pos­sible to fin­ish re­mov­ing the chem­ic­als this month and fully elim­in­ate them by June. She ad­ded, though, that the sched­ule is grow­ing more daunt­ing, ac­cord­ing to in­siders.

Ship­ping out ma­ter­i­als now pack­aged at three sites would bring the por­tion of re­moved stocks to roughly 90 per­cent, en­voys quoted Kaag as say­ing.

Mean­while, rebels said As­sad’s forces on Thursday re­leased war­fare chem­ic­als on the Dam­as­cus sub­urb of Jobar, Re­u­ters re­por­ted sep­ar­ately. Earli­er this week, the gov­ern­ment said op­pos­i­tion forces in the neigh­bor­hood were plot­ting a chem­ic­al at­tack.

What We're Following See More »
AT ISSUE: BENEFITS FOR COAL MINERS
Manchin, Brown Holding Up Spending Bill
54 minutes ago
THE LATEST

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) are threatening to block the spending bill—and prevent the Senate from leaving town—"because it would not extend benefits for retired coal miners for a year or pay for their pension plans. The current version of the bill would extend health benefits for four months. ... Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Thursday afternoon moved to end debate on the continuing resolution to fund the government through April 28. But unless Senate Democrats relent, that vote cannot be held until Saturday at 1 a.m. at the earliest, one hour after the current funding measure expires."

Source:
PARLIAMENT VOTED 234-56
South Korean President Impeached
1 hours ago
THE LATEST

The South Korean parliament voted on Friday morning to impeach President Park Geun-hye over charges of corruption, claiming she allowed undue influence to a close confidante of hers. Ms. Park is now suspended as president for 180 days. South Korea's Constitutional Court will hear the case and decide whether to uphold or overturn the impeachment.

Source:
CLOSED FOR INAUGURAL ACTIVITIES
NPS: Women’s March Can’t Use Lincoln Memorial
1 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Participants in the women's march on Washington the day after inauguration won't have access to the Lincoln Memorial. The National Park Service has "filed documents securing large swaths of the national mall and Pennsylvania Avenue, the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial for the inauguration festivities. None of these spots will be open for protesters."

Source:
2.1 PERCENT IN 2017
President Obama Boosts Civilian Federal Pay
1 hours ago
THE LATEST

President Obama on Thursday announced a pay raise for civilian federal employees of 2.1 percent come January 2017. He had said multiple times this year that salaries would go up 1.6 percent, so the Thursday announcement came as a surprise. The change was likely made to match the 2.1 percent increase in salary that members of the military will receive.

Source:
SHUTDOWN LOOMING
House Approves Spending Bill
20 hours ago
BREAKING

The House has completed it's business for 2016 by passing a spending bill which will keep the government funded through April 28. The final vote tally was 326-96. The bill's standing in the Senate is a bit tenuous at the moment, as a trio of Democratic Senators have pledged to block the bill unless coal miners get a permanent extension on retirement and health benefits. The government runs out of money on Friday night.

×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login