Damascus Files Initial Chemical-Arms Disclosure

Global Security Newswire Staff
See more stories about...
Global Security Newswire Staff
Sept. 20, 2013, 9:02 a.m.

Syr­ia’s gov­ern­ment has filed its first chem­ic­al-arms dis­clos­ure as a mem­ber of an in­ter­na­tion­al re­gime seek­ing the glob­al elim­in­a­tion of tox­ic-war­fare sub­stances, a mul­ti­lat­er­al en­force­ment body said on Fri­day.

The Or­gan­iz­a­tion for the Pro­hib­i­tion of Chem­ic­al Weapons said its tech­nic­al ex­perts were re­view­ing the data provided by Dam­as­cus. “We have re­ceived part of the veri­fic­a­tion and we ex­pect more,” Re­u­ters on Fri­day quoted an OP­CW spokes­man as say­ing. An uniden­ti­fied U.N. dip­lo­mat ad­ded that the doc­u­ment­a­tion is “quite long … and be­ing trans­lated.”

The group sep­ar­ately an­nounced a delay to a planned meet­ing of the 41-na­tion OP­CW Ex­ec­ut­ive Coun­cil. The gath­er­ing — pre­vi­ously slated for Sunday — was to con­fer on a fleshed-out plan for veri­fy­ing Syr­ia’s de­clared chem­ic­al-war­fare stocks.

The White House on Thursday at­temp­ted to shore up pres­sure on the Syr­i­an gov­ern­ment to turn over de­tails this week on its chem­ic­al ar­sen­al, the first in a series of re­cently ne­go­ti­ated steps to­ward des­troy­ing the arms and avert­ing U.S. mil­it­ary strikes against the re­gime. The ad­mon­ish­ment fol­lowed sig­nals from Wash­ing­ton that the cutoff date had be­come less firm.

The United States ex­pects Bashar As­sad’s gov­ern­ment to “abide by the timeline in the frame­work” that Wash­ing­ton hammered out with Mo­scow last week, “and for Rus­sia to hold the As­sad re­gime to ac­count,” White House spokes­man Jay Car­ney told re­port­ers. “We will eval­u­ate Syr­ia’s ser­i­ous­ness about com­pli­ance based on a vari­ety of bench­marks, and the first one is this sev­en-day dead­line.”

Rus­si­an Pres­id­ent Vladi­mir Putin on Thursday said Dam­as­cus so far ap­pears to have “com­pletely agreed with our plan,” the Los Angeles Times re­por­ted. “But I can’t say wheth­er we will man­age to com­plete the pro­cess by 100 per­cent.”

The As­sad re­gime’s Fri­day chem­ic­al-weapons fil­ing came days after OP­CW of­fi­cials con­firmed the gov­ern­ment’s ac­ces­sion to the Chem­ic­al Weapons Con­ven­tion, which is set to enter in­to force for Dam­as­cus on Oct. 14.

A Syr­i­an gov­ern­ment dip­lo­mat in an in­ter­view floated a po­ten­tial cease-fire with As­sad’s op­pon­ents, the Lon­don Guard­i­an re­por­ted on Thursday. A West­ern-backed op­pos­i­tion group, though, on Fri­day said the pro­pos­al lacked cred­ib­il­ity and had to be backed by a “com­pre­hens­ive peace plan,” CBS News re­por­ted.

Mean­while, U.S. Sec­ret­ary of State John Kerry on Thursday said the U.N. Se­cur­ity Coun­cil “must be pre­pared to act next week” on a res­ol­u­tion to back the U.S.-Rus­si­an frame­work.

“We have to re­cog­nize that the world is watch­ing to see wheth­er we can avert mil­it­ary ac­tion and achieve, through peace­ful means, even more than what those mil­it­ary strikes prom­ised,” he said in a Thursday state­ment to re­port­ers.

Kerry played down ques­tions raised by Rus­sia over the cred­ib­il­ity of a re­cently re­leased U.N. in­vest­ig­a­tion in­to al­leg­a­tions of chem­ic­al strikes in the coun­try. The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion and a num­ber of in­de­pend­ent ana­lysts have said the find­ings strongly sug­gest As­sad’s forces had car­ried out an Aug. 21 sar­in nerve agent strike in the sub­urbs of Dam­as­cus, but Mo­scow has joined the Syr­i­an gov­ern­ment in at­trib­ut­ing the in­cid­ent to op­pos­i­tion fight­ers.

“We really don’t have time today to pre­tend that any­one can have their own set of facts ap­proach­ing the is­sue of chem­ic­al weapons in Syr­ia,” Kerry said. “For many weeks, we heard from Rus­sia and from oth­ers, ‘Wait for the U.N. re­port. Those are the out­side ex­perts.’ That’s a quote.”

To have car­ried out the at­tack, rebels would have had to “secretly [gone] un­noticed in­to ter­rit­ory they don’t con­trol to fire rock­ets they don’t have con­tain­ing sar­in that they don’t pos­sess to kill their own people,” he said. “Then without even be­ing no­ticed,” the op­pos­i­tion forces would have had to dis­mantle the equip­ment and leave “the cen­ter of Dam­as­cus, con­trolled by As­sad.”

What We're Following See More »
BRIEFER THAN TRUMP’S?
Clinton to Receive Classified Briefing on Saturday
1 hours ago
THE DETAILS
FHFA RULES APPLY
Judge: Freddie Mac Doesn’t Have to Open Its Books
3 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"Freddie Mac shareholders cannot force the mortgage finance company to allow them to inspect its records, a federal court ruled Tuesday." A shareholder had asked the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia to allow him to inspect its books and records, as Virginia law allows him to do. "The court held that Freddie shareholders no longer possess a right to inspect the company’s records because those rights had been transferred to the Federal Housing Finance Agency when the company entered into conservatorship in 2008."

Source:
MANY BEING TRADED ON BLACK MARKET
Pentagon Can’t Account for 750k Guns Provided to Iraq, Afghanistan
3 hours ago
THE DETAILS

The Pentagon has "provided more than 1.45 million firearms to various security forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, including more than 978,000 assault rifles, 266,000 pistols and almost 112,000 machine guns." Trouble is, it can only account for about 700,000 of those guns. The rest are part of a vast arms trading network in the Middle East. "Taken together, the weapons were part of a vast and sometimes minimally supervised flow of arms from a superpower to armies and militias often compromised by poor training, desertion, corruption and patterns of human rights abuses."

Source:
SINCE JANUARY
Baltimore Is Spying on Its Residents from the Air
6 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

"Since the beginning of the year, the Baltimore Police Department" has been using a Cessna airplane armed with sophisticated camera equipment "to investigate all sorts of crimes, from property thefts to shootings." The public hasn't been notified about the system, funded by a private citizen.

Source:
COST HAS RISEN 400%
EpiPen Prices Draw Scrutiny from Congress
7 hours ago
THE DETAILS

The cost of EpiPens have risen 400% since 2007, and members of Congress increasingly want to know why. Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA) sent a letter to Mylan, which makes the allergy injection devices, on Monday. “Many of the children who are prescribed EpiPens are covered by Medicaid, and therefore, the taxpayers are picking up the tab for this medication," he wrote. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) "called earlier for a Judiciary Committee inquiry into the pricing and an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission."

Source:
×