OPCW Drafts Plan to Check Syrian Chemical-Warfare Stocks

Global Security Newswire Staff
See more stories about...
Global Security Newswire Staff
Sept. 17, 2013, 9:02 a.m.

An in­ter­na­tion­al chem­ic­al-arms-con­trol or­gan­iz­a­tion on Monday said it was draft­ing plans for its per­son­nel to con­duct in-per­son checks of Syr­ia’s chem­ic­al-war­fare as­sets amid the na­tion’s ra­ging civil war.

Syr­i­an Pres­id­ent Bashar As­sad’s gov­ern­ment is re­quired to fully de­clare by Fri­day its chem­ic­al-weapons hold­ings, as dic­tated by a U.S.-Rus­sia agree­ment for in­ter­na­tion­al mon­it­or­ing and elim­in­a­tion of the Syr­i­an ar­sen­al. That plan, ne­go­ti­ated last week, de­mands “a com­pre­hens­ive list­ing, in­clud­ing names, types, and quant­it­ies of its chem­ic­al weapons agents, types of mu­ni­tions, and loc­a­tion and form of stor­age, pro­duc­tion, and re­search and de­vel­op­ment fa­cil­it­ies.”

“Our ex­perts will veri­fy the ac­cur­acy of this dis­clos­ure with on-site in­spec­tions, and will also as­sist in put­ting in­to place ar­range­ments to keep the war­fare ma­ter­i­als and the rel­ev­ant fa­cil­it­ies se­cure un­til their de­struc­tion,” the Or­gan­iz­a­tion for the Pro­hib­i­tion of Chem­ic­al Weapons said in a state­ment. The group said that the Chem­ic­al Weapons Con­ven­tion — the treaty it is charged with en­for­cing — would take ef­fect on Oct. 14 for the gov­ern­ment in Dam­as­cus.

The 41-na­tion OP­CW Ex­ec­ut­ive Coun­cil “is ex­pec­ted to meet soon” to con­fer on a fleshed-out plan for veri­fy­ing the de­clared stocks, the press re­lease says. The ma­ter­i­als might be dis­persed across up to 80 loc­a­tions across Syr­ia, the Wall Street Journ­al re­por­ted last week.

The White House on Monday au­thor­ized de­liv­er­ies of chem­ic­al-weapon pro­tect­ive gear to OP­CW per­son­nel, as well as sup­plies of re­lated treat­ments and de­fenses to Syr­i­an med­ic­al per­son­nel and “vet­ted” op­pos­i­tion forces.

Brit­ish For­eign Sec­ret­ary Wil­li­am Hag­ue said he wants the OP­CW body to de­cide on a plan be­fore “the end of the week,” the Lon­don Tele­graph re­por­ted on Tues­day.

“We’ll then be work­ing on agree­ing a Se­cur­ity Coun­cil res­ol­u­tion over the week­end” to back up the OP­CW blue­print, Hag­ue said. “Of course, those timetables might slip but we’re look­ing at days, not weeks.”

Rus­sia’s top dip­lo­mat on Tues­day sug­ges­ted his coun­try might later con­sider al­low­ing the U.N. Se­cur­ity Coun­cil to en­dorse a mil­it­ary re­sponse to po­ten­tial mis­steps by As­sad’s gov­ern­ment, the As­so­ci­ated Press re­por­ted. However, Mo­scow has op­posed in­clud­ing a threat of armed force in the ini­tial meas­ure planned by the 15-coun­try body.

Mean­while, a U.N. task force will re­turn to Syr­ia “as soon as pos­sible” to com­plete a fi­nal re­port on claims of chem­ic­al-weapon use in the coun­try, U.N. Sec­ret­ary Gen­er­al Ban Ki-moon told re­port­ers on Monday. The team’s ini­tial find­ings — made pub­lic the same day — de­scribe strong evid­ence that a sar­in nerve agent strike took place on Aug. 21 in the sub­urbs of Dam­as­cus.

Asked if he had used the re­port to as­sign blame for the strike, the U.N. chief said “it is for oth­ers to de­cide wheth­er to … de­term­ine re­spons­ib­il­ity.”

France, the United States and mul­tiple in­de­pend­ent ana­lysts de­scribed the U.N. find­ings as strong in­dic­at­ors that As­sad’s re­gime had or­ches­trated the Aug. 21 at­tack, For­eign Policy magazine re­por­ted on Monday. Wash­ing­ton has as­sessed the in­cid­ent to have killed more than 1,400 people, and has cited it as the basis for pos­sible mil­it­ary strikes against Syr­i­an gov­ern­ment tar­gets.

Rus­sia’s en­voy to the United Na­tions, though, said West­ern powers had “jumped to their con­clu­sions” about the U.N. find­ings.

Mo­scow has in­sisted that res­ist­ance fight­ers have been re­spons­ible for chem­ic­al strikes in Syr­ia, but Hag­ue mocked that stance. “Even the Rus­si­ans are not dis­cuss­ing the de­clar­a­tion and de­struc­tion of op­pos­i­tion-held chem­ic­al weapons be­cause even they don’t think they really ex­ist,” the Tele­graph quoted him as say­ing.

What We're Following See More »
WILL ANNOUNCE PICK BEFORE CONVENTION
Trump to Name VP Search Committee
37 minutes ago
THE LATEST

"Donald J. Trump said on Wednesday that he expected to reveal his vice presidential pick sometime in July—before the Republican National Convention in Cleveland—but added that he would soon announce a committee to handle the selection process, which would include Dr. Ben Carson." He said he's inclined to name a traditional political figure, unlike himself.

Source:
AFFECTS WORKERS EARNING MORE THAN $50K
Business, Nonprofits Panicking Over Labor’s New Overtime Rules
40 minutes ago
THE LATEST

"Groups have flocked to the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs to ask for last-minute changes" to the Department of Labor's new overtime rules, which would require that businesses pay overtime to any salaried employee making more than $50,440 per year, up from the current $23,660. Business interests, as well as some nonprofits, say the move could lead to mass change in workers' statuses, from salaried to hourly. "The White House office held 22 meetings on the proposal in April, according to its calendar, and groups say more meetings are planned this week." Last month, National Journal's Alex Brown reported on how the change might affect Washington.

Source:
KAUFMAN, HUNTSMAN ALSO MAY JUMP ON BOARD
Ed Rollins Joins Pro-Trump Super PAC
45 minutes ago
THE LATEST

Republican gun-for-hire Ed Rollins is hopping on the bandwagon, er, the Great America PAC, "an outside group that’s supporting Trump. ... Rollins isn’t the only GOP mainstay coming around to Trump. In recent days, Republican veterans including Republican National Committeeman Ron Kaufman and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman have expressed an openness to him."

Source:
PRESSER IN OHIO THIS AFTERNOON
Report: Kasich Is Bowing Out
1 hours ago
THE LATEST

John Kasich is apparently the last domino to fall on the GOP side. NBC is reporting he's suspending his presidential campaign. His path to the Republican nomination seemed all but impossible—even at a contested convention—but he may have finally given up. The Washington Examiner reports Kasich has canceled a press conference at Dulles Airport, "and will instead hold one in Columbus, Ohio, at 5 p.m."

Source:
CNN/ORC
Clinton Ahead by 13 in Early Going
2 hours ago
THE LATEST

"As Donald Trump captures the mantle of presumptive Republican nominee, a new poll finds he begins his general election campaign well behind Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton. The new CNN/ORC Poll, completed ahead of Trump's victory last night, found Clinton leads 54% to 41%, a 13-point edge over the New York businessman, her largest lead since last July. Clinton is also more trusted than Trump on many issues voters rank as critically important, with one big exception. By a 50% to 45% margin, voters say Trump would do a better job handling the economy than Clinton would."

Source:
×