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 »
SUFFOLK POLL
New Survey Shows Clinton Up 9 in Pennsylvania
3 hours ago
THE LATEST

If a new poll is to be believed, Hillary Clinton has a big lead in the all-important swing state of Pennsylvania. A new Suffolk University survey shows her ahead of Donald Trump, 50%-41%. In a four-way race, she maintains her nine-point lead, 46%-37%. "Pennsylvania has voted Democratic in the past six presidential elections, going back to Bill Clinton’s first win in 1992. Yet it is a rust belt state that could be in play, as indicated by recent general-election polling showing a close race."

Source:
$500 MILLION PROJECT
Obama Library Heading to Jackson Park in Chicago
3 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"President Barack Obama has chosen Jackson Park, a lakefront park that once hosted the world’s fair on the city’s South Side, for his $500 million presidential library, according to a person familiar with the matter."

Source:
THREE NIGHTS RUNNING
Democrats Beat Republicans in Convention Ratings So Far
3 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Wednesday was the third night in a row that the Democratic convention enjoyed a ratings win over the Republican convention last week. Which might have prompted a fundraising email from Donald Trump exhorting supporters not to watch. "Unless you want to be lied to, belittled, and attacked for your beliefs, don't watch Hillary's DNC speech tonight," the email read. "Instead, help Donald Trump hold her accountable, call out her lies and fight back against her nasty attacks."

Source:
THE QUESTION
How Many VIPs Were the Secret Service Protecting in Philly Last Night?
5 hours ago
THE ANSWER

Seven, according to an official Secret Service tweet.

Source:
‘MOGUL,’ ‘DAREDEVIL’
Candidates’ Code Names Revealed
5 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

The Clintons will retain their Secret Service "code names from the last time they lived in the White House. Hillary Clinton is EVERGREEN and Bill ClintonEAGLE. Donald Trump is MOGUL, according to reports, and Melania Trump MUSE. The vice presidents get code names, too: Mike Pence is HOOSIER—a little on the nose—and his wife HUMMINGBIRD. Tim Kaine is DAREDEVIL, somewhat ambitiously. His wife's? To be determined."

Source:
×