Egypt, Russia to Work Harder on Starting WMD-Free Zone Confab

Global Security Newswire Staff
See more stories about...
Global Security Newswire Staff
Sept. 17, 2013, 7:02 a.m.

Fol­low­ing Syr­ia’s prom­ise to give up its chem­ic­al weapons, Egypt and Rus­sia on Monday pledged to work harder to garner Middle East­ern sup­port for a con­fer­ence on es­tab­lish­ing a re­gion-wide ban against un­con­ven­tion­al weapons, IT­AR-Tass re­por­ted.

“We agreed [to] prac­tic­al steps to in­vig­or­ate the pre­par­a­tion of this im­port­ant event, es­pe­cially against the back­ground of the Syr­i­an lead­er­ship’s de­cision to join the Chem­ic­al Weapons Con­ven­tion,” Rus­si­an For­eign Min­is­ter Sergei Lav­rov said after meet­ing with his Egyp­tian coun­ter­part, Nab­il Fahmy.

Syr­ia’s will­ing­ness to go along with WMD-free zone talks is ex­pec­ted to have re­per­cus­sions on oth­er re­gion­al states thought to pos­sess un­con­ven­tion­al weapons. Syr­ia has a siz­able chem­ic­al-weapons ar­sen­al and a sus­pec­ted bio­lo­gic­al weapons pro­gram.

In­ter­na­tion­al ef­forts in late 2012 to con­vene a U.N.-backed con­fer­ence on ne­go­ti­at­ing a weapons-of-mass-de­struc­tion-free zone for the whole Middle East fell apart after Is­rael would not con­firm its par­ti­cip­a­tion in the event. As Is­rael is widely seen as hold­ing the re­gion’s sole nuc­le­ar ar­sen­al, the Jew­ish state’s in­volve­ment in the con­fer­ence is seen is as es­sen­tial for it to be a suc­cess.

Wash­ing­ton sup­ports Is­rael’s po­s­i­tion that a re­gion­al pro­hib­i­tion on weapons of mass de­struc­tion is not real­ist­ic if there is no all-en­com­passing Ar­ab-Is­raeli peace deal and if Ir­an main­tains its en­rich­ment of urani­um and oth­er nuc­le­ar-weapon-re­lated activ­it­ies.

In­ter­na­tion­al at­ten­tion on Syr­ia’s chem­ic­al ar­sen­al also has meant that some of the spot­light also is on Is­rael’s own sus­pec­ted chem­ic­al-weapon cap­ab­il­it­ies. Is­rael has signed but not rat­i­fied the CWC ac­cord, the As­so­ci­ated Press re­por­ted.

One­time Is­raeli De­fense Min­is­ter Amir Peretz in a Monday ra­dio in­ter­view would not dis­cuss ques­tions about his na­tion’s sus­pec­ted chem­ic­al ar­sen­al. “It’s clear to every­one that [Is­rael] is a demo­crat­ic, re­spons­ible re­gime,” he said. “I very much hope and am cer­tain that the in­ter­na­tion­al com­munity will not make this a cent­ral ques­tion and we will main­tain the status quo.”

Is­raeli For­eign Min­istry spokes­man Paul Hirschson said his gov­ern­ment could not rat­i­fy the CWC pact in the present se­cur­ity cir­cum­stances.

What We're Following See More »
STAFF PICKS
These (Supposed) Iowa and NH Escorts Tell All
4 hours ago
NATIONAL JOURNAL AFTER DARK

Before we get to the specifics of this exposé about escorts working the Iowa and New Hampshire primary crowds, let’s get three things out of the way: 1.) It’s from Cosmopolitan; 2.) most of the women quoted use fake (if colorful) names; and 3.) again, it’s from Cosmopolitan. That said, here’s what we learned:

  • Business was booming: one escort who says she typically gets two inquiries a weekend got 15 requests in the pre-primary weekend.
  • Their primary season clientele is a bit older than normal—”40s through mid-60s, compared with mostly twentysomething regulars” and “they’ve clearly done this before.”
  • They seemed more nervous than other clients, because “the stakes are higher when you’re working for a possible future president” but “all practiced impeccable manners.”
  • One escort “typically enjoy[s] the company of Democrats more, just because I feel like our views line up a lot more.”
Source:
STATE VS. FEDERAL
Restoring Some Sanity to Encryption
4 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

No matter where you stand on mandating companies to include a backdoor in encryption technologies, it doesn’t make sense to allow that decision to be made on a state level. “The problem with state-level legislation of this nature is that it manages to be both wildly impractical and entirely unenforceable,” writes Brian Barrett at Wired. There is a solution to this problem. “California Congressman Ted Lieu has introduced the ‘Ensuring National Constitutional Rights for Your Private Telecommunications Act of 2016,’ which we’ll call ENCRYPT. It’s a short, straightforward bill with a simple aim: to preempt states from attempting to implement their own anti-encryption policies at a state level.”

Source:
STAFF PICKS
What the Current Crop of Candidates Could Learn from JFK
4 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”

Source:
STAFF PICKS
Hillary Is Running Against the Bill of 1992
4 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

The New Covenant. The Third Way. The Democratic Leadership Council style. Call it what you will, but whatever centrist triangulation Bill Clinton embraced in 1992, Hillary Clinton wants no part of it in 2016. Writing for Bloomberg, Sasha Issenberg and Margaret Talev explore how Hillary’s campaign has “diverged pointedly” from what made Bill so successful: “For Hillary to survive, Clintonism had to die.” Bill’s positions in 1992—from capital punishment to free trade—“represented a carefully calibrated diversion from the liberal orthodoxy of the previous decade.” But in New Hampshire, Hillary “worked to juggle nostalgia for past Clinton primary campaigns in the state with the fact that the Bill of 1992 or the Hillary of 2008 would likely be a marginal figure within today’s Democratic politics.”

Source:
STAFF PICKS
Trevor Noah Needs to Find His Voice. And Fast.
5 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

At first, “it was pleasant” to see Trevor Noah “smiling away and deeply dimpling in the Stewart seat, the seat that had lately grown gray hairs,” writes The Atlantic‘s James Parker in assessing the new host of the once-indispensable Daily Show. But where Jon Stewart was a heavyweight, Noah is “a very able lightweight, [who] needs time too. But he won’t get any. As a culture, we’re not about to nurture this talent, to give it room to grow. Our patience was exhausted long ago, by some other guy. We’re going to pass judgment and move on. There’s a reason Simon Cowell is so rich. Impress us today or get thee hence. So it comes to this: It’s now or never, Trevor.”

Source:
×