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Chemical Weapons Watchdog Wins the Nobel Peace Prize

By Dashiell Bennett

Atlantic Wire

Ahmet Üzümcü, director general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, on Wednesday briefs journalists in The Hague, Netherlands, on the progression in the disarmament of Syria's chemical arsenal and facilities. The organization has been named the recipient of the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize (Martijn Beekman/AFP/Getty Images). Ahmet Üzümcü, director general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, on Wednesday briefs journalists in The Hague, Netherlands, on the progression in the disarmament of Syria's chemical arsenal and facilities. The organization has been named the recipient of the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize (Martijn Beekman/AFP/Getty Images).

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has been named the recipient of the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.

For the second year in a row, the name of the winner was leaked early. Norwegian broadcaster NRK reported early on Friday morning that this year's award would go to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, defying odd-makers who had predicted that it would go to Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai. NRK correctly the predicted that the European Union would win last year's prize, despite the highly secretive nature of the committee's work.

The OPCW is tasked with destroying the chemical weapons that belong to Syria, but as many people were quick to point out, they haven't actually accomplished that task yet. (However, the Nobel spokespeople insisted that the award was given for their overall body of work, not what they've done in Syria.) Others have also noted the irony that OPCW has won the award in 2013, the first year in decades that chemical weapons were deployed in battle on a large scale. The committee itself even pointed out that the United States and Russia have yet not destroyed all of their own chemical weapons, despite signing the treaty that created the OPCW and demanded that countries disarm.

It seems that once again, the Nobel committee (despite their official stance stating otherwise) decided to use the award as a symbolic gesture and a hopeful reminder of what needs to be done, as much as a recognition of past achievements.

Here are the names of all the other Nobel winners, announced earlier this week. A list of all previous Peace Prize winners can be found here.

Monday, October 7
Physiology or Medicine: James E. Rothman, Randy W. Schekman, and Thomas C. Südhof

Tuesday, October 8
Physics: François Englert and Peter Higgs

Wednesday, October 9
Chemistry:  Martin Karplus, Michael Levitt, and Arieh Warshel

Thursday, October 10
Literature: Alice Munro

Friday, October 11
Peace: Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)

Monday, October 14
Economic Sciences: 1:00 p.m. CET at the earliest (7:00 a.m. EDT)

Reprinted with permission from the Atlantic Wire. The original story can be found here.

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NTI Analysis

  • Disarming Syria of Its Chemical Weapons: Lessons Learned from Iraq and Libya

    Oct. 31, 2013

    This CNS issue brief examines the lessons learned from dismantling Libya and Iraq's chemical weapons programs and what these two cases presage for disarmament in Syria. In particular, this article explores the challenges relating to ensuring material and physical security for both inspectors and the chemical weapons stockpile itself; verifying the accuracy and completeness of disclosed inventories; and developing effective monitoring and verification regimes for the long-term. The conclusion examines recommendations stemming from this analysis.

Country Profile

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Syria

This article provides an overview of Syria's historical and current policies relating to nuclear, chemical, biological and missile proliferation.

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