Global Security Newswire
Daily News on Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Weapons, Terrorism and Related Issues
Security, Environmental Concerns Surface on Syrian Chemicals Plan
A U.S. plan to neutralize Syrian chemical-warfare materials at sea is raising security and environmental concerns, the Washington Times reported on Tuesday.
The United States last week unveiled a proposal to chemically eliminate "hundreds of tons" of Syrian chemical-arms ingredients in the Mediterranean Sea, using destruction gear placed on one of its transport vessels. Syrian President Bashar Assad admitted to stockpiling chemical arms and assented to their destruction after an August nerve-gas attack raised the possibility of U.S. military intervention against his regime.
The Pentagon has said an at-sea destruction effort would pose little danger to people or the environment. But former U.N. biological-weapons auditor Raymond Zilinskas said there has been no formal threat evaluation for the proposal.
"We're all guessing" about its safety, he said. "You don’t know if there could be an accident and how you would handle it."
In addition, the chemical-weapons assets still face a potentially perilous transfer through areas contested in Syria's bloody civil war.
"The probability that rebels are going to attack is very high," Richard Lloyd, a Tesla Laboratories warhead specialist. "They want to get their hands on them."
After arriving in the coastal city of Latakia, the chemicals would be loaded on foreign ships for delivery to the U.S. chemical-destruction vessel at another country's seaport.
No country has yet agreed to temporarily host the materials as they are transferred from cargo ships to the MV Cape Ray, but Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic on Tuesday said his country might accept the duty, the Associated Press reported.
Milanovic warned, though, that the people of his country must first weigh in on the potential role.
"We can take part in the noble project, or we don't have to," he said. "But the Croatian public has to know what it's all about."
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The UNSCR 1540 Resource Collection examines implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540, which requires all states to implement measures aimed at preventing non-state actors from acquiring NBC weapons, related materials, and their means of delivery. It details implementation efforts in all of the regions and countries of the world to-date.
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.
This article provides an overview of Syria's historical and current policies relating to nuclear, chemical, biological and missile proliferation.