Global Security Newswire
Daily News on Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Weapons, Terrorism and Related Issues
Western Intel: Syria Can Still Field Chemical Weapons
Envoys said Western intelligence points to a strong likelihood that Syria's regime remains capable of fielding chemical arms, Reuters reports.
Findings by France, the United Kingdom and the United States signal a deepening Western belief that Damascus has not fully abided by its commitment on eliminating its chemical arsenal, the news agency reported on Friday. President Bashar Assad's government pledged to surrender all of its chemical arms amid foreign military threats over an August sarin nerve-agent strike on land controlled by civil-war opponents.
One Western insider referenced a number of concerns, including the disappearance of a significant quantity of sarin ingredients, as well as the Syrian government's unconfirmed assertions that it eliminated a majority of its mustard blister agent prior to the arrival of an inspection team formed by the United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. The international team said 7.5 percent of the regime's declared warfare stocks were still in the violence-torn country on Sunday, a previously established objective date for their full removal, the New York Times reported.
A high-level Western envoy added that London, Paris and Washington had months earlier supplied OPCW officials with indications of possible clandestine chemical-arms sites controlled by Syria's government, according to Reuters.
Russia, an ally of Assad, provided no response after receiving the findings, the source said. However, the Russian foreign ministry said groups accusing Damascus of recent chemical-arms use are seeking "a pretext for an armed intervention," Interfax reported on Friday.
Sigrid Kaag, the international disarmament operation's special coordinator, said looking into the alleged chlorine attacks does not fall within her mission's purview, according to a U.N. statement. Still, Western powers are expected to seek the U.N.-OPCW effort's continuation after Syria sends out its final declared chemical stocks, Reuters reported.
Meanwhile, the 41-nation OPCW governing board plans on Tuesday to address a dispute over plans for destroying Syria's 12 declared chemical-arms facilities, the Times reported.
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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.
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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.