Ya think? Five years after the Nobel committee granted the OPCW its Peace prize for certifying the elimination Syria’s chemical warfare munitions, the head of the organization that bought Bashar al-Assad’s claim has had second thoughts. Maybe, just maybe, all the dead bodies in Syria with chemical-weapons traces in them means Assad might have lied after all.
The head of the world’s chemical weapons watchdog has questioned whether Syrian President Bashar al-Assad declared his entire arsenal.
Ahmet Uzumcu, director general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), highlighted that attacks involving chlorine barrel bombs and deadly nerve agent sarin have continued despite the landmark agreement that won the group a Nobel Peace Prize in 2013.
Syrian “authorities have to explain in a plausible, technically plausible manner why the samples collected by our experts did prove the existence of certain chemicals which were never declared,” Uzumcu said in an interview with NBC News. “So they should explain why those chemicals were present in such places.”
Here’s an explanation: you got played. Uzumcu and his organization aren’t the only ones who got played, of course. Barack Obama and John Kerry got played too, by both Assad and Vladimir Putin, after having punted the chemical-weapons issue to Russia. Putin took the opportunity to stick his fingers into Syria to protect his client in Damascus and his client in Tehran. Russia guaranteed Assad’s disarmament on chemical weapons, but has been largely silent as Assad’s army keeps killing civilians with chemical weapons Russia insisted they’d turned over or destroyed.
Uzumcu has some explanations to make of his own. How exactly did the OPCW come to their original conclusion that Assad had gotten rid of his chemical weapons? Did they do inspections in all places where those weapons were suspected of being stored, or only in the places Assad and Putin allowed them to search? Or did they mainly rely on self-reporting from Assad and assurances from Moscow?
According to the 2013 report that got the OPCW its Nobel Peace Prize, it seems to be a mix of both. Assad declared 23 sites, and the OPCW had Assad’s forces carry GPS cameras out to them to declare those sites empty and unusable. As for their stores of chemical weapons, the report notes that “on 18 November 2013, the Syrian Arab Republic informed the Secretariat that it had destroyed all declared items of Category 3 chemical weapons.” It notes neither how the OPCW verified that this destruction actually took place nor how the OPCW confirmed that Syria had actually declared their entire stores of chemical weapons.
And now they’re using these supposedly destroyed weapons in the battlefield. Go. Figure.
So what’s next? Should the UN step in? That’s a brilliant idea, actually. Their associated unofficial standing committee on disarmament should be up to the task, being now led by, er …
Members of the UN have expressed dismay over Syria becoming president of the Conference on Disarmament (CD) in Geneva.
The move comes just weeks after the latest reported chemical weapons attack, in which the Syrian authorities are widely believed to have used chemical agents against civilians. …
So is this is a public relations disaster for the United Nations? A sign the body is dysfunctional? UN officials have been wearily pointing out that the rotating presidency system was devised by member states, primarily to prevent more powerful countries constantly jockeying for position.
Syria takes over from Switzerland simply because it follows Switzerland in the alphabetical list of member states.
It’s all checkboxes down the line. It’s a joke. For that matter, so is the OPCW and the Nobel committee, too. They’re not as interested in actual peace and results as they are in posturing over it. The point was to give cover to the US retreat on the chemical weapons issue, just as the 2009 Nobel prize award to Obama was meant as political cover for a pullback on American leadership in global affairs.
How’s that working out for the world? Go. Figure.