Monday, September 16, 2013

Unresolved Issues -- And Missing References To Syria's Biological Weapons -- Remain in US-Russia Agreement

Until all the loose ends involved in the US - Russia agreement on Syria are tied up and resolved, there are still questions that remain.

On the one hand, ABC News points out that there are still unresolved issues on the US-Russia Agreement on Syria Weapons:
  • There is not yet any indication that the Assad government will agree to the agreement, which contains requirements not found in the normal criteria listed in the Chemical Weapons Convention Syria agreed to join under pressure from Moscow.

  • While the US and Russia agree Syria has about 1,000 metric tons of chemical weapons and precursors, there is no agreement on the number of sites where they are manufactured and stored -- the Russian estimate is considerably lower than that of the US.

  • The details about the composition of the inspection teams and their security must still be worked out, since The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, has never carried out an operation this complex.

  • There has been no agreement on the penalties for Syrian noncompliance, which will be left up to the Security Council. Russia has insisted that any allegation of noncompliance must first be thoroughly investigated before the council can take action, allowing them to drag out the process or veto measures it deems too harsh.
Putin is still in control and can stall or veto any consequences Assad incurs
for failure to keep his end of the bargain. Credit: Wiki Commons

More importantly, Times of Israel notes that Assad’s biological weapons absent from US-Russia deal:
Syrian President Bashar Assad has two biological weapons bases, developing anthrax and other devastating biological agents, and yet the US-Russia deal aimed at stripping his regime of chemical weapons makes no provisions for his biological weapons capability, Israeli TV reported Sunday night.

...On Friday, Sen. John Cornyn (R., Texas) wrote to President Barack Obama to warn that “omitting Assad’s bioweapons from any agreement would represent a gaping hole in the plan.” Such weaponry, in the hands of Assad or his allies, wrote Cornyn, “represent a direct security threat” to the US and its allies. If Hezbollah and other terror groups got hold of this materiel, he warned, “this would be a direct threat to the United States and our allies, particularly Israel.”

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