Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Subjecting Syria’s Chemical Weapons Stockpiles To International Control: A Fool’s Errand?

Despite Syrian strongman Bashar Al Assad now fully agreeing to surrender his military’s chemical weapons stockpiles to full international control, is the task making this possible nothing more than a fool’s errand? 

By: Ringo Bones 

Even though Syrian strongman Bashar Al Assad managed to reach a deal with both America and Russia without the Obama administration ever firing a single shot on surrendering his military’s chemical weapons stockpiles to international control, I, like many others, have doubts whether this can even be practically achieved within the mid 2014 deadline. There are a number of reasons on why this now looks more like the proverbial fool’s errand and quite a “Quixotic Task” for the international community to fully implement.
As respected international organizations not controlled by Russia shall now be designated to be in charge in putting the Syrian military’s chemical weapons stockpiles more or less under UN control, the difficulty of the complicated process of subjecting Assad’s chemical weapons stockpiles under international control and subsequent destruction by mid 2014 has yet to be fully discussed. After all, we all got to this point because Assad allegedly used his chemical weapons on Syrian civilians not loyal to him during their still on going civil war. 

The difficulty of controlling Assad’s chemical weapons centers upon the very fact that UN weapons inspectors are not UN Peacekeepers. They are primarily trained for chemical weapons detection and the supervision of their dismantling once declared – not as UN sanctioned global policemen in charge of peacekeeping via keeping warring factions from harming unarmed civilians / refugees.
Another “fly-in-the-ointment” about the Bashar Al Assad now agreeing to surrender his chemical weapons stockpiles in order to avoid an American lead military intervention is that the UN is utterly unsure about Assad’s honesty and sincerity in the declaration of all of his existing chemical weapons stockpiles for international inspection and subsequent destruction on the agreed timetable. This is where the agreed proposal of the US and Russia on what to do with Assad’s chemical weapons stockpiles devolves into a fool’s errand. 

And the on-going civil war in Syria where tens of thousands of unarmed civilians are already killed via conventional means and millions of refugees fleeing the fighting had now become a humanitarian concern for countries surrounding Syria. Imagine the difficulty of UN weapons inspectors dodging small-arms fire while trying to detect the barest of traces of the evidence of chemical weapons being used that will be used in a case for charging Syrian strongman Bashar Al Assad for war crimes in The Hague when the time comes.
As the UN weapons inspectors begins in Syria, the proverbial “boots on the ground” – more likely via US special forces operatives – will be a necessity to protect the UN weapons inspectors doing their work in the middle of Syria’s on going civil war. It might be either via UN Peacekeepers or a small cadre of US troops providing an escort role to insure safety of the weapons inspectors, but this might attract attacks from rebel factions of the Syrian civil war with ties to Al Qaeda further complicating the issue. If this doesn’t pass muster as a “fool’s errand”, I don’t know what does? 

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