The Syrian Chemical Weapons Deal

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The fact that the Syrian regime had stocks of chemical weapons was never admitted to by Bashar Al-Assad until a deal was struck with the help of the Russians and more importantly, after the Americans openly threatened the use of power. Consequently, the international community in the aftermath of the use of these weapons by the Damascus regime in August 2013, has forced Assad and his government into joining the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) which is how the Geneva deal for dismantling the chemical weapons was initiated. After the first phase of dismantlement, nearly 4.1 percent of a 1,300 ton stockpile has been eliminated. This means that only 5 percent of the dismantling process has been accomplished. However, the Syrian regime has already missed the first deadline of December 31st which was scheduled to give up the most dangerous toxins as part of an ambitious plan requiring Syria to eliminate them by the end of June 2014. Moreover, the political atmosphere in the aftermath of the failure of the Geneva I and II negotiations has not encouraged optimism amongst political observers about the future of Syria’s chemical stockpiles. Therefore the current observations concerning the future of the Geneva negotiations along with the current status of the OPCW are debatable. Even the US and Russia as the main brokers of the Geneva deal have displayed divergent views in responding to Syria’s lack of progress . Whilst Washington stands against the Assad regime’s argument whereby Syria claims that volatile conditions of war on the ground are legitimate reasons for the delaying the second phase of the OPCW process, Moscow considers it to be a genuine reason. This first delay is displaying concern amongst IR experts and the international community as to the uncertain future of the civil war since it is closely associated with the regime’s military capabilities.

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