The Syrian Framework Agreement | Charles Duelfer

The Syrian Framework Agreement

The Framework agreement and its two annexes get many things right. The burden of proof and all the heavy lifting are on Syria. The UN weapons inspectors are meant to verify Syrian declarations, direct the aggregation and ultimate disposal of the CW inventory and infrastructure. There is a timeline that is short, but possible.

Very interesting is the statement that Russian and American intelligence assessments of Syrian CW are now similar. That means once Syria declares their inventory (in days), there US and Russia will be able to judge if Damascus is being forthcoming.

Muddying the waters are two things. One is the question of who is in charge of the inspections. The Framework agreement is unclear (to put it mildly) on the roles of: a) the Organization for the Prevention fo Chemical Weapons (OPCW) which implements the Chemical Weapons Convention; b) a special Syrian specific UN group (not defined), and c) direct roles for US and Russian experts. While the timelines for Syria actions are tight, a problem may emerge if the UN cannot clearly define who is doing what on the inspector side. Who will be in charge? The Russians probably are arguing to make this as similar to a normal CWC party accession as possible. However, the US probably wants a special group. If for no other reason than it distinguishes it from the Israel position.

This points to another potential problem. Secretary Kerry went to Israel for consultations immediately after this Syrian agreement. That will have the effect of highlighting the fact that Israel has not ratified the CWC and will potentially open the opportunity for Bashir al-Assad to divert attention from himself to Israel and its WMD position. This could muddy the waters considerably. What had been a narrowly defined clear objective of addressing Syrian CW could turn into a mess of competing objectives. This could rear foot the White House again. Especially, if the Syrians start dragging their feet and the prospect of a unilateral military strike becomes imminent. Prominently bringing Israel into this issue now will make everything–especially for the White House, much harder.

Nevertheless, the prospects for achieving CW disarmament of Syrian are better than they were a week ago.

This entry was posted in Iraq, Syria CW, United Nations, WMD and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Syrian Framework Agreement

  1. Pingback: parajumpers paris

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Spam protection by WP Captcha-Free