Thursday, January 10, 2013

In Syria, chemical weapons - and talks - are off the table

Russia is coordinating the supervision of Syria's chemical weapons arsenal with the country's embattled President Bashar Assad. According to a report in the Syrian Damas Post, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov agreed last month in Dublin that the U.S. would not support foreign military intervention in Syria in exchange for Russian assurances that the Assad regime would not unleash its chemical weapons in the country's civil war. The solution to the crisis would be diplomatic, not military in nature, the leaders agreed.

In the wake of the agreement, the Russians have begun coordinating efforts to safeguard Syrian chemical weapons directly with Assad; the Russians have a say in how the weapons are monitored and they get daily updates from Syrian forces. Russia has also said that chemical weapons stored at sites that could have been overrun by rebel forces have been moved to more secure locations and that Syria has promised not use its chemical weapons under any circumstances.