It has been a tension-filled time for all countries involved in the past few weeks awaiting the response to the Aug. 21 deadly chemical strike on Syrian during the Syrian civil war. With many questions raised, and the speculations surrounding the strike leading many NATO countries to choose sides, the most heavily involved in the conflict of how to respond to this development have been the United States and the Russian Federation.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, and United States President Barack Obama agreed to put an end to the lengthy showdown in the Middle East. Meeting in Geneva, the United States and Russia Federation have reached a tentative agreement to allow Syria some time to deal with dismantling the threat of chemical weapons. Along with weapons experts from both countries agreeing on the size of the stockpile, they did not reveal the exact locations. The U.S. intelligence suggests they were moved to safer locations in Eastern and Central Syria.
Reconsidering the ill-conceived plans to strike Syria without the support of the United States allies, the new framework will allow Assad time to dismantle the chemical weapons stockpile by the first half of next year. Although utilizing diplomacy, rather than military intervention, should the terms of the agreement not be met the United States has not ruled out the use of force.
The United States Secretary of Defense, John Kerry, gives Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad until the end of next week to make a full accounting of the chemical arsenal they have in their possession. The first part of the agreement is for Assad to reveal the location, quantity, and types of chemicals that are in Syrian hands. Taken from a copy of the agreement:
The United States and the Russian Federation expect Syria
to submit, within a week, a comprehensive listing,
including names, types, and quantities of its chemical
weapons agents, types of munitions, and location and
form of storage, production, and research and
This accounting must be directed to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)—which is to report any Syrian non-compliance directly to the United Nations Security Council.
The United Nations has yet to create the formal resolution that is embedded within this agreement. President Obama has released a statement, however, that the relations between the U.S. and Russia are on stable footing at the moment. He also, while emphasizing the military option, praised the framework:
This framework provides the opportunity for the elimination
of Syrian chemical weapons in a transparent, expeditious,
and verifiable manner, which could end the threat these
weapons pose not only to the Syrian people but to the
region and the world, and, if diplomacy fails, the United
States remains prepared to act.
Both Russian and United States are joining forces to provide security and deployment support for the inspection teams from the OPCW to Syria. Both countries are using their own experts, and asking allies, to offer technical expertise in dismantling the weapons. Ensuring they are unusable before being shipped from Syria and destroyed.
As one official from the United States remarked, “This is very, very difficult. But it’s doable.”
No one may ever know what led to the chemical weapons tragedy this past August, but at least now there is a unity of purpose from all sides to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Written By: Emily Ann Selden