A deal has been struck between the United States and Russia to eradicate Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons, during the middle of next year. This agreement moves the two countries one step closer to easing tensions across the globe, as well as potentially securing peace in war-torn Syria. However, many officials are questioning whether the Syrian leader, President Bashar al-Assad, who is alleged to have killed thousands of his own citizens through application of chemical weapons, is truly a man of his word. Is Assad trickery at work?
The deal was formulated after discussions between John Kerry, the U.S. secretary of state, and Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, at an event in Geneva. The plan devised a road map for the disarmament of Syria’s chemical weapons, by 2014.
In the past, Syria has previously agreed to eliminate caches of chemical weapons, for example, following the first Gulf War. Many speculate that Assad is an unknown factor, whose actions are difficult to predict.
Executive Director of the Arms Control Association, Daryl Kimball, specifies that a “framework” has been put in place for disarmament. Remaining cautious, however, he also indicates how difficult it is to predict the success of these agreements within the ensuing months.
Kimball also outlines these chemical weapons to be critical to Assad’s regime, remaining one of the most significant military assets available to the troubled leader. Kimball questions whether Assad is willing to permit weapons inspectors access to the heavily fortified locations, where chemical weapons are currently stockpiled.
Is the Assad regime willing to fully cooperate with the demands of the international community? Only time will tell.
By: James Fenner