How realistic is the idea of dismantling Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal?


Originally posted on National Post | News:

The Russian proposal to remove Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapons arsenal has raised a raft of questions for politicians and disarmament experts alike. Damien McElroy answers some of them:

Does the outside world have an accurate picture of Syria’s chemical weapons?

Syria is believed to have large stocks of sarin, mustard gas and VX nerve agents. Paul Ingram, the executive director of the disarmament think-tank BASIC, points out that estimates of the extent of its arsenal varies widely among Western intelligence agencies, but experts believe it runs into the hundred of tons.

What is the current status of Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal?

Syria has never signed a global treaty banning the storage of chemical weapons but the actual use of chemical weapons is banned by a 1925 treaty to which Damascus is a signatory. Damascus has never given an inventory of its stockpile. Any list that it is likely to produce…

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‘The biggest threat is Iran’: Israel aware of possible Syrian spillover, but doesn’t see it as largest danger


Originally posted on National Post | News:

SATURDAY INTERVIEW

To hear Miriam Ziv tell it, Israelis are not complacent about the prospect of war spilling over their northern border from Syria. Batteries of the Iron Dome air defence system have been moved north to intercept missiles and citizens have been lining up for new or refreshed gas masks in Tel Aviv

“They are like part of our furniture,” said Ms. Ziv, a diminutive bundle of energy who leaves her post as Israel’s ambassador to Canada on Sunday, after five years in Ottawa. “Life goes on in Israel. There is no panic. We have had wars and been attacked before.”

In an exit interview about the Canada-Israel relationship in her Ottawa office, the news, as always in the Middle East, gets in the way. But she said the big concern for most Israelis is not what is happening in Syria.

Rather, she said, more sleep is lost over…

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