Assad Agrees With Chemical Weapons Treaty, US Officials Still Threatening Strikes

By  on September 16, 2013
by Ezra Van Auken

Since Western officials tagged Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as a bad boy styled regime leader, it appears some of that relenting nature has been dimmed down, at least in Assad’s actions. This past Thursday, Syria’s government signed off and ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which brings an understanding between the United Nations and Syria that eventually the Assad regime will destroy its chemical weapons. Ratifying the CWC, Syria also agrees to halt all production of chemical arms.

Syria was one of seven other countries that hadn’t joined the CWC of 1997, and as Syrian ambassador Bashar Ja’afari to the UN told press in New York, “Legally speaking Syria has become, starting today, a full member of the (chemical weapons) convention,” going on to say that Syria signed the legislative decree. Regarding the chemical weapons themselves, Ja’afari told reporters that unlike Western claims of chemical arms abuse, the weapons were created to combat and serve as defense towards Israel’s nuclear arsenal.

Ja’afari stated, “It’s a deterrent weapon and now the time has come for the Syrian government to join the (convention) as a gesture to show our willingness to be against all weapons of mass destruction,” looking to ease the international tension against Assad’s regime and chemical weapons stockpile. The final declarations are made to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, and Assad says there is a thirty-day deadline for the Syrian government to fulfill requirements.

Assad has made it clear that any participation with ratifying the CWC and bipartisanship internationally would continue only if US officials stopped threatening his regime. With Syria’s government at least moving in the right direction and completing the “first step” of joining the anti-chemical weapons treaty, what went from an imminent US-led missile attack on Syria has now turned into diplomatic negotiations. Since Syria’s agreement to the CWC, Western nations have also decided their on terms for Syria to play on.

Instead of the thirty-day deadline cited by the anti-chemical weapons treaty, the Russians and Obama administration agreed upon a seven-day deadline to at least account for the chemical weapons in Syria – bringing transparency. US officials believe that by mid-2014, Assad’s regime could have their chemical weapons supplies destroyed, which has been disputed. Other possibilities by outside administrations like Obama’s would place sanctions on the country, something that could eventually crumble resolutions.

The Washington Post reported, “The United States and Russia agreed Saturday on a plan to bring Syrian chemical weapons under international control, a rare diplomatic victory in a brutal civil war that appears to head off a punitive U.S. military strike on Syria in the near future.

Even with Assad’s regime settling for more diplomatic measures, hoping to ward off US attacks, the Obama administration isn’t holding back from threats. President Obama alluded to the idea of strikes on Saturday, saying military intervention is still an option. Backing the President, Secretary of State John Kerry told press, “There is no room for anything other than full compliance.” With Russia and the US backing a resolution that would move Syria forward with compliance peacefully, it seems outside threats only hurt the cause.