Assad Has All the Time in the World to Hide His Chemical Weapons

(Times of Israel) Avi Issacharoff - Syria declared this week that it would join the treaty against chemical weapons proliferation. But a scenario in which the Syrian president actually transfers all his chemical weapons to international oversight, while possible, is not likely. Syria needs this kind of weaponry in order to deter outside players like the U.S. from attempted intervention, and to deter Israel. It is Assad's insurance certificate. So it is more logical that Assad will agree to hand over part of his chemical weapons, maybe even most, but will keep at least some for himself, just for emergencies. He has all the time in the world to try to hide this weaponry. It will be weeks until a binding decision is reached at the UN, and even after that, UN delegations will be delayed because of pretexts such as warfare in precisely the areas they are supposed to visit. This could go on for months. Meanwhile, the civil war in Syria has been forgotten altogether, as the crisis is reduced to a debate over chemical weapons. Yet since the August 21 chemical attack, 200-250 people have been dying every day in Syria. Aaron Zelin, a researcher at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said this week that there is substantial foreign involvement from Islamists coming to fight against Assad. "The fighters have come from over 60 countries to fight alongside the rebels. At the moment, there are 5,000-10,000 foreign fighters in Syria, a thousand of them European." "The main concern stemming from this phenomenon is that the foreign fighters will return to their home countries. And with the indoctrination they received, and the connections they made with the jihadist forces in Syria, they will carry out terror attacks in the West."

2013-09-13 00:00:00

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