News / Middle East

Assad Missing Syria Chemical Weapons Deadline

Assad Missing Syria Chemical Weapons Deadlinei
X
February 05, 2014 5:22 AM
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has failed to meet Wednesday's deadline for turning over most of his chemical weapons under a deal brokered by the United States and Russia. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the delay means for President Assad and for Syria's civil war.
Assad Missing Syria Chemical Weapons Deadline
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has failed to meet Wednesday's deadline for turning over most of his chemical weapons under a deal brokered by the United States and Russia.
 
As of Wednesday, Syria has turned over to international inspectors less than five percent of its chemical weapons, missing another deadline in its agreement to give up those stockpiles under threat of U.S. military action.
 
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has said Damascus is not doing everything it can to meet that timetable. And that is unacceptable, according to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
 
"Bashar al-Assad is not, in our judgment, fully in compliance because of the timing and the delays that have taken place contrary to the OPCW’s judgment that this could move faster. So the options are all the options that originally existed. No option has been taken off the table," said Kerry.
 
The agreement followed last August's chemical weapons attack in the suburbs of Damascus that killed hundreds. A United Nations investigation concluded that at least two of the rockets carrying deadly Sarin gas were fired from areas controlled by government forces.
 
President Assad denied responsibility for the attack, but agreed in September to hand over his chemical weapons in a deal that ultimately elevated his standing, said U.S. Institute of Peace analyst Steve Heydemann.
 
"I think it has transformed him from a pariah, a person that President Obama said had to go, described as illegitimate, into someone whose cooperation we depend on for implementation of this chemical weapons deal," said Heydemann.
 
More than 100,000 people have died in the Syrian conflict, and the use of chemical weapons has only strengthened President Assad, said former U.S. ambassador Adam Ereli.
 
"He has not had to pay a price for that. So frankly in the eyes of the Syrian people and his supporters, that's what got him more stature than any deal. They used them. They killed Syrians. And they didn't suffer any consequences. That's where the stature is," said Ereli.
 
Ereli also said that President Assad's stature was further enhanced by President Obama backing off his threat to strike Syria militarily over chemical weapons. However, this may have helped President Obama with Assad ally Iran, thinks American University professor Hillary Mann Leverett.
 
"For many Americans that's a bad thing. It shows us as weak. But for the Iranians it doesn't. It actually shows that maybe the Americans can do diplomacy. Maybe there can be conflict resolution. And so they're jumping at that opportunity," said Leverett.
 
Heydeman pointed out that ending the Syrian violence will not depend on the chemical weapons deal. 
 
"I think it is a significant mistake if we view the success of this chemical weapons deal as somehow signaling a starting point or an opportunity to address some of the broader conflict dynamics that are really driving the violence in Syria. What we've seen is absolutely no diminution in the killing," said Heydemann.
 
U.S. officials have said they do not yet view Syria's chemical weapons delay as a formal violation of the agreement. Russian officials said they expect the Assad government to complete the handover of those weapons by the end of March.

You May Like

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan

Ninety percent of world’s heroin comes from Afghanistan More

Here's Your Chance to Live in a Deserted Shopping Mall

About one-third of the 1200 enclosed malls in the US are dead or dying. Here's what's being done with them. More

Video NASA: Big Antarctica Ice Shelf Is Disintegrating

US space agency’s new study indicates Larsen B shelf could break up in just a few years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriagei
X
May 21, 2015 4:14 AM
The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.
Video

Video Women to March for Peace Between Koreas

Prominent female activists from around the world plan to march through the demilitarized zone dividing North and South Korea to call for peace between the two neighbors, divided for more than 60 years. The event, taking place May 24, marks the International Women's Day for Peace and Disarmament and has been approved by both Koreas. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan Following Record High Poppy Crops

Afghanistan has seen record high poppy crops during the last few years - and the result has been an alarming rise in illegal drug use and addiction in the war-torn country. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem has this report from Kabul.
Video

Video America’s Front Lawn Gets Overhaul

America’s front yard is getting a much-needed overhaul. Almost two kilometers of lawn stretch from the U.S. Capitol to the Washington Monument. But the expanse of grass known as the National Mall has taken a beating over the years. Now workers are in the middle of restoring the lush, green carpet that fronts some of Washington’s best-known sights. VOA’s Steve Baragona took a look.

VOA Blogs