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 For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

Physically and culturally close to Western Europe, Lviv feels solidarity with compatriots in country’s east but says they need to decide own future More

West African Women Disproportionately Affected by Ebola

Women's roles in families and the community put them at greater risk for contracting the disease, officials say More

Video NASA's MAVEN Spacecraft Arrives at Mars

Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution craft will measure rates at which gases escape Martian atmosphere into space More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbiti
X
September 22, 2014 9:20 PM
NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbit

NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid