Diplomacy

WSJ: “Difficult, If Not Impossible” for Intl Monitors to Implement Kerry-Lavrov Plan on Syria

The Wall Street Journal over the weekend evaluated the prospects for the Syrian chemical weapons disarmament deal struck by Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. The odds of success are, per four distinct scenarios unpacked by the paper, not great:

But the road map unveiled Saturday after three days of talks between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov may prove to not have a solid foundation. The framework agreement contains a series of deadlines and requirements that could slip in the face of a government that has long been secretive about its arsenal and resistant to international inspections. Complicating the picture is the 2 1/2-year-old civil war, which will make it difficult, if not impossible, for international inspectors to do their work.

Analysts are particularly concerned that international monitors would be unable safely transport what weapons they are able to reach. It is unclear, for instance, how convoys transporting chemical weapons could be secured from extremists on both sides of the conflict. George Mason University professor Gregory Koblentz told USA Today that something of the nature and scope of the Syrian disarmament plan is literally unprecedented:

“There has never been an effort to disarm an entire country of its chemical weapons during a civil war,” said Gregory Koblentz, a professor at George Mason University who specializes in weapons of mass destruction…
Meanwhile a high-ranking Syrian official called the U.S.-Russian agreement on securing Syria’s chemical weapons a “victory” for President Bashar Assad’s regime, The comments by Syrian Minister of National Reconciliation Ali Haidar to a Russian state news agency were the first by a senior Syrian government official on the deal.

Foreign Policy had already explained last week that “completing the job” of destroying the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons would require putting U.S. boots on the ground.

[Photo: RogDel / Wiki Commons]