On Thursday night, the United Nations Security Council, including the United States and Russia, reached an agreement on dealing with Syria's chemical weapons stash. The Council demands that Syria hand over its weapons, but does not threaten imminent military action if Assad doesn't comply.
Should Syria fail to comply, the resolution vaguely addresses possible enforcement mechanisms to be enacted at a later date: "The council would impose unspecified punitive measures under Chapter 7 [of the UN Charter], which would require a second resolution that Russia could veto."
According to Reuters, "the vote could come as early as Friday evening, provided the Executive Council of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague approves a plan for the destruction of Syria's poison gas arsenal beforehand." Such a plan to dispose of the weapons could be more easily conceived of following a report from The Washington Post outlining how Syria's raw chemical components have not been mixed (or weaponized) completely and that destroying mixing equipment "can all but eliminate Syria’s ability to launch a chemical attack even before the stockpile is completely destroyed." The complete destruction of the stockpile could take at least nine months.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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