Syria submitted an "initial" list of its chemical weapons stockpiles and facilities on Friday, meeting its first deadline under a U.S.-Russian plan to disarm the country of its chemical weapons. That list, now in the hands of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, will be studied by experts on the committee. The contents of that inventory aren't going to be revealed any time soon.
As the Wall Street Journal notes, the timeliness of the response keeps the pressure on the OPCW to work faster than it normally does, based on the swift timeline laid out by the international agreement. The organization and the UN Security Council have yet to approve that timeline, but are expected to do so in the coming week, so long as things stick to the plan.
The plan, as it stands now, requires Syria to join the chemical weapons agreement and submit an inventory, which it's done. After that, the OPCW must bring the country's stockpile into international control by November, allow UN access for inspections and verifications, and lead to the destruction of all those weapons by the first half of 2014. That plan has lead to some tough feasibility questions for the agency, which, among other things, isn't used to working in a war zone.
At any point, the UN could step in under the plan to apply penalties to the country, including military force, should Syria be found not in compliance. That includes this first test of their willingness to go along with the agreement. If officials find the Syrian declaration if its inventory to be flawed, the New York Times explains, that could lead to increased pressure on the UN Security Council.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.