U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon

A highly anticipated United Nations report released Monday confirmed that chemical weapons were used on a “relatively large scale” in Syria. The report comes after the United States and Russia forged a diplomatic agreement for Syria to destroy its chemical weapons arsenal by mid-2014. We discuss the chemical weapons agreement, and whether it will be enforceable or effective.

Mona Yacoubian, senior adviser, Middle East for the Stimson Center, a nonprofit, nonpartisan institution for enhancing international peace and security
Jeffrey White, defense fellow, The Washington Institute for Near East Policy; former senior intelligence officer with the Defense Intelligence Agency

  • Fred

    The premise that there can be peace assumes that no one has deliberately sent in homicidal Islamist jihadis who are murdering innocent Christians, Shia Muslims, and others. But the USA, Saudi Arabia and their allies have done just that, and those jihadis cannot stopped until the USA stops supplying them and the world agrees to help Assad eliminate them. And whoever is responsible for sending those jihadis in to commit atrocities and to destabilize the Assad regime needs to be taken the International Criminal Court and be tried for war crimes, even if that includes Obama himself.

    Bill Maher on the USA being like a schoolyard bully:


    i hope that he trigger happy Obama who is under pressure from the Neocons and others work through the U N to destroy the saran gas at the same work a peaceful solution to the whole Syrian conflict. Replacing Assad by extremist group would far worse outcome for the conflict.

  • Ameena Jandali
  • Ameena Jandali
  • Ameena Jandali

    MOSCOW — Moscow is insisting that a new United Nations resolution on Syria not allow the use of force, but Russia’s foreign minister appeared to suggest Tuesday that the issue could be reconsidered if Syria violates an agreement on abandoning its chemical weapons. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/17/russia-syria-resolution-use-of-force_n_3940204.html

  • Chemist150

    But does “chapter 7 authorizing force” apply to those not in the chemical weapons ban agreement like Syria who just signed the agreement?

    • Chemist150

      Thanks for the reply. Given the response of it’s part of the UN charter applying to UN resolutions.

      Force has been authorized de facto against Israel for not complying with UN resolutions in regards to the borders and illegal settlements.

    • Chemist150

      And looking at chapter 7, it tends to refer to “international peace and security”.

      The guest has a liberal use of the charter to justify her position. I tend to disagree with the agreement justifying force for an internal and not international conflict which is Syria.

  • Bob

    I am not an advocate for the US being the world’s cop, but these commentators seem to have their heads in the sand. Trusting Russia, or the Syrian regime, is complete and utter folly. Russia is not to be trusted and Syria has no incentive to comply with international law. We blinked and they won. They just got away with killing their own people with weapons of mass destruction and these “analysts”, similar to those who dismissed Saddam Hussein doing the same against the Kurds, seem to look past that in the guise of making the program work. The program never works, turning a blind eye to homicidal despots always come back to bite us in the behind.

    • Fred

      My question is, how does the Assad regime threaten the USA?
      They don’t.
      Whereas the USA’s support for jihadi terrorists in Syria, which include Al Qaeda, is amazingly stupid and dangerous.
      It’s time for the USA to stop being a puppet of Saudi Arabia and Israel.

  • Ameena Jandali

    As the world hails diplomacy, 1000 people died last week. Does it matter how people are killed? Or is this really only about securing chemical weapons, not saving Syrian lives?

  • Ameena Jandali
  • NMirza

    Thank you Ms. Yacoubian for saying that war is not a solution.

  • 99to1

    Both guests today are in agreement that the US
    should maintain the threat of military attack to enforce the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons.

    Unprovoked military attack is a war crime

    No mention that said attack would be a violation of
    international law, and U.S.law, in that the U.S.
    has not been attacked, and there has been no UN Security Council resolution to authorize such an attack, and there has been no declaration of war by Congresss, or any AUMF for Syria.

    We’re all being asked to tacitly accept the proposition that
    unprovoked first-strike attack by the U.S.on Syria is

    A second matter: UN says Sarin was used, and delivered by
    rockets – but no testimony as to whose weapons these were, or who launched them.

    Now, I am very dubious that the UN inspectors don’t actually
    know the answers to these questions. They probably know but won’t say because their findings won’t support blaming the Assad regime.

    This fact remains: The US cannot point to a UN finding that
    the Assad regime is to blame – even though that premise is the entire basis for the US threat of military attack.

    Chemical weapons were used – but it wasn’t Sarin

    Sarin is so toxic that any rescuers or medical personnel
    coming to the aid of victims, would themselves have been poisoned by sarin residue unless they were wearing chemical warfare protective gear. And none of them were. Examine the photos widely distributed by (mostly) rebel media sources.

    Whose rockets, and who fired them?

    No mention in any of this discussion that Syrian military
    defectors may have transferred Syrian weapons to the rebels – or that Israel has such chemical weapons, or that they are available on the international arms black market – a source often tapped by US CIA to arm proxy armies of “rebels” (Contras, etc.) to wage deniable covert war all around the globe.

    Implausible story from the beginning

    The Syrian government had nothing to gain and everything to
    lose by using chemical weapons. No hard evidence has been advanced to prove that they did. (“Top secret” radio intercepts from Israel to the US, not available for public examination, don’t count as credible evidence).

    The rebels had everything to gain by using chemical weapons
    and blaming it on the Assad regime – and very little to lose, since it appears that the the western colonial powers, their newsmedia, and their client apologist, the UN, are pledged to cover
    the rebels’ tracks for them.

    We’re being hit with one propagandistic evasion of facts
    after another, all advancing the proposition that the US
    has the right to dictate one-sided disarmament of a government under siege by multinational jihadis supported by the US,
    Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and most likely Israel, with France
    itching to get in next.

    If people are really concerned about the terrible toll of war on the Syrian people, start asking who brought the war to Syria, and what outside actors have blood on their hands for arming and supporting the rebels. Would the Syrian regime be waging war if it were not under attack?

  • justaJ0e

    Concerning Syria, there are two very
    distinct issues. One is the civil war which is a loose/loose
    scenario for the US no mater which of the many sides we would chose to
    support militarily. Asaad is a brutal dictator. The opposition forces are a fractured group, the strongest of whom HATE American. The opposition “good guys” would need years of direct US military intervention to put into power and then keep them there … which makes everyone in the middle east HATE the US. Best the US can do here is to offer assistance seeking a diplomatic solution.

    The second issue is that of chemical weapons.

    In this issue the world MUST stand up and say “NO. If these weapons are used then we WILL step in to stop the use of these.”

    If polls of the US public were
    changed from “Do you support US military action in Syria?” to “Would you support missile strikes on Syrian chemical weapons supplies and launchers?” I would bet you would see overwhelming public support for such an action.

    In all the conversations involving US military strikes in response to Syrian chemical attacks I NEVER here anyone consider that perhaps US intell knows exactly where these weapons are produced and stored and that we KNOW where the specially
    trained military units are who know how to transport and load these weapons and set up their launching apparatus.

    It is quite conceivable that we have eyewitness information from a person or persons on the ground (or even in Assad’s command structure) to these activities and we are not making this intel
    public because that would (A) end this source of information and (B) allow them to re-hide these items.

    It would be foolish to think everyone in the Assad regime is a homicidal maniac.

    Consider that every time a congressman is taken into a CLASSIFIED meeting on this mater they come out with no question in their mind that Syria launched that devastating chemical attack and some of these are congressmen who would even oppose the President if he were trying to save them from drowning!

    If we do know where this stuff is then we will know immediately if the Syrian/Russians are complying or are stalling and in that case we could launch missile strikes to destroy these weapons.

    Would anyone but the Syrian’s and Russians really NOT want us to destroy these weapons if we could?

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