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The danger of chemical weapons in Syria: unfinished disarmament and international control efforts

Gefahren durch Chemiewaffen in Syrien: unvollendete Abrüstungsmission und internationale Kontrollanstrengungen

Meier, Oliver

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Corporate Editor Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik -SWP- Deutsches Institut für Internationale Politik und Sicherheit
Abstract On 4 January 2016, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague announced that the process of destroying Syrian chemical weapons had been completed. Despite that declaration of success, problems obviously persist. Since April 2014, the civil war parties have accused each other in more than one hundred cases of having used chemical weapons. In more than twenty incidents the OPCW has confirmed the use of chemical weapons. The United States also accuses Syria of having kept part of its chemical arsenal. The international community has established three institutional mechanisms to shed light on chemical weapons-related issues. Clarification of key questions -whether Syria still possesses a chemical weapons potential, where chemical weapons have been used and who is responsible for their use- under conditions of war will be a challenge. Despite the poor prospects of success, the investigations are important to reduce the risks of further chemical weapons use. Independent of the state of the peace process, international control efforts should be pursued persistently and with a long-term view. Wherever possible, new control capabilities developed in the context of Syrian crisis should be consolidated. (author's abstract)
Keywords Syria; Middle East; arms control; chemical weapon; warfare; disarmament; military; threat; analysis; international politics; conflict management; peace process
Classification Peace and Conflict Research, International Conflicts, Security Policy
Document language English
Publication Year 2016
City Berlin
Page/Pages 4 p.
Series SWP Comments, 23/2016
ISSN 1861-1761
Status Published Version; reviewed
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications