Scientist Working Group on Biological and Chemical Security member Gregory Koblentz, the Director of the Biodefense Graduate Program at George Mason University, was quoted in a Council on Foreign Relations Backgrounders’ special report on sarin and chemical weapons:
The joint mission’s task of working on an expedited schedule amid a civil war is unprecedented, says former CFR Stanton nuclear security fellow Gregory Koblentz. Technology like GPS-enabled video cameras can mitigate some of the limitations imposed by the fighting, but cannot substitute entirely for eyewitness inspections. “When it comes to inspecting undeclared sites or doing something more intrusive, you really need inspectors on the ground,” says Koblentz.
The United States and OPCW have accused Syria of dragging its feet on implementing the agreement, and some policymakers say the deal has provided Assad with insurance against foreign-backed regime change. But though the Security Council resolution does not authorize the use of force to hedge against potential noncompliance, there is sufficient international consensus behind the deal. “The Russians have a very strong stake in seeing that it gets fulfilled,” says Koblentz.
Read the full report here.