By Paul McLeary
September 12, 2013
Now that Syria’s chemical weapons—and not the fact that the regime of Bashar Al-Assad has killed over 100,000 of his own citizens over the past two years—is the main question facing American policymakers and diplomats at the UN, the issue of securing and disposing of those weapons is the new big topic in Washington.
Speaking on CNN Wednesday night, former chief UN weapons inspector and head of the Iraq Survey Group David Kay estimated that the international community would have to round up and deploy as many as 2,000 inspectors in order to get their hands around the Syrian problem.
And of course since inspectors are not trained to secure sites or provide their own security, it would be up to Syrian government forces to both guard the inspectors and secure and guard the chemical sites.
All of this would be done, presumably, by the internationally-sanctioned Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which has traditionally performed these missions on behalf of the United Nations.
But never has the organization located, tagged, and disposed of chemical weapons in an active war zone, let along a chaotic civil war where multiple groups with varying loyalties and agendas violently jockey for power.
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