U.S. Auben Secretary Kerry and his counterpart Lavrov in Geneva on Saturday after reaching an agreement to. Image: state.gov
Russia also sees the Syria agreement as a nod to Israel, which is not a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty or the Chemical or Biological Weapons Convention
On Russia’s initiative, the U.S. government has joined in, with France and Great Britain becoming bystanders. It was agreed that Syria’s chemical weapons would be placed under international control and destroyed next year. This is to be backed up by a UN Security Council resolution that includes sanctions if the Assad regime does not play ball (the threat of a US military strike remains).
For the regime, at least, the agreement is initially a guarantee that it can stall for time and make progress in the war against the insurgents, even if the U.S. is now beginning to support the rebels it likes with weapons as well. Russia and the U.S. still disagree on whether sanctions could again include a military response. The resolution will probably be worded in such a way as not to rule out independence altogether, otherwise the U.S. government would not go along with it. Presumably, it is hardly possible for both sides to withdraw from the plan without risking a considerable loss of face.
In any case, the Assad regime is playing along, and it does not have much to lose for the time being. The question will be how basic inspections can be carried out at all in the war-torn country. And it remains unclear whether a group of insurgents is in possession of chemical weapons and may also be behind the August attack. Since Assad and the Russian government are blaming the rebels for the attack, there is a danger for both that after a UN resolution, if the accusations are true, they will again carry out an attack with chemical weapons in order to blame it on the Assad regime. Then Russia would at least be forced to move. How difficult it is to establish who is responsible for an attack has just been demonstrated, despite the power of the intelligence services. In addition, behind the presumably large arsenal of chemical weapons that is now in the foreground, the Assad regime could also have had biological ones. One has to wonder why a UN resolution does not include all chemical, biological and nuclear weapons of mass destruction "Weapons of Mass Destruction" must be detected and eliminated in Syria. But possible biological weapons are not even mentioned. After all, the U.S. intelligence agencies have only recently stated in a report that Syria has been pursuing a biological weapons program for many years, which could have gone beyond the research and development stage, i.e. it could be that Syria has the capacity to produce biological weapons.
Two weeks ago this was already reeled up, but with little reliable evidence (warning of possible biological weapons of the Assad regime). It has been suggested that Syria may possess some weapons-grade anthrax. Now, Israeli media are tooting the same horn, pointing in particular to a 2008 report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas also sent a letter to Secretary Kerry urging him to include the destruction of biological weapons in the agreement. These are an even greater threat to the USA and its allies than chemical weapons.
However, like Syria, Egypt and Israel have not ratified the Chemical Weapons Convention (OPCW) in the region. If Syria joins the convention, Israel’s arsenal of weapons of mass destruction could come into focus; after all, Israel is the only country in the region that possesses nuclear weapons, but does not openly admit their existence. Unlike Syria, Israel has not joined the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Israel has also not ratified the Biological Weapons Convention (OPBW). Syria, Egypt, Somalia and the United Arab Emirates are not parties to the convention in the region either.
While U.S. Secretary Kerry is targeting only Syria, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov stated that Syria’s accession to the Chemical Weapons Convention should be a step toward a nuclear-weapons-free region. And Russian President Putin had also recently made it clear that he was also targeting Israel through Syria when he said that Syria’s chemical weapons were also being used as "Alternative to Israel’s nuclear weapons" have been considered. Syria’s ambassador to the United Nations declared that Israel’s nuclear weapons posed the greatest danger of weapons of mass destruction. Moreover, Israel also possesses chemical weapons, but no one talks about them.