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Over Easy: Assad’s Chemical Weapons to be Destroyed at Sea?

I think I’m having a nasty flashback to a US plan to dispose of another objectionable, er, problem by dumping it at sea.

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Will Syria’s chemical weapons be destroyed at sea?

The latest development in the saga of Syria’s chemical weapons is the US proposal to have the weapons taken on board a US ship in neutral Mediterranean waters where the weapons will be destroyed.

“US has offered not just the technological know-how on ways to destroy them without causing harm to humans on a threat to our environment but has also offered to fund the entire operation. They will also allow OPCW inspectors on board their naval ship to oversee the destruction of the chemical weapons and ensure they are according to national and international laws”.

Yep. You read that right. After Albania declined the very strange request from the US to do the dirty work of destroying Assad’s chemical weapons, the US decided that it could take care of the most dangerous 55% of the arsenal itself, right there on a Naval vessel in the Mediterranean. As for the remaining 45% of the arsenal–well, that work can be contracted out to private companies. More than two dozen companies have already applied. The list of applicants is not publically available.

This is no joke. Destroying Chemical weapons is no joke. Yet, it’s difficult to trust the US to do right by the health and human safety–let alone the environment–considering its record. Take post-Saddam Iraq, for example:

Iraq joined the CWC in early 2009 and declared two large, sealed bunkers with chemical weapons and related equipment and debris from the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Because at least one of these bunkers had been hit by aerial bombs in the war, there is no final inventory of weapons and agents, nor a thorough evaluation of the possible risks of open agents or unexploded ordnance in the bunkers. No decision has been made concerning the final disposition of these bunkers, but there is ongoing discussion at the OPCW with Iraqi officials about methods to evaluate the bunkers, possible costs of destruction, and options for further sealing the bunkers and improving local security.

Ok, that report indicates that Iraq officials not Americans were responsible for decisionmaking, but we all know exactly who was ultimately in charge of Iraq in 2009.

What’s more, back in the spring of 2012 after the fall of Gaddafi, Libya requested assistance from Iraq to destroy its newly revealed store of CW. That didn’t seem to bother the US much either, and we can guess who may have been behind the request for help from Iraq.

Off topic is always welcome here at Over Easy and lurkers are particularly encouraged to join the conversation. Today is TPP Tuesday, a weekly day for activism against the TransPacific Parnership agreement. See you in the comments around 7:30 a.m. PST.

Photo by Free Grunge Textures released under a Creative Commons license.

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