Many Obstacles To Confirming Chemical Weapons Use In Syria

The world is waiting for confirmation of whether Syrian President Bashir al-Assad used chemical weapons on his opponents. And they are waiting. In particular, they are waiting for the United Nations inspection team to visit sites to confirm or refute the allegations after Syria agreed to cooperate.

One of the factors delaying the assessment is that the UN is still trying to determine whether it is safe for inspectors to proceed, reports Foreign Policy.

“Kevin Kennedy, a retired U.S. Marine colonel who heads the U.N. Department of Safety and Security, told a small group of reporters at U.N. headquarters on Friday that he hasn’t given the inspection team a green light to visit the site of the supposed attacks. His office is still carrying out a security assessment to see if it is safe enough to go. ‘It’s an active war zone in Damascus,’ said Kennedy, who has gained extensive experience managing U.N. humanitarian operations in the world’s deadliest trouble spots over the past 20 years.”

Razan Zeitoune chillingly details in Lebanon’s NOW the difficulties facing the families and loved ones of the victims of last week’s attack to identify the bodies amid the chaos.

” I am terrified by this numbness in my chest and the fuzziness of images running around in my mind. This is no normal reaction after a long day of tripping on bodies lined up side-by-side in long and dark hallways. Bodies are shrouded in white linen, and old blankets show only faces that have turned blue, dried foam edging their mouths, and sometimes, a string of blood that mixes with the foam. Foreheads or shrouds bear a number, a name, or the word ‘unknown.'” he writes.

Jack Goldsmith of Lawfare says that using the precedent established by the international response to Kosovo may prove more difficult than initially thought.

“The intervention in Kosovo, like the one that might take place in Syria, was an ostensible humanitarian intervention that occurred without Security Council support and that was not justified on self-defense.  (These similarities are why Kosovo is being studied.)  As such, the Kosovo bombings were impossible to square with the U.N. Charter. . . .  Along these lines, the best that can be said of the Kosovo campaign is that it was – in the words of the Independent International Commission on Kosovo – ‘illegal, yet legitimate.'”

How The US, Russia, And Kazakhstan Secured A Nuclear Test Site
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and Harvard University’s Belfer Center both review Plutonium Mountain, a report detailing the project enjoined by engineers and nuclear scientists from United States, Russia, and Kazakhstan spent 15 years and $150 million to secure the tunnels and test areas surrounding Russia’s Semipalatinsk Test Site.








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