Standler's Essays on Syria & Iraq:
Chemical Weapons in Syria
Futile Negotiations in Geneva

Introduction

By way of introduction, I was educated as a physicist (Ph.D. 1977), was a professor of electrical engineering for ten years, and I have been an attorney in Massachusetts since 1998. I have been interested in science and public policy since the 1960s, and I sometimes post at my website essays that preserve historical details on some topic.

There has been a civil war in Syria since March 2011 that diplomats have been unable to stop. On 8 Sep 2013, I decided to collect and preserve some of the historical details of the removal of chemical weapons from Syria and the futile peace negotiations in Syria.

While the principal purpose of this webpage is to provide an annotated list of my essays on the civil war in Syria, I also include links to copies of historical documents, a table of delivery dates for chemical weapons, and a table of OPCW deadlines.

I had intended to quit writing on Syria at the end of June 2014, when all of the declared chemical weapons had been removed from Syria, and peace negotiations were not feasible for the foreseeable future. But the capture of Mosul, Iraq by ISIL on 10 June 2014 — as well as the declaration of the Islamic State's caliphate on 29 June 2014 — changed the Western view of the insurgency in Syria. So I continued to write essays on the problems in Syria and Iraq.

Standler's Essays on Syrian Civil War

As of 2 Sep 2014, my ten essays include more than 3010 links to news stories and documents, and total 918 pages of facts, quotations, and my commentary.
  1. My first essay on Syria covers dates from 8 Sep 2013 to 5 Oct 2013, and chronicled the history of: My first essay contains 190 links to news stories and documents, and 62 pages of facts, quotations, and my commentary.

  2. My second essay about Syria covers dates from 6 Oct 2013 to 31 Dec 2013, and chronicled the history of: My second essay contains more than 495 links to news stories and documents, and 129 pages of facts, quotations, and my commentary.

  3. My third essay on Syria covers January 2014, and chronicled the history of: My third essay contains more than 315 links to news stories and documents, and 89 pages of facts, quotations, and my commentary.

  4. My fourth essay on Syria covers February 2014, and chronicled the history of: My fourth essay contains more than 270 links to news stories and documents, and 101 pages of facts, quotations, and my commentary.

  5. My fifth essay on Syria covers March 2014, and chronicled the history of: My fifth essay contains more than 185 links to news stories and documents, and 59 pages of facts, quotations, and my commentary.

  6. My sixth essay on Syria covers April 2014, and chronicled the history of: My sixth essay contains more than 235 links to news stories and documents, and 75 pages of facts, quotations, and my commentary.

  7. My seventh essay on Syria covers May 2014, and chronicled the history of: My seventh essay contains more than 195 links to news stories and documents, and 90 pages of facts, quotations, and my commentary.

  8. My eighth essay on Syria covers June 2014, and chronicled the history of: My eighth essay contains more than 345 links to news stories and documents, and 89 pages of facts, quotations, and my commentary.

  9. My ninth essay on Syria covers July 2014, and chronicled the history of: My ninth essay contains more than 320 links to news stories and documents, and 82 pages of facts, quotations, and my commentary.

  10. My tenth essay on Syria covers August 2014, and chronicled the history of: My tenth essay contains more than 460 links to news stories and documents, and 142 pages of facts, quotations, and my commentary.
During 27 May to 10 June 2014, I revisited the topic of why the Geneva2 negotiations failed during Jan/Feb 2014 and wrote a 20-page essay that summarized what was in my first eight essays and added some new information. The "transitional governing body" (TGB) mentioned in the Geneva1 Communiqué is flawed: (1) no one from Syria attended the Geneva1 meeting and (2) the situation in Syria changed before the negotiations began, so we no longer need a transitional government in Syria. I also discuss the problems in finding a suitable political opposition to negotiate with the lawful government of Assad. I conclude that the Syrian National Coalition is unworthy to lead Syria, but there is currently no other acceptable political opposition to Assad.

Documents on Syria

To assist students, I have uploaded to my website copies of some difficult-to-find public-domain (noncopyrighted) documents on the Syrian civil war.
  1. U.N. Security Council Resolution 2042, 14 April 2012   (includes Kofi Annan's six-point Plan for Syria, 16 March 2012)

  2. Geneva1 Communiqué of 30 June 2012.   Source: The Action Group for Syria.   (U.N.)   (U.N. Geneva)

  3. Framework of 14 Sep 2013, Lavrov/Kerry agreement

  4. U.N. Security Council Resolution 2118 for destruction of chemical weapons, 27 Sep 2013

  5. U.N. Security Council Presidential Statement 2013/15, 2 Oct 2013

  6. OPCW original schedule for destruction of chemical weapons, 15 Nov 2013

  7. Proposal of Syrian National Coalition on 12 Feb 2014

  8. U.N. Security Council Resolution 2139 for humanitarian aid in Syria, 22 Feb 2014

  9. Secretary General Ban's Report S/2014/208 on 24 Mar 2014 about failure of Resolution 2139

  10. Secretary General Ban's Report S/2014/295 on 23 Apr 2014 about failure of Resolution 2139

  11. Secretary General Ban's Report S/2014/365 on 22 May 2014 about failure of Resolution 2139

  12. Secretary General Ban's Report S/2014/427 on 20 June 2014 about failure of Resolution 2139

  13. U.N. Security Council Resolution 2165, 14 July 2014, repairs defects in Resolution 2139

  14. Secretary General Ban's Report S/2014/525 on 23 July 2014 about failure of Resolution 2139

  15. Secretary General Ban's Report S/2014/611 on 21 Aug 2014 about Resolutions 2139 and 2165

Friends of the Syrian People

Hillary Clinton, then the U.S. Secretary of State, proposed "Friends of the Syrian People" one-day meetings of foreign ministers that began on 24 Feb 2012. These foreign ministers are all opposed to the Assad regime in Syria.
  1. Chairman's Conclusions in Tunisia, 24 Feb 2012   (copy)   (copy)
  2. Chairman's Conclusions in Istanbul, 1 April 2012 (copy) (copy)
  3. Chairman's Conclusions in Paris, 6 July 2012   (copy)
  4. Communiqué in Marrakech, Morocco, 12 Dec 2012
  5. Communiqué in Rome, 28 Feb 2013
  6. Working Group on Sanctions Communiqué in Ottawa, 25 June 2013   (PDF)
  7. Chairman's Statement in New York City, 26 Sep 2013 (on sidelines of a United Nations General Assembly meeting)
The Friends of the Syrian People "Core Group" of eleven nations — Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the USA — became known as the "London11" at a meeting in London on 22 Oct 2013. At the end of each one-day meeting, a Communiqué was issued, which I have downloaded, edited to make a smaller HTML file (while accurately preserving all text of the Communiqué), and posted at my website:
  1. Core Group Statement in Istanbul, 20 April 2013
  2. Core Group Statement in Amman, Jordan on 22 May 2013
  3. Core Group Communiqué in Doha, Qatar on 22 June 2013
  4. London-11 Communiqué in London on 22 Oct 2013
  5. London-11 Communiqué in Paris on 12 Jan 2014
  6. London-11 Communiqué in London on 15 May 2014

Links to Documents at U.N. Websites

United Nations General Assembly Resolutions are nonbinding, and generally insignificant. Here are the General Assembly Resolutions on the Syrian civil war, as of May 2014:
  1. Resolution A/RES/66/176 (19 Dec 2011).
  2. Resolution A/RES/66/253A (16 Feb 2012).
  3. Resolution A/RES/66/253B (3 Aug 2012).
  4. Resolution A/RES/67/183 (20 Dec 2012).
  5. Resolution A/RES/67/262 (15 May 2013).
  6. Resolution A/RES/68/182 (18 Dec 2013).
In 2013, the U.N. Secretary General commissioned Prof. Åke Sellström to investigate whether chemical weapons had been used in Syria. There are two reports:
  1. Report on use of Sarin at Ghouta on 21 Aug 2013, 41 pp. (13 Sep 2013).

  2. Final Report on use of nerve gas in Syria, 82 pp. (12 Dec 2013).
The monthly reports on chemical weapons in Syria from OPCW to the U.N. Security Council:
  1. OPCW Fourth Monthly Report, S/2014/52 (27 January 2014).
  2. OPCW Fifth Monthly Report, S/2014/133 (27 February 2014).
  3. OPCW Sixth Monthly Report, S/2014/220 (26 March 2014).
  4. OPCW Seventh Monthly Report, S/2014/300 (25 April 2014).
  5. OPCW Eighth Monthly Report, S/2014/368 (23 May 2014).
  6. OPCW Ninth Monthly Report, S/2014/444 (26 June 2014).
  7. OPCW Tenth Monthly Report, S/2014/533 (25 July 2014).
  8. OPCW Eleventh Monthly Report, S/2014/622 (25 August 2014).
Copies of some of the above U.N. documents are available at the nonprofit Security Council Report website.

The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has a Commission of Inquiry on human rights violations in Syria, which has written Reports. (See the "DOCUMENTATION" section of the Commission webpage, and also see the "All documents..." link at the bottom of that section.) See also the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights webpage on Syria.



Delivery of Chemical Weapons by Syria to OPCW

Delivery Nr. Date Priority 1 Total Delivered
1 7 Jan ? 3%
2 27 Jan ? 4%
3 10 Feb 5% 11%
4 26 Feb ? ?
5 28 Feb ? 26%
6 7 Mar ? 29%
7 9 Mar 23% ?
8 14 Mar ? ?
9 17 Mar ? 46%
10 20 Mar 35% 49%
11 ? Mar ? ?
12 4 Apr ? ?
13 10 Apr ? ?
14 13 Apr 57% 65%
15 16 Apr ? ?
16 18 Apr ? ?
17 22 Apr 89% 86%
18 24 Apr 96% 92%
19 23 June 100% 100%

Sources: see citations in my essays on Syria.   On 21 April 2014, I sent an e-mail to the OPCW Media Office asking for the date of the 11th delivery, but there was no reply.

Deadlines

Action Deadline Date Status
Declare all chemicals 27 Oct 2013 PASS
Deliver all priority 1 chemicals 31 Dec 2013 FAIL: zero delivered
Deliver all chemicals 5 Feb 2014 FAIL: 4% delivered
Destroy all production facilities 15 March 2014 FAIL
Deliver all chemicals 27 April 2014 FAIL: 92% delivered
Destroy all chemicals 30 June 2014 FAIL

Sources of deadlines:
  1. The 27 Oct 2013 deadline for declaring all chemical weapons is in U.N. Security Council Resolution 2118, Annex I, ¶(1)(b) (27 Sep 2013).

  2. The 31 Dec and 5 Feb deadlines for delivery of chemical weapons are in OPCW document EC-M-34/DEC.1, ¶2(a) (15 Nov 2013). U.N. Security Council Resolution 2118, §7, requires compliance with these OPCW deadlines.

  3. The 15 March deadline for destruction of all production facilities is in OPCW document EC-M-34/DEC.1, ¶2(b) (15 Nov 2013).

  4. After Syria failed to meet the OPCW deadlines for delivery of its chemical weapons, on 21 February 2014 Syria proposed modified deadlines. After some negotiation with OPCW, on 26 Feb, the revised deadline for delivery of all chemical weapons was 27 April.

  5. U.N. Security Council Resolution 2118, §(1)(c), requires "complete the elimination of all chemical weapons material and equipment in the first half of 2014" (i.e., on or before 30 June 2014).


Copyright 2014 by Ronald B. Standler
this document is at   http://www.rbs0.com/syria.htm
first posted 2 April 2014, version 2 Sep 2014

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