Standler's Essays on Syria & Iraq:
Chemical Weapons in Syria
Futile Peace Negotiations for Syria
U.S. Government response to ISIL

Copyright 2014-2015 by Ronald B. Standler

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:
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 the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (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. In June 2014, I began including in my contemporaneous essays on Syria historical details about (1) the Iraqi dysfunctional government and (2) the U.S. Government response to ISIL in Iraq.

Standler's Essays on Syria & Iraq

As of 5 June 2015, my 19 essays include more than 5620 links to news stories and documents, and total 1715 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 essay for August 2014 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.

  11. My essay for September 2014 chronicled the history of: My eleventh essay contains more than 345 links to news stories and documents, and 148 pages of facts, quotations, and my commentary.

  12. My essay for October 2014 chronicled the history of: My twelfth essay contains more than 275 links to news stories and documents, and 86 pages of facts, quotations, and my commentary.

  13. My essay for November 2014 chronicled the history of: My thirteenth essay contains more than 185 links to news stories and documents, and 63 pages of facts, quotations, and my commentary.

  14. My essay for December 2014 chronicled the history of: My fourteenth essay contains more than 205 links to news stories and documents, and 61 pages of facts, quotations, and my commentary.

  15. My essay for Jan 2015 chronicled the history of: My fifteenth essay contains more than 290 links to news stories and documents, and 84 pages of facts, quotations, and my commentary.

  16. My essay for Feb 2015 chronicled the history of: My sixteenth essay contains more than 310 links to news stories and documents, and 87 pages of facts, quotations, and my commentary.

  17. My essay for March 2015 chronicled the history of: My seventeenth essay contains more than 360 links to news stories and documents, and 81 pages of facts, quotations, and my commentary.

  18. My essay for April 2015 chronicled the history of: My eighteenth essay contains more than 240 links to news stories and documents, and 86 pages of facts, quotations, and my commentary.

  19. My essay for May 2015 chronicled the history of: My nineteenth essay contains more than 400 links to news stories and documents, and 101 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 in 2014 there is no other acceptable political opposition to Assad.

Since July 2011, President Obama and two U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, have been declaring that Assad had lost his legitimacy to lead Syria. My document collects more than thirty quotations of their dogma about Assad. In mid-2013, when Islamic terrorists hijacked the Syrian civil war, the USA could not partner with Assad in fighting Islamic terrorism, because of this dogma.

My essays for August and September 2014 give a contemporary account of how and why the USA became involved in wars in Iraq and Syria that are expected to persist at least until 2017, and possibly beyond the year 2035.

Someone watching the news on television in the USA — or reading a typical newspaper in the USA — would not know: My series of essays on Syria and Iraq chronicle these facts, with citations to news sources in the Middle East, Europe, USA, and elsewhere.

Links to Documents on Syria

To assist students, I provide links to some difficult-to-find documents on the Syrian civil war.

Table of Contents I have posted copies of some of the public-domain (i.e., noncopyrighted) historical documents at my personal website, rbs0.com  . (In April 2015, when I was revising this collection of links, I noticed that webmasters at government and U.N. websites had already deleted some historical documents from the years 2012 and 2013. The United Nations website was unable to download documents to readers from 16 May 2014 until January 2015, which was an additional reason to post copies of U.N. documents elsewhere.)

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, rbs0.com:
  1. Core Group Statement in Istanbul, 20 April 2013, copy at rbs0.com
  2. Core Group Statement in Amman, Jordan on 22 May 2013, copy at rbs0.com
  3. Core Group Communiqué in Doha, Qatar on 22 June 2013, copy at rbs0.com
  4. London-11 Communiqué in London on 22 Oct 2013, copy at rbs0.com
  5. London-11 Communiqué in Paris on 12 Jan 2014, copy at rbs0.com
  6. London-11 Communiqué in London on 15 May 2014, copy at rbs0.com
  7. Friends of Syria Ministerial Communiqué in New York City on 25 Sep 2014, copy at rbs0.com
  8. London-11 Communiqué in London on 10 Nov 2014, copy at rbs0.com

Coalition Against ISIL (beginning Sep 2014)

  1. Kerry/Hagel statement sidelines of NATO meeting (5 Sep 2014)
  2. Jeddah Communiqué (11 Sep 2014), copy at rbs0.com
  3. "International Conference on Peace and Security in Iraq," Paris Communiqué (15 Sep 2014), copy at rbs0.com
  4. Joint Statement Issued by Partners at the Counter-ISIL Coalition Ministerial Meeting, Brussels, (3 Dec 2014),   copy at rbs0.com
  5. Counter-ISIL Coalition meeting in London (22 Jan 2015), U.K. press release, copy at rbs0.com
  6. Small group meeting in Jordan (8 April 2015), Readout.
  7. Counter-ISIL Coalition meeting in Paris (2 June 2015), Declaration of the Co-Chairs, copy at rbs0.com

Links to U.N. General Assembly documents

United Nations General Assembly Resolutions are nonbinding, and generally insignificant. Here are the General Assembly Resolutions on the Syrian civil war, as of 3 April 2015:
  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).
  7. Resolution A/RES/69/189 (18 Dec 2014).

Links to U.N. Security Council documents

United Nations Security Council Resolutions on Syria:
  1. Resolution S/RES/2042, supporting Kofi Annan's 6-point plan (14 April 2012).   Copy at rbs0.com.

  2. Resolution S/RES/2043, deploys U.N. observers in Syria (21 April 2012).

  3. Resolution S/RES/2118, for destruction of chemical weapons (27 Sep 2013).   Copy at rbs0.com.

  4. Resolution S/RES/2139, for humanitarian aid in Syria (22 Feb 2014).   Copy at rbs0.com.

  5. Resolution S/RES/2165, repairs defects in Resolution 2139 (14 July 2014).   Copy at rbs0.com.

  6. Resolution S/RES/2170, condemns ISIL & Al-Nusra Front (15 Aug 2014).

  7. Resolution S/RES/2175, protection of civilians in armed conflict, etc. (29 Aug 2014).

  8. Resolution S/RES/2191, humanitarian aid in Syria (17 Dec 2014).

  9. Resolution S/RES/2199, condemns sale of oil by ISIL and Nusra (12 Feb 2015).

  10. Resolution S/RES/2209, chlorine gas in Syria (6 Mar 2015).
United Nations Security Council Presidential Statements are legally nonbinding. Statements are issued when there is a strong consensus, but one permanent member vetoes a draft resolution. Here are some of the Presidential Statements on Syria:
  1. S/PRST/2011/16 (3 Aug 2011).

  2. S/PRST/2012/6 (21 March 2012).

  3. S/PRST/2012/10 (5 April 2012).

  4. S/PRST/2013/15 (2 Oct 2013).   Copy at rbs0.com.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 2139 (22 Feb 2014) — and later Resolutions 2165 and 2191 — require the Secretary General to submit monthly reports to the Security Council. These relatively unbiased reports chronicle what is happening in Syria, including political and military developments, human rights, and delivery of humanitarian aid:
  1. Secretary General Ban's Report S/2014/208 (24 Mar 2014);   copy at rbs0.com

  2. Secretary General Ban's Report S/2014/295 (23 Apr 2014);   copy at rbs0.com

  3. Secretary General Ban's Report S/2014/365 (22 May 2014);   copy at rbs0.com

  4. Secretary General Ban's Report S/2014/427 (20 June 2014);   copy at rbs0.com

  5. Secretary General Ban's Report S/2014/525 (23 July 2014);   copy at rbs0.com

  6. Secretary General Ban's Report S/2014/611 (21 Aug 2014);   copy at rbs0.com

  7. Secretary General Ban's Report S/2014/696 (24 Sep 2014);   copy at rbs0.com

  8. Secretary General Ban's Report S/2014/756 (23 Oct 2014);   copy at rbs0.com

  9. Secretary General Ban's Report S/2014/840 (21 Nov 2014);   copy at rbs0.com

  10. No report for December 2014.

  11. Secretary General Ban's Report S/2015/48 (22 Jan 2015);   copy at rbs0.com

  12. Secretary General Ban's Report S/2015/124 (19 Feb 2015);   copy at rbs0.com

  13. Secretary General Ban's Report S/2015/206 (23 Mar 2015);   copy at rbs0.com

  14. Secretary General Ban's Report S/2015/264 (17 Apr 2015);   copy at rbs0.com

  15. Secretary General Ban's Report S/2015/368 (22 May 2015);   copy at rbs0.com


Links to Geneva Negotiations

  1. Geneva1 Communiqué of 30 June 2012. by The Action Group for Syria.   U.N.;   U.N. Geneva.   Copy at rbs0.com.

  2. United Nations Geneva2 (22 Jan 2014 to 15 Feb 2014)
The U.N. Secretary General's first Envoy for Syria, Kofi Annan, resigned because of frustration on 2 August 2012. Annan's eloquent resignation speech is posted at U.N.;   The Telegraph;   and rbs0.com

The U.N. Secretary General's second Envoy for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, resigned because of frustration on 13 May 2014. The Secretary General's announcement of Brahimi's resignation and a brief speech by Brahimi are posted at U.N.

Links to Chemical Weapons in Syria

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).   Also at S/2013/553

  2. Final Report on use of nerve gas in Syria, 82 pp. (12 Dec 2013).   Also at S/2013/735
OPCW Fact-Finding Mission on Use of Chlorine Gas in Syria
Summary Report S/1191/2014 (16 June 2014), OPCW Fact-Finding Mission in Syria Covering the Period from 3 to 31 May 2014.
The 10 Sep 2014 Report and 18 Dec 2014 Report are not publicly available from OPCW. However, all three fact-finding reports are publicly disclosed in a 116-page letter from nine nations to the U.N. Security Council, at S/2014/955 (30 Dec 2014).

OPCW Executive Council original schedule for destruction of chemical weapons in Syria (15 Nov 2013).   Copy at rbs0.com.

The monthly reports on chemical weapons in Syria from OPCW to the U.N. Security Council:
  1. OPCW First Monthly Report, S/2013/629 (28 October 2013).
  2. OPCW Second Monthly Report, S/2013/700 (27 November 2013).
  3. OPCW Third Monthly Report, S/2013/774 (27 December 2013).
  4. OPCW Fourth Monthly Report, S/2014/52 (27 January 2014). (first delivery of chemical weapons from Syria)
  5. OPCW Fifth Monthly Report, S/2014/133 (27 February 2014).
  6. OPCW Sixth Monthly Report, S/2014/220 (26 March 2014).
  7. OPCW Seventh Monthly Report, S/2014/300 (25 April 2014).
  8. OPCW Eighth Monthly Report, S/2014/368 (23 May 2014).
  9. OPCW Ninth Monthly Report, S/2014/444 (26 June 2014). (final delivery of chemical weapons from Syria)
  10. OPCW Tenth Monthly Report, S/2014/533 (25 July 2014).
  11. OPCW Eleventh Monthly Report, S/2014/622 (25 August 2014).
  12. OPCW Twelfth Monthly Report, S/2014/706 (26 September 2014). (OPCW/UN Mission in Syria ended 30 Sep 2014.)
  13. OPCW 13th Monthly Report, S/2014/767 (27 October 2014).
  14. OPCW 14th Monthly Report, S/2014/853 (28 November 2014).
  15. OPCW 15th Monthly Report, S/2014/948 (26 December 2014).
  16. OPCW 16th Monthly Report, S/2015/56 (26 January 2015).
  17. OPCW 17th Monthly Report, S/2015/138 (25 February 2015). (includes three fact-finding reports from 2014)
  18. OPCW 18th Monthly Report, S/2015/211 (25 March 2015).
  19. OPCW 19th Monthly Report, S/2015/295 (28 April 2015).
  20. OPCW 20th Monthly Report, S/2015/391 (28 May 2015).

Links to U.N. Reports on Human Rights in Syria

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.

On 10 March 2015, The Syrian Center for Policy Research posted a report on the damages during four years of the Syrian civil war, titled "SCPR Alienation and Violence Report 2014", SCPR.   Copy at ReliefWeb;   UNRWA;   UNDPI.org.

Death Toll in Syria

From
18 Mar 2011
Until
Total
Dead
Death
Rate
Death Rate
per 30 days
Citation
15 Nov 2012 39,112 SOHR
...
31 Aug 2013 110,371 SOHR
30 Sep 2013 115,206 4835/30 days 4835/30 days SOHR
30 Oct 2013 120,296 5090/30 days 5090/30 days SOHR
1 Dec 2013 125,835 5539/32 days 5193/30 days SOHR
30 Dec 2013 130,433 4598/29 days 4756/30 days SOHR
31 Jan 2014 136,227 5794/32 days 5431/30 days SOHR
14 Feb 2014 140,041 3814/14 days 8173/30 days SOHR
31 Mar 2014 150,344 10,303/45 days 6869/30 days SOHR
18 May 2014 162,402 12,058/48 days 7536/30 days SOHR
8 July 2014 171,509 9107/51 days 5357/30 days DailyStar
20 Aug 2014 180,215 8706/43 days 6074/30 days GlobalPost
30 Nov 2014 202,354 22,139/102 days 6511/30 days SOHR
31 Dec 2014 206,712 4358/31 days 4217/30 days SOHR
31 Jan 2015 209,395 2683/31 days 2596/30 days SOHR
5 Feb 2015 210,060 SOHR
28 Feb 2015 213,407 4075/28 days 4366/30 days see below
14 Mar 2015 215,518 2111/14 days 4524/30 days SOHR
14 Apr 2015 220,271 4753/31 days 4600/30 days SOHR
31 May 2015 229,312 9041/47 days 5771/30 days see below
/days /30 days
/days /30 days
/days /30 days

Source: Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR). Sometimes the SOHR posts a death toll only in its Arabic-language webpages, and then I cite a news source for a translation into the English language. Beginning February 2014, more information may be available in my essays.

From 1 February 2014 to 31 March 2014, there were 14,117 dead in 59 days, which corresponds to an average death rate of 7178 dead/30 days. From 1 February 2014 to 18 May 2014, there were 26,175 dead in 107 days, which corresponds to an average death rate of 7339 dead/30 days. As shown in the table, the death rate peaked in early Feb 2014 at 8173/30 days. This high death rate may have been caused by intense fighting before the Geneva2 negotiations ended on 15 Feb, as each party tried to capture as much territory as possible, prior to a possible ceasefire. It is ironic that peace negotiations may have caused a killing spree.

From August 2014 through May 2015, the SOHR sometimes posted only a monthly death toll, not the cumulative death toll since the beginning of the Syrian civil war in March 2011: On 1 Jan 2015, the SOHR announced that 76021 had died in Syria during 2014. Adding that number to the death total announced for 30 Dec 2013 gave a new total of 206,454, which implies 4100 for the month of December 2014. But on 8 Jan 2015, the SOHR announced that 4358 had died during Dec 2014, an increase of 258. There is no explanation for this small discrepancy. I decided to use the greater number in the above table, because these death tolls are known to be smaller than the actual number. On 7 Feb 2015, SOHR released a new cumulative death toll from March 2011.

The SOHR issued a cumulative death toll of 210,060 dead from the beginning of the Syrian civil war in March 2011 until 5 Feb 2015. Then SOHR said 4075 people died during February 2015, an average rate of 145/day. Interpolating, approximately 3347 people died in the 23 days between 6 Feb 2015 and 28 Feb 2015. That means approximately 213,407 people died during the Syrian civil war from the beginning in March 2011 to 28 Feb 2015.

On 1 June 2015, the most recent death toll published by SOHR since the Syrian civil war began on 18 March 2011 was for the interval that ended on 14 April 2015: at least 220,271 dead. SOHR. The death rate during April 2015 was 4458/30 days, which is 149/day. From 15 April to 30 April at the rate of 149/day gives an approximate total of 2384. Adding 2384 during the last half of April plus 6657 during May to 220,271 gives a new total of 229,312 dead from the beginning of the civil war in March 2011 through 31 May 2015.


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.

OPCW 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).
In April 2014, in my sixth essay on Syria, I predicted that, after all of the chemical weapons were destroyed, no one would care that Assad substantially missed deadlines for delivery of his declared chemical weapons.


Copyright 2014-2015 by Ronald B. Standler
this document is at   http://www.rbs0.com/syria.htm
first posted 2 April 2014, revised 5 June 2015

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