The international body tasked with ensuring Syria’s chemical weapons are eliminated has enough money to fund its mission only until the end of this month, and needs more funds soon for the destruction of poison gas stocks next year.
An official at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which won the Nobel Peace Prize last month, expressed confidence that governments would find more money to ensure the process does not lose momentum.
Discussions are underway with countries willing to host facilities for incinerating or chemically neutralizing the poisons, including Albania, Belgium and an unspecified Scandinavian country, two sources familiar with the discussions said.
Companies in the United States, Germany and France are competing for the contract to provide destruction facilities, the sources said.
Since being established under the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention, the OPCW has overseen the destruction of more than 50,000 tonnes of toxic munitions, or more than 80 percent of the world’s declared stockpile. The United States and Russia, the largest possessors of chemical weapons, are years behind schedule in destroying their arsenals.
The first lesson is that states still react very differently to violations of humanitarian norms than they do to violations of security-related norms: they are much more likely to assume an aggressive and possibly interventionist posture when it comes to security norms.
The reactions to Syria show this explicitly: there was little talk of outside intervention into the conflict even after tens of thousands of civilians were killed in Mr. Assad’s ruthless response to the uprisings that began in spring 2011. Sincere intervention talk only emerged with the advent of the regime’s use of poison gas in 2013, which violated longstanding norms prohibiting the use of chemical weapons. Though chemical weapons use contains a humanitarian component, it is mostly a security concern: unpunished use of chemical weapons may set a dangerous precedent for further spread and use of such “weapons of mass destruction” (WMD)
another lesson is simply putting a new humanitarian or moral doctrine like R2P in place cannot solve the problem of parochial world politics.