accused by Western officials of using chemical weapons, it is the rebels in Syria who could could end up looking uncooperative and disruptive as chemical weapons inspectors continue their mission to dismantle the Syrian government’s chemical weapons.Although the Assad regime has been
Inspectors working on destroying the Assad regime’s chemical weapons face numerous challenges, including not just tight deadlines but also the frequently changing front lines in the Syrian civil war. Although the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the recent Nobel Peace Prize recipient tasked with overseeing the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons, has not cited any instance of rebels hindering their work, an unnamed Western diplomat in the Arab world told The New York Times that any disruption from the rebels could make Assad look comparatively cooperative:
A Western diplomat in the Arab world said that though the Syrian government was legally responsible for dismantling its chemical weapons under an international agreement, its opponents should also cooperate in the process, because several chemical weapons sites were close to confrontation lines or within rebel-held territory.
“The international community also expects full cooperation from the opposition,” the diplomat said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss a delicate issue. “However divided the opposition might be, it would look very bad if the government was seen to be cooperating fully, while inspections were held up because of problems with the opposition.”
Many Syrians are not happy about the OPCW winning the Nobel Peace Prize, a move which (according to NPR) some have interpreted as a gift to Assad.
After the chemical attacks in Damascus suburbs in August this year it looked as if the Assad regime could be on the receiving end of Western military strikes. Now, it looks like the use of chemical weapons in Syria could end up making the Assad regime look more responsible and cooperative than its opposition. It all depends on whether the ideologically varied rebels decide to allow the chemical weapons inspectors to do their job.