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Status Brief

Developmental Milestones/Developments to Date:

Current Assessment/State of the Field:




Singer, Peter, A., Daar, Abdallah, S.,”How biodevelopment can enhance biosecurity: Without global biotech research on disease, agriculture, and the environment, efforts to secure the world from biothreats are bound to falter—and vice versa,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists | WWW.THEBULLETIN.ORG M a r c h / A p r i l 2 0 0 9. p. 23.

Biodevelopment, Biosecurity, Agriculture, UN


Lieggi, Stephanie; Shaw, Robert; and Toki, Masako. “Taking Control: Stopping North Korean WMD-Related ProcurementBulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Volume 66, issue 5. Pages 21-34. September 2010

  1. “Last year, when two Japan-based traders were convicted for attempting to illegally transport sensitive materials, a larger story unraveled – one that illuminated North Korea’s efforts to obtain technology related to weapons of mass destruction (WMD).” – page 21
  2. “Historically, the country acquired much of its WMD-related technology and training from abroad, particularly China and the Soviet Union. Today, North Korea’s procurement network employ a sophisticated mix of front companies, brokers, and transshipment strategies.” –page 21
  3. “Since the early 1950’s, North Korea has both legally and illegally sought to acquire advanced technology and commodities from Japanese entities to improve its military capability.” – page 22
  4. “Pyongyang’s (capitol of North Korea) missile business has developed into an important source of revenue – ranging from #300 million to $1.5 billion annually, according to some estimates – and North Korea has traded missile technology with many countries, including Pakistan, Iran, Syria, and Yemen.” – page 23
  5. “The export violations incidents in Japan involving Toko Boeki and Tadao Morita occurred after the U.N. Security Council passed resolutions in July and October 2006 sanctioning North Korea, and after Tokyo consequently expanded its list of items under embargo to Pyongyang.’ – page 23
  6. “…Japans ‘catch-all’ controls, which mandate a license requirement for certain destination countries if an export is likely to support development of WMD, even if the item is not specifically mentioned on domestic controls list” – page 23
  7. “In early 2009, police in Kanagawa, a suburb of Tokyo, raided the offices of trading company Toko Boeki after the firm attempted to export a magnetometer (a device used to measure magnetic fields) to Myanmar in September 2008 and again in January 2009.” – page 23
  8. “Japanese authorities determined a magnetometer to be a useful tool in the development of magnets critical to the operation of some missile guidance systems, and police suspected a link to North Korea’s missile development programs” – page 23
  9. “The investigation led to the June 2009 arrest – and eventual indictment – of Toko Boeki’s founder and president, Li Gyeong Ho, for his attempts to dodge Japan’s catch-all controls.” – page 23
  10. “Li pleaded guilty and received a prison sentence of two years, matching the request of the prosecutors. However, the sentence was suspended for four years, highlighting Japan’s problem with lenient sentences for proliferation-related offenses. Additionally, Li’s company, Toko Boeki, was fined about $68,000 (6 million yen)” page 25
  11. “In addition to the criminal penalties, Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) imposed a complete seven month export ban on both Li and his company.” – page 25
  12. “In May 2009, police in Hyogo, a suburb outside Kyoto, arrested Chong Rin Chae (Tadao Morita), a South Korean resident, for attempting to illegally export two tanker trucks from Japan to North Korea via South Korea.” – page 25
  13. “In July 2009, Morita pleaded guilty to export control violations involving the tanker trucks and the luxury goods and was sentenced to a suspended three-year prison term. His company was also assessed a fine of approximately $55,000 (5 million yen).”- page 26
  14. “In January 2010, six months after Morita’s criminal conviction, METI also imposed a 16-month export ban on Morita and his company” – page 27
  15. “Since METI’s 2002 implementation of catch-all controls, the Japanese government has strengthened legal and administrative provisions specific to curbing the spread of WMD – a process accelerated by North Korea’s recent nuclear and missile tests.” – page 27
  16. “Last year, Japan amended its Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade law, which increased the maximum penalty for export control violations from five to seven years. If a violation involves WMD-related items, however, then the maximum penalty is 10 years” – page 27
  17. “The use of front companies and transshipment destinations reveals a network continuously evolving in response to U.N. sanctions and increased nonproliferation-focused export controls of supplier countries like Japan” – page 30

Export Control, Japan, North Korea, WMD, Military, Nonproliferation, UN


Katz J., “CDC: Haiti cholera matches South Asian strainAP Last accessed November 6, 2010.

  1. “A cholera outbreak that has killed more than 300 people in Haiti matches strains commonly found in South Asia, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday.”
  2. “The finding intensifies scrutiny on a U.N. base above a tributary to the Artibonite River that is home to a contingent of recently arrived peacekeepers from Nepal, a South Asian country where cholera is endemic and which saw outbreaks this summer.”
  3. “It is also a significant step toward answering one of the most important questions about the burgeoning epidemic: How did cholera, a disease never confirmed to have existed in Haiti, suddenly erupt in the vulnerable country’s rural center?”
  4. “Speculation among Haitians has increasingly focused on the U.N. base. The outbreak began among people who live downstream from where the tributary meets the Artibonite and drank from the river. On Friday, hundreds of protesters marched from the nearby city of Mirebalais to demand the Nepalese peacekeepers be sent home.”
  5. “The Associated Press found questionable sanitation in an unannounced visit to the base last week and an exclusive tour of the facility given by peacekeepers Sunday. Despite earlier statements that sanitation at the base was up to international standards, on Monday the mission acknowledged there are santiation problems and said they are being solved.”
  6. “The finding does not identify the source of the disease or say how it arrived in Haiti, but it eliminates other possibilities including a hypothesis that the strain might be related to a 1990s South American outbreak, Braden said. He said the strain was “fairly common.””
  7. “The outbreak is spreading across Haiti, its transmission eased by a lack of immunity among the population. A confirmed case of cholera had never been detected in Haiti before the current outbreak, said Claire-Lise Chaignat, head of the World Health Organization’s global task force on cholera control.”
  8. “The AP visited the Nepalese U.N. base last Wednesday to follow up on a statement by the mission that its sanitation measures met U.S. and U.N. standards. The area between the base and the river reeked of human waste. Several pipes were leaking, including a broken plastic pipe emitting a foul-smelling black liquid near what the soldiers identified as latrines. A U.N. engineer later said the liquid was most likely run-off from the camp kitchen.”
  9. “The dump site for the human waste was a few hundred yards (meters) away, across the street from the base in shallow, shovel-dug pits next to several homes. Neighbors said the pits often overflow and run to the river. They said they had stopped drinking from the river and sought fresh water uphill.”
  10. “The AP returned Sunday for a tour with U.N. officials, who acknowledged the facility had undergone a cleanup since then: Septic tanks were emptied, a drainage canal was cleared and the leaky pipe was replaced. The smell of excrement was mostly gone.”

Cholera, CDC, UN


Allmeling, Anne, “Syria Dilemma Ties Global Community’s Hands,” February 2, 2013, DW, Top Stories, World, Middle East, http://www.dw.de/syria-dilemma-ties-global-communitys-hands/a-16571604, Last checked February 14, 2013.

  1. ”Turkey, Jordan, Iraq and Lebanon, are now the temporary homes of 600,000 Syrian refugees. Between 2,000 and 3,000 Syrians are now leaving the country on a daily basis, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.”
  2. ”Government troops as well as rebel fighters are now receiving foreign support in the form of money and weapons. With outside actors mixed into the conflict, the Syrian civil conflict is morphing into something of a proxy war. Iran has allied itself with Damascus, while Saudi Arabia and Qatar are hoping rebel forces can keep government troops at bay. In spite of extensive sanctions, supplies of weapons appear to be secure for both sides – one of the primary reasons the situation in Syria appears so hopeless.”
  3. ”Foreign mercenaries who had been employed by Gadhafi for years and who were originally from the Sahel region – a 1,000-kilometer swath of desert that runs east-west through the African continent – plundered the country’s well-stocked weapons depots after Gadhafi’s fall. They then returned to their own home countries, weapons in tow.”
  4. ”Many of those weapons ended up in the hands of terrorists and strengthened the organization known as Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb – one of the groups responsible for current acts of terror in Mali.”
  5. ”In Syria, a reform of arms exports policies or of Syrian security forces is no longer tenable. Also complicating matters is the tight international framework that Germany and its international partners are operating within.”

Export Control, al-Qaeda, UN, Syria


Editors, “Double Standard: UK exports arms to Sri Lanka despite widespread violations”, February 18, 2012, RT, News, http://rt.com/news/uk-sri-lanka-weapons-export-455/ Last Checked February 19, 2013.

  1. ”Assault rifles, shotguns and pistols worth over $3.8 million were revealed to be among the goods the UK has exported to Sri Lanka – a country accused of repeated human rights violations by the UN, and London itself.”’
  2. ”The export report for the second half of 2012, published by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, revealed that small arms and ammunition were sold to Sri Lanka last year. According to the report, more than $3.8 million in sales in 2012 fell into the ‘ML1’ category, which stands for small arms and weapons, the Campaign Against the Arms Trade said.”
  3. ”The arms sales are made despite reports by British authorities on human rights violations committed in the South Asian country. The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office recently said that that Sri Lanka’s human rights record was marked by negative developments over the last 3 months, “especially in relation to the judiciary.””
  4. ”On Wednesday last week, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay called on Sri Lankan authorities to allow international investigators to examine and resolve cases of drastic war crimes in the country.”

Export Control, U.K., UN


Lynch, Colum & Harlan, Chico, “U.N. Security Council approves new sanctions against North Korea” March 7, 2013. The Washington Post. Last Checked March 7, 2013. http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/north-korea-threatens-nuclear-strike-against-aggressors/2013/03/07/1a1e1ada-8726-11e2-999e-5f8e0410cb9d_story.html?hpid=z1

  1. “The U.N. Security Council approved tough new sanctions Thursday against North Korea over its latest nuclear test.”
  2. “Voting unanimously, the 15-member council condemned North Korea for its Feb. 12 test and imposed sanctions aimed at making it more difficult for the country to finance its weapons programs and obtain materials for them.”
  3. “The new measures were crafted to further limit access to the international financial system by North Korean banks and firms, while imposing greater constraints on the North’s ability to transport potentially illicit cargo around the world.”
  4. “Despite the unanimous action, there were no guarantees that North Korea would stop ignoring the Security Council and comply with demands that Pyongyang abandon its nuclear weapons ambitions and halt the development of its banned ballistic missile program. Instead, in the hours before the vote, the North doubled down on its bluster.”
  5. “…The North would exercise its right for “a preemptive nuclear attack to destroy the strongholds of the aggressors” on grounds that Washington was pushing to start a nuclear war against the North.”
  6. “Security analysts do not yet think the North has the ability to strike the United States with a nuclear weapon, although the country is making progress after pouring billions into its weapons program and cooperating with Iran and Pakistan.”
  7. “The participation of Beijing is significant because it has long been the North’s key benefactor and has occasionally has stood in the way of international efforts to sanction Pyongyang.”
  8. “In recent days, North Korea has threatened to nullify the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War and cut off a hotline at the demilitarized zone that divides the two Koreas.
  9. “A North Korean army spokesman also said his soldiers would become ‘human bullets and bombs’ to protect the country’s central leadership and the ‘dignity of the respected Marshal Kim Jong Eun.’”

Nuclear, UN, North Korea, Nonproliferation


Maddock, Preston, “Arms Trade Treaty Advocates Push Back Against NRA Campaign,” March 8 2013, Politics, The Huffington Post, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/08/arms-trade-treaty-nra_n_2838111.html, Last Checked March 8 2013.

  1. “Amnesty International and other human rights groups on Thursday pushed back against the National Rifle Association’s ongoing campaign to organize opposition to the United Nations’ Arms Trade Treaty. Final negotiations over the treaty are set to take place in New York later this month, and both supporters and NRA leaders have ratcheted up their outreach efforts in recent weeks.”
  2. “The treaty will govern the export of conventional arms “because these are the real weapons of mass destruction,” said Frank Jannuzi, chief advocacy officer of Amnesty International USA, during a conference call with reporters.”
  3. “Goddard accused the NRA of having stoked false fears among its members that the Arms Trade Treaty will violate Americans’ Second Amendment rights.”
  4. “The final treaty language is set to be hammered out during multilateral negotiations at U.N. headquarters in New York, and the results of those talks will ultimately determine whether the Obama administration signs on to the treaty. National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden recently told Reuters that the U.S. government would not support the treaty unless it brings “other countries in line with existing U.S. best practices.”

Export Control, U.S. Foreign Policy, UN, ATT


Solomon, Jay, “Iran-North Korea pact draws concern.” March 8, 2013. Washington Post. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323628804578348640295282274.html  Last checked March 14, 2013.

  1. “Obama administration officials are raising alarms about a scientific-cooperation pact between North Korea and Iran that officials said could advance the nuclear and missile programs of both countries.”
  2. “The agreement, reached in September, bears a close resemblance to one North Korea signed with Syria in 2002…”
  3. “Washington is concerned that the two military allies will seek to use the agreement to advance their nuclear capabilities, just as they have jointly developed missile systems, according to U.S. and U.N. officials.”
  4. “Iranian state media reports don’t specify cooperation with North Korea on developing nuclear technologies. But they do cite the establishment of joint laboratories, exchanges of Iranian and North Korean scientists, and technology transfers in the areas of energy and information technology.”
  5. “North Korea could provide Iran with a range of supplies for its nuclear program, including uranium ore, centrifuge machines and enriched uranium, according to (US and UN) officials.”

Iran, North Korea, Nuclear, UN


Editors, “Intel Chief Uncertain of U.S. Ability to Secure Syrian Chemical WeaponsGlobal Security Newswire. April 12, 2013. http://www.nti.org/gsn/article/intel-chief-uncertain-us-ability-secure-all-syrian-chemical-arms/ Last checked April 15, 2013

  1. ”The head of U.S. intelligence on Thursday said he was unable to confidently predict how much of Syria’s chemical arsenal and other sensitive weapons could be safeguarded if President Bashar Assad’s regime is abruptly ended.”
  2. ””It would be very, very situational dependent to render an assessment on how well we could secure any or all of the (weapons) facilities in Syria,” he said.”
  3. ”A U.S. military attempt to secure Syria’s large, dispersed arsenal of nerve and blister agents would have to be done with the backing of regional partner nations and other states, according to Clapper.”
  4. ”The Defense Department is understood to have begun preparing an emergency response plan for destroying Syria’s chemical warfare materials to ensure they are not used in the civil war or allowed to fall into militant hands.”
  5. ”Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Thursday informed the House Armed Services Committee that “we have not detected use of chemical weapons,” …”Obviously, if that line is crossed, then we’ve got a different situation. Then you get into the next set of dimensions to this, if chemical weapons fall into the wrong hands.””
  6. ””There are several examples where we are quite sure that shells with chemicals have been used in a very sporadic way,” the diplomatic source asserted.”
  7. ”Authorities in the village of Douma close to the Syrian capital said they have preserved the remains of six individuals killed in another alleged chemical assault.”
  8. ”There are also 32 survivors of the attack that have volunteered to be checked out by the U.N. team, according to a letter sent to the team leader, Swedish scientist Ake Sellstrom.”

Syria, Chemical, Chemical Surveillance, UN


Barnes, Diane, “Chemical Arms Ban Nations Underline Fears on Syria” April 22, 2013. Global Security Newswire. http://www.nti.rsvp1.com/gsn/article/cwc-final-document/?mgh=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nti.org&mgf=1 Last Checked April 22, 2013

  1. “Member nations to an international chemical arms ban on Friday voiced “deep concern” over the alleged use of lethal agents in Syria’s civil war, and they pressed Damascus and seven other governments to quickly join the accord “in the interests of enhancing their own national security.””
  2. “The Syrian government has exchanged accusations with rebels regarding who was behind an alleged March 19 gas attack responsible for 31 deaths in the village of Khan al-Assal.”
  3. “Separately, U.S. intelligence agencies were said last week to be reviewing indications of multiple chemical strikes by Assad’s forces.”
  4. ““The use of chemical weapons by anyone under any circumstances would be reprehensible and completely contrary to the legal norms and standards of the international community,” delegates said in a 29-page political declaration backed by consensus at the third Chemical Weapons Convention review conference, which concluded in the Netherlands on Friday.”
  5. ““Some states parties didn’t want to talk about [the situation] because Syria is not a [Chemical Weapons Convention] state party and was not there to defend itself,” but the treaty “really bans any use of toxic chemicals in warfare anywhere, anytime by any country regardless of whether they’re a state party or not,” Walker told GSN on Monday.”
  6. “Russia last week reaffirmed plans to finish eliminating its chemical arms by 2015; earlier press claims suggested the process could drag out for an additional five years. Moscow as of late last year had destroyed 70 percent of the 44,000-ton stockpile that had once been the world’s largest.”
  7. “Col. Muammar Qadhafi destroyed about half of Libya’s declared mustard agent and precursors prior to the country’s 2011 revolution; the country’s new government has since reported additional materials and weapons never declared by its predecessor.”
  8. “Documents from the review conference are intended to set a five-year course for decisions by the organization’s 41-nation Executive Council and by annual gatherings of states parties.”

Syria, Chemical, Chemical Surveillance, UN, Russia, Libya


DeYoung, Karen & Gearan, AnneU.S. to scale up military support for Syrian rebels” June 14, 2013. The Washington Post. Last Checked September 6, 2013.

  1. “The United States has concluded that the Syrian government used chemical weapons in its fight against opposition forces, and President Obama has authorized direct U.S. military support to the rebels, the White House said Thursday.”
  2. “U.S. intelligence had determined with ‘high certainty’ that Syrian government forces have ‘used chemical weapons, including the nerve agent sarin, on a small scale against the opposition multiple times in the last year.’ Intelligence agencies estimate that 100 to 150 people have died as a result of chemical weapons use.”
  3. “Obama said last year that confirmation of chemical weapons use would cross a “red line” for the United States.”
  4. “Syria will be at the top of the agenda when Obama meets with leaders of the Group of Eight industrial nations, including Russia, in Northern Ireland next week. Russia, Assad’s primary arms supplier and diplomatic backer, has blocked harsher international action against him at the United Nations.”
  5. “The Obama administration has provided more than $515 million in humanitarian and nonlethal military assistance to the Syrian opposition, including food and medicine. This week, the United Nations put the death toll in the conflict, which is in its third year, at more than 90,000. Millions have been displaced inside the country, and more than 1.5 million Syrian refugees are in neighboring countries.”

Syria, Chemical, WMD, U.S. Foreign Policy, Sarin, UN, Chemical Surveillance, Nonproliferation


Gearan, AnneU.N. to visit site of alleged Syrian chemical attack” August 26, 2013. The Washington Post. Last Checked September 4, 2013.

  1. “Syria will allow weapons inspectors to visit the site of an alleged chemical weapons attack on civilians, the United Nations said Sunday, but the Obama administration said the offer of access is too little too late.”
  2. “Top lawmakers said the time has come for a U.S. military response, one of the options under review by a White House feeling new pressure to act on President Obama’s declaration that any use of chemical weapons would be a “red line” for the United States.”
  3. “…Relief group Doctors Without Borders estimates that 355 people were killed and more than 3,600 were injured by a suspected nerve agent last week. If confirmed, it would be the worst chemical weapons attack since Saddam Hussein gassed more than 3,000 people in an Iraqi Kurdish village 25 years ago.”
  4. “Obama ‘discussed possible responses’ with French President Franois Hollande on Sunday, the White House said. France’s foreign minister said last week that the suspected gas attack should be met with force.”
  5. “Adding urgency to the international deliberations, Jabhat al-Nusra, an opposition group in Syria that the United States deems a terrorist organization, said Sunday that the attack gives a green light for rebels to respond in kind.”
  6. “The U.N. team, led by Swedish scientist Ake Sellstrom, will begin on-site work Monday and focus on “ascertaining the facts of the 21 August incident as its highest priority,” the United Nations said.”
  7. “Syria is known to possess mustard gas and internationally banned nerve agents such as sarin.”
  8. “Russia, Syria’s most powerful foreign patron, joined the U.N. call for an investigation last week. Russia also suggested that the rebels were at fault and on Sunday warned against U.S. military action or the “tragic mistake” of jumping to conclusions.”
  9. “‘The fact that an attack has taken place is not going to be hard to establish; the hard part is going to be assessing blame,’ said Gary Samore, who until recently was the Obama administration’s top adviser on arms control and weapons of mass destruction.”

Syria, Chemical, WMD, U.S. Foreign Policy, Sarin, UN, Chemical Surveillance, Nonproliferation


Lynch, Colum & DeYoung, KarenU.S. efforts to build legal case for strikes run into questions” August 29, 2013. The Washington Post. Last Checked September 5, 2013.

  1. “As the United States and its allies weigh limited military strikes against Syria, their lawyers have been exploring a range of legal frameworks for any operation, including propositions that members of the international community have the right to use force to protect civilians or to deter a rogue nation from using chemical weapons.”
  2. “But the Obama administration’s efforts to build a legal case are encountering skepticism from U.N. officials and other experts, including former Republican and Democratic State Department lawyers, who argue that the use of force against the Syrian regime, absent a U.N. Security Council resolution, would be illegal.”
  3. “Kaye and other legal scholars say the U.N. Charter explicitly prohibits the use of force against other U.N. members, except in self-defense against an imminent threat or in an operation authorized by the 15-nation Security Council.”
  4. “Although Britain said Wednesday that it would seek a Security Council resolution authorizing the use of force against Syria, the prospects for approval appear dim, given firm opposition from veto-wielding members Russia and China.”
  5. “Although it would be a stretch to argue that Syria’s use of chemical weapons, if proven, constitutes a threat to the United States, the administration is also studying the possibility that U.S. force could be used in support of Syria’s neighbors, including American allies Jordan and Turkey, if those governments invoke the right to self-defense against Syria.”
  6. “The United States and its allies have frequently undertaken military actions without Security Council approval. In 1999, the Clinton administration led a NATO air war in Kosovo. About four years later, the George W. Bush administration invaded Iraq without an explicit authorization from the U.N. Security Council.”
  7. “Lawyers in both Republican and Democratic administrations have been concerned that a doctrine of humanitarian intervention could set a bad precedent that would be more likely to be used by other countries like Russia and China or some African countries, which could invoke the principle of “humanitarian intervention” in attacking their enemies.”
  8. “Both the Kosovo operation and the 2011 air assault in Libya, in which the United States participated, were launched with consensus within NATO. The alliance’s ambassadors have met to discuss the Syria situation. But the possibility of NATO intervention, which must begin with a request from a member nation under threat, has not yet been raised.”

Syria, Chemical, WMD, U.S. Foreign Policy, Sarin, UN, Chemical Surveillance, Nonproliferation


Faiola, AnthonyWestern powers face skepticism at home over military action” August 29, 2013. The Washington Post. Last Checked September 5, 2013.

  1. “Tepid domestic support in Parliament for fast action forced Cameron’s government to back down from a planned vote Thursday that would have effectively paved the way for the immediate use of military force. Instead, the prime minister compromised with critics who thought that London was acting too hastily, promising to offer a watered-down measure Thursday that called for a second vote before strikes would be undertaken.”
  2. “They also cited the chance that a strike could heighten violence in the region and drag allies into a more protracted operation, and lingering concerns that a blow against Assad’s government could strengthen extremist groups fighting within the Syrian opposition.”
  3. “Nations that have long resisted Western intervention in Syria, including Russia and Iran, were reasserting their opposition, saying the drumbeat was preempting the inspectors’ work. Any military action, they insisted, would only escalate violence in the region.”
  4. “On Wednesday, Devlet Bahceli, leader of Turkey’s opposition Nationalist Movement Party, called the push for action war-mongering. Without more details from the inspectors as well as U.N. backing, he told the Milliyet newspaper, any strikes would be a violation of international law and would not be moral.”
  5. “In Britain, public skepticism appeared significantly greater. A YouGov poll for the Sunday Times taken after the alleged chemical attack showed that 50 percent of those asked were opposed to British missiles being fired into Syria, with only 25 percent supporting such a move and 25 percent offering no opinion.”

Syria, Chemical, WMD, U.S. Foreign Policy, Sarin, UN, Chemical Surveillance, Nonproliferation


Editorial BoardThe risk of doing nothing” September 1, 2013. The Washington Post. Last Checked September 5, 2013.

  1. “A perception has been growing over the past week that President Obama has worked himself into a jam on Syria policy.”
  2. “Possibly the largest constraint Mr. Obama is encountering as he contemplates military action in Syria stems from the intelligence blunder that preceded the U.S. invasion of Iraq. The Bush administration, like the Clinton administration before it and the governments of all its major allies, was convinced that Saddam Hussein was hiding weapons of mass destruction. Most Americans, including this page, were convinced, too.”
  3. “It is no surprise, and it is not a bad thing, that this time around people are demanding more evidence than they otherwise might.”
  4. “The president repeatedly has told the American people that the era of war was ending, that the United States could concentrate on nation-building at home and that it had no vital interests in Syria as that nation collapsed into civil war and began to endanger its neighbors. Americans, and U.S. allies, too, naturally would want some explanation of why all that may have changed.”
  5. “This time around, the United States may have few but the French on its side. A president who has stressed commitment to international law is faced with going it nearly alone and certainly without the U.N. Security Council, where Syria’s abettors Russia and China stand in the way.”
  6. “If Mr. Obama chooses to fire missiles at Syria, people will die, including some civilians, and unpredictable consequences will follow. There had better be good reason.”
  7. “If the United States does not ensure that Syria faces consequences for crossing the line, no one will, and the U.S. response should be strong enough to prevent Mr. Assad from committing further atrocities.”

Syria, Chemical, WMD, U.S. Foreign Policy, Sarin, UN, Chemical Surveillance, Nonproliferation


Rucker, Philip & Englund, WillObama seeks to rally global support” September 4, 2013. The Washington Post. Last Checked September 5, 2013.

  1. “At the Group of 20 summit in St. Petersburg, the strife in Syria and uncertainty about Obama’s plans are likely to overshadow an agenda focused on economic issues. Privately, Obama will try to persuade world leaders to support U.S.-led action in Syria – putting him at odds with the summit’s host, Russian President Vladimir Putin, a key ally of the Syrian regime who will press his case against strikes.”
  2. “Obama is planning to meet with French President Francois Hollande and Chinese President Xi Jinping , U.S. officials said. Experts said it will be difficult for him to gain support on Syria as long as the scope of possible strikes or whether Congress will authorize them remains uncertain.”
  3. “Obama will begin his overseas trip Wednesday in Stockholm, where he intends to highlight trade alliances, global development and climate change. He is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and King Carl XVI Gustaf and eat dinner with leaders from Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway.”

Syria, Chemical, WMD, U.S. Foreign Policy, Sarin, UN, Chemical Surveillance, Nonproliferation





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