- Syria and U.N. disagree on implementation of observers
- Concerns are growing over Syria's stockpile of chemical weapons
- India tests a long-range missile that can reach Beijing
Syria and U.N. disagree on implementation of observers
The regime of Syria's president Bashar al-Assad continues to massacre innocent Arabs as if there had never been a "Kofi Annan peace treaty." Few people doubt that al-Assad agreed to the "peace treaty" simply to buy time, so that he could continue his slaughter, but U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon is pressuring al-Assad with new terms in order to force him to end the violence. Unfortunately, al-Assad is quite skilled in sabotaging any such attempt. Here are the points of discussion:
- Ban wants to send in hundreds of U.N. observers to monitor the violence and see who the actual perpetrators are. Al-Assad wants to keep the number of observers to a minimum, but he's acceded to the U.N. demands to allow 250 observers.
- Ban wants the observers to have complete, unrestricted freedom of movement. Al-Assad demands that every move be approved by his regime, and he says that they'll be subject to violence if they don't get approval.
- Ban wants the EU to supply helicopters and planes to the observers, to be used to travel freely from place to place within Syria. Al-Assad says that foreign aircraft violate Syria's sovereignty, and that his pilots can use his helicopters and planes to move the observers around.
- Ban wants the observers to come from a cross-section of countries around the world. Al-Assad is demanding veto power on the countries, and is demanding that they come only from Russia, China, Brazil, South Africa, and other countries allied with al-Assad.
In the case of the Arab League observer mission in January, there were only 25 observers, and the group was headed by a general from Sudan who had previously overseen genocidal acts. Al-Assad will try to sabotage the current observer mission so that it will be as much of a fiasco as the Arab League mission was. AP
Concerns are growing over Syria's stockpile of chemical weapons
Syria has produced large stockpiles of chemical weapons over the past few decades, including mustard gas, sarin, and possibly VX nerve agent. They're thought to be stored in some 50 stockpiles around the country. Al-Assad is protecting them for use as a last-ditch attempt to stave off overthrow. Syria is one of a few countries that never signed the Chemical Weapons Convention. Even if it had, the possibility of a sudden fall of the al-Assad regime would leave the country with no clear ruler, and no easy way to control these stockpiles. CS Monitor
India tests a long-range missile that can reach Beijing
India said Thursday that it had successfully carried out a test of a long-range missile, capable of carrying a nuclear warhead over 5,000 km, putting Chinese cities like Beijing and Shanghai within range. However, a great deal more testing will be required before the capability can be fully deployed. It's believed that the United States, China, Russia, Britain and France are the only nations to date that have developed this technology. At a State Department press conference in Thursday, the U.S. refrained from criticizing India for developing this technology, drawing a clear distinction between India's intentions and North Korea's intentions. North Korea had a failed long-range missile test last week. CNN and Times of India