This is not the first time the people of Syria have faced something like this. The horrific chemical attack that jolted the nearby areas of the Syrian capital on August 21, which according to US President killed nearly 1400 civilians, reopened the old wounds amongst the Kurds. On a spring day in 1988, the Iraqi Air Force dropped chemical bombs on the town of Halabja in the country’s Kurdish North. A sweet smell, like that of apples, killed nearly 5000 civilians.
Today, the international experts make their way to Damascus to begin the process of destroying President Bashar al-Assad’s chemical arsenal, instigated by the recent inhuman attack. And every weeping Syrian just has one question in their mind. How long?
Today, sideling the concerns and miseries of the Syrian public, the international community is anxious about one thing. How will Syria’s chemical weapons be destroyed?
Bashar al-Assad’s decision to include Syria as a signatory to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) was probably a gesture to the world that his country is willing to verifiably give up the possession of chemical weapons and their production capabilities. But the pertinent question remains, how authentic is this gesture? Is this just a gamble he played to defend himself from the mounting international pressure and prevent a highly probable military intervention?
Mr. Assad definitely has in mind other countries in possession of chemical weapons- Albania, India, Iraq, Libya, Russia, South Korea and the US which have also have previously signed the CWC and similarly committed themselves to destroying the weapons and associated manufacturing facilities. But have US and Russia destroyed their pool? The answer is no.
How will the Hague based Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the body responsible for the verification process of disarmament in Syria execute the task? How will they overlook the fact that what was supposed to be done long back in US and Russia has not been done; yet here they are today in Syria, a country rigged with Civil War, for the same?
The situation in Syria is getting complicated day by day. Every delay in any action might result in dire consequences. Scavenger countries are not at a loss, it is the common public whose life and future is at stake. So it is high time to end the debate and actually act.