A simple question about chemical weapons

President Obama’s speech last night focused on the scourge of chemical weapons.  He noted that “in 1997, the United States Senate overwhelmingly approved an international agreement prohibiting the use of chemical weapons, now joined by 189 governments that represent 98 percent of humanity.”  Read the full transcript of his speech here.  However, he failed to mention something important.

Israel signed the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in 1993, but never ratified it. Egypt and Syria have neither signed nor ratified the CWC.

The CWC aims to eliminate an entire category of weapons of mass destruction by prohibiting the development, production, acquisition, stockpiling, retention, transfer or use of chemical weapons.  Read more about the details of the convention here.

U.S. President Barack Obama

U.S. President Barack Obama

Obama continued:

On August 21st, these basic rules were violated, along with our sense of common humanity.

He presented his case for a limited air strike in Syria, and then acknowledged the potential for a diplomatic solution.

I have, therefore, asked the leaders of Congress to postpone a vote to authorize the use of force while we pursue this diplomatic path. I’m sending Secretary of State John Kerry to meet his Russian counterpart on Thursday, and I will continue my own discussions with President Putin. I’ve spoken to the leaders of two of our closest allies, France and the United Kingdom, and we will work together in consultation with Russia and China to put forward a resolution at the U.N. Security Council requiring Assad to give up his chemical weapons, and to ultimately destroy them under international control. We’ll also give U.N. inspectors the opportunity to report their findings about what happened on August 21st. And we will continue to rally support from allies from Europe to the Americas — from Asia to the Middle East — who agree on the need for action.

Why isn’t President Obama seeking to bring Israel and Egypt into the CWC, along with Syria?  His silence is as loud as the sonic booms that Palestinians regularly hear over Gaza — if people were only listening!

Middle East

Middle East

I’m writing to President Obama today and asking that he consider revising the resolution that he is proposing to the UN Security Council.  He should be presenting a resolution at the U.N. Security Council requiring Assad, Netanyahu, and Adly-Mansour to give up their chemical weapons, and to ultimately destroy them under international control. 

Has the United States destroyed its arsenal of chemical weapons?

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Filed under Egypt, Israel, People, United Nations, US Policy

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