Decommissioning advice for Damascus?

Is a de Chastelain-type decommissioning process soon to hit Damascus? Will our own international  peacemakers rush over to give advice? But which side would they advise?  Al-Assad or the Russians and their nominees?  It took the good general 10 long years and a lot of guile from Gerry Adams, as that connoisseur of IRA strategy Ed Moloney recalled.  Barack Obama should ask the Clintons what he’s letting himself in for. Off the hook perhaps?. Ten years is two and a half presidential terms away.

Bernadette McAliskey once compared the peace process to pushing a fly down the neck of a wine bottle. Eventually a point would be reached when there was no traction left and the fly would fall, helpless, to the bottom of the bottle where it would drown in the dregs. Mendacity was the stick that pushed the fly down the neck of the bottle.

In fact it would be no exaggeration to say that the ability of Gerry Adams to lie and fool so expertly was the peace process’ most valuable asset

Not that Moloney is any fan of US secretary of State John Kerry

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  • Drumlins Rock

    Ten years? sure it isnt complete yet by the looks of things, old stock keeps popping up in new hands, or maybe not so new…

  • sherdy

    Maybe the de Chastelain-style decommissioning should hit Washington first, as an item shown on RT today showed some of the death and destruction caused by the US hypocrites over the years.
    Then, if and when that task can be completed, efforts could be directed towards Damascus.

  • iluvni

    Wonder if the US would take the word of two oul duffers appointed by Assad that the chemical weapons were put beyond use…no inventory, no photographs, no proof, just their word.

  • Brian Walker

    Just my little joke…
    The real questions are whether the chemical weapons demarche led by Russia can lead somehow to wider international engagement to end the civil war, or whether Putin is playing Obama like a violin, sucking the initiative out of Obama’s already weak hands. As the Russians and the Syrians hunker down for a long game of strip poker over a chemical weapons protocol, the UN and the US will have to wait on their pleasure, with much huffing and puffing. Obama never really believed in armed intervention but was forced to stir over the use of chemical weapons, hoping for a consensus that never came. He will look weak whatever happens.
    Whether chemical weapons diplomacy succeeds or fails an assault on Syria seems less and less likely unless there was a breakdown and by some amazing chance he got Russian approval through the UN resolution. Very unlikely as Russian fears of chemical weapons leaks and a spreading conflict are at least plausible.

    More likely is that the Syrians will agree to inspections in some form. Russia will claim moral victory but that’s likely to turn to dust when tested on the ground . Hans Blix says an inspection regime is impossible under civil war conditions.

    For the wretched Syrians the whole chemical weapons thing is a piece of western indulgence as they continue to be killed by high explosive – 1400 dead in Damascus since the gas attack Newsnight tells me.

    The only faint hope is that one Syrian concession might lead to another if the Russians can get a ceasefire to allow chemical weapons inspectors through. But can the jihadists be persuaded or forced to joint in? Over to the Saudis, the Qataris etc. and the Iranians on the other side.

    The Western powers, the traditional arbiters of region’s fate since the 1880s are left on the sidelines. Would that be so bad? We could salve our pride by claiming it all wouldn’t have happened without our pressure, even if we were exposed as a paper tiger. Pride is an empty vessel in these dire circumstances and we should swallow it, if it can conceivably help the Syrian people.

  • I watched an interview of Bashar al-Assad with PBS’s Charlie Rose in which Assad claimed that Syria couldn’t have used chemical weapons because his government didn’t possess any. This was shortly before agreeing to a Russian proposal to give up possession of these non-existent weapons. So he obviously doesn’t need any lessons from Gerry Adams or from Sinn Fein. Maybe had Blair kept the prisoners in prison until their respective organizations produced product, then De Chastelain would have something to teach the Russians.

  • aquifer

    “Hans Blix says an inspection regime is impossible under civil war conditions.”

    A US threat regime may be viable. Give up or destroy these weapons, because we destroy you if you use them again, and the extent and speed of destruction will be proportionate to the amount of deceit deployed earlier in the verification process. i.e. An army that may possibly still have hidden chemical weapons must be destroyed very quickly so as not to be able to use them.

    The US would have to degrade the Syrian air defenses first though, which arguably is not actually taking sides when the war is a civil war.

  • SirJohnDill

    De Chastelain was a waste of time. It was the IMC which earned de Chastelain’s back pay. De C was totally passive and that is why the decomm dragged on so very long, endangering Trimble’s credibility and allowing the DUP to attack the UUs. The IMC stick allowed both the DUP and SF to get together in government. De C’s role damaged the objective of achieving decommissioning and decriminalization immeasurably. His appointment to the process was a disaster. The IMC ratcheted up the pressure on the IRA and SF and the Prod paramilitaries (less successful there) and restored the public’s faith in this process with stronger and stronger IMC naming of names and calling out on breaches in the promises made by SF and the Prod paramils all round. No question. The IMC Four did more in a few years to bring democratic non violent norms back to NI than De C did in a decade.