Syria’s Chemical Arms Destroyed, but Aid Effort Unravels

Syria’s Chemical Arms Destroyed, but Aid Effort Unravels
Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator, at the seventh meeting of the Syria Humanitarian Forum, Geneva, Switzerland, Feb. 19, 2013 (U.N. photo by Jean-Marc Ferré).

The Syrian war, currently overshadowed by its offshoot in Iraq, remains a ruinous blight on international diplomacy. Nearly half a year after the furiously hyped but fundamentally hopeless peace talks between the government and moderate rebels in Geneva, no end to the fighting is in sight. President Barack Obama has requested $500 million from Congress to train and equip rebel forces, suggesting that he is resigned to an extended proxy war with Russia and Iran, which continue to assist Damascus.

Yet while the Geneva talks petered out in February, remnants of international cooperation over Syria have survived. Moscow and Washington have continued to collaborate on their September 2013 agreement to dismantle President Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapons stockpile. The United Nations Security Council is, at least in theory, committed to getting humanitarian aid into the country, having unanimously passed a resolution in late February insisting on “safe, rapid and unhindered” delivery of relief supplies.

Coupled together, these two points of agreement could be interpreted as a default strategy to contain the war, or at least set some limits on its human consequences. As I noted last week, the Islamist advance into Iraq from Syria has forced the U.S., Iran and Russia into further loose cooperation to save Baghdad from total collapse.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.