Weapons of Mass Destruction

Primary Sources

The United States and Russia's Joint Framework for the Elimination of Syrian Chemical Weapons

Authors: John F. Kerry and Sergey V. Lavrov

Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov developed a joint strategy to remove Syria's chemical weapons arsenal by "the first half of 2014." The agreement was reached on September 14, 2013, during the third day of their meeting in Geneva.


See more in Syria; Weapons of Mass Destruction; Diplomacy and Statecraft

Primary Sources

Secretary Kerry's and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov's Remarks on Syria, September 2013

Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met in Geneva on September 12, 2013, to discuss the possibility of Syria handing over its chemical weapons to the international community. This approach was proposed as an alternative to a military strike as a response to the August 21 chemical weapons attack in Damascus.

See more in Syria; Weapons of Mass Destruction; Diplomacy and Statecraft

Backgrounder

Sarin

Author: Zachary Laub

Sarin, one of the world's most lethal chemical weapons, has long been stockpiled but is rarely used by states or terrorists. Allegations of attacks on civilians in Syria, if substantiated, would represent a departure from long-standing international practice.

See more in Weapons of Mass Destruction; Syria

Primary Sources

President Obama's Address to the Nation on Syria, September 2013

President Obama spoke to the American public on September 10, 2013, about the U.S. government's response to the Assad regime's use of chemical weapons. He requested Congress to delay its vote on the proposed military strike, in order to address Russia's proposal of Syria handing over chemical weapons to the international community.

See more in Syria; United States; Weapons of Mass Destruction; Treaties and Agreements

Interview

The UN Inspectors' Job in Syria

Amy E. Smithson interviewed by Bernard Gwertzman

The search for evidence of chemical weapons in Syria is painstaking and hampered by harsh conditions, but could yield decisive findings as debate over military action intensifies, says expert Amy E. Smithson.

See more in Syria; Weapons of Mass Destruction

Must Read

The New Yorker: The Thin Red Line

Author: Dexter Filkins

"The Administration has given the Syrian opposition more than six hundred and fifty million dollars in nonmilitary aid, but Obama has consistently opposed arming the rebels or intervening militarily on their behalf. The United States has taken a tenuous position: not deep enough to please the rebels or its allies in Europe, or to topple the regime, or to claim leadership in the war's aftermath—but also, perhaps most important, not so deep that it can't get out."

See more in Wars and Warfare; Weapons of Mass Destruction; Syria