Ever so convenient for the powers of the West which arm, fund, and run interference for terrorist organizations, which serve as their proxies as agents of destabilization, a special session for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is being held at the Hague for the purpose of outlining and granting it expanded competencies in the area of assigning definitive charges for the use of chemical weapons.
With recent chemical weapons attacks allegedly in Salisbury, UK, and Douma, Syria, but without any evidence materializing to that effect, with Russia being involved in both of them to some degree, it’s doggone important that some means to definitively assign the blame on the Russians and Syrians gets hammered out.
The Russians and Syrians simply can’t be allowed to exist in the world with such impunity, because they’re always up to some really bad stuff which is usually undermining freedom and democracy across the civilized world.
Britain, the US and their allies squared off against Russia Tuesday in a high-stakes diplomatic battle seeking to empower the world’s global chemical watchdog with the authority to identify those behind toxic arms attacks.
The meeting opened in The Hague as inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) are also expected to unveil soon a long-awaited report into an alleged sarin and chlorine gas attack in April in the Syrian town of Douma. Medics and rescuers say 40 people were killed.
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was to head up his country’s delegation to a rare special session of the OPCW’s top policy-making body, and was due to address the session later in the day.
“We want to strengthen the Organisation entrusted with overseeing the ban on chemical weapons,” the British delegation said in a tweet.
“We want to empower the @OPCW to identify those responsible for chemical weapons attacks.”
London called the gathering of the OPCW’s state party members after the nerve agent attack in March on former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the English town of Salisbury, which Britain and its allies have blamed on Russia.
There has been growing international concern about repeated allegations of the use of poison gases in the Iraq and Syria conflicts, as well as alarm at the 2017 assassination of the North Korean leader’s half-brother in a rare nerve agent attack in Kuala Lumpur airport.
It is feared that use of deadly chemical weapons, first seen during World War I, is becoming gradually normalised due to the lack of any effective way of holding perpetrators to account.
– ‘No longer a Cold War body’ –
Opening the session, the conference chairman, Abdelouahab Bellouki, said, those responsible for chemical weapons attacks “need to be punished on the basis of true and strong evidence”.
“In spite of different and divergent positions and opinions, we are all committed to constructive cooperation… in order to rid once and for all the world of chemical weapons.”
Tensions ran high from the start Tuesday. It took three hours of a heated back-and-forth between the delegates of Russia, Syria and Iran joining forces against the representatives of the United States and Canada just to adopt the agenda.
The talks will move behind closed doors on Wednesday and possibly linger on until Thursday for a key vote on the British draft decision. It is only the fourth time in the body’s history that such a special session has been convened.
Russia has already denounced the meeting, and the head of the delegation, Georgy Kalamanov, said Moscow would not support Britain’s draft decision and will unveil its own, state news agency RIA Novosti reported.
“We believe that the powers that Britain wants to give to the OPCW are the powers of the UN Security Council and this is the only body which has a right to make such decisions,” he said.
But others, including France and the United States, believe it is time the organisation’s role evolved.
“The mandate of the OPCW must be adapted to the challenges of the 21st century,” said a French diplomat ahead of the talks, asking not to be named.
“It was conceived in an entirely different context to independently verify the proper destruction by the major powers during the Cold War of their chemical weapons stocks.”
– ‘Culture of impunity’ –
A two-thirds majority, minus any abstentions, is needed for Britain’s draft to pass, with about 143 countries out of the OPCW’s 193 attending the meetings, according to an official count.
Russia was reportedly already working behind the scenes to defeat Britain’s proposal.
Moscow wielded its veto power at the UN Security Council to effectively kill off a previous joint UN-OPCW panel aimed at identifying those behind attacks in Syria.
Before its mandate expired in December, the panel known as the JIM (Joint Investigative Mechanism) had determined that the Syrian government used chlorine or sarin gas at least four times against its own civilians. The Islamic State group used mustard gas in 2015.
Outgoing OPCW head Ahmet Uzumcu has said the current situation of impunity is “unsustainable”, warning “a culture of impunity cannot be allowed to develop around the use of chemical weapons”
This would mean that the next time a staged chemical weapons attack takes place, the West can conduct some ‘precision’ strikes before the OPCW gets around to investigating it and then the OPCW can confirm that the strikes were legit because investigations can definitively determine that either the Russians or the Syrians were ‘highly likely’ to have been behind it.