The Week Ahead Sept. 14-20: Syria UN Report; Planning for International Control; Arab-Israeli Nuclear Politics

WeekAheadSOLOThis bulletin highlights significant events in the world of arms control in the coming week, as compiled by staff and friends of the Arms Control Association. (Send your suggestions here.)

- Jefferson Morley,
Senior Editorial Consultant, Arms Control Today

UN Report on Syria's Chemical Weapons Due on Monday

The U.N. chemical weapons inspectors are expected to deliver their report on a suspected Aug. 21 nerve agent attack in the suburbs of Damascus to Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon on Monday or sooner, according to Foreign Policy magazine, and other news organizations. The report is expected to provide a strong circumstantial case – based on an examination of spent rocket casings, ammunition, and laboratory tests of soil, blood, and urine samples – for Syrian government culpability.

U.S. and Russia in Talks About Dismantling Syria's Chemical Arsenal

With Syria's agreement to join the Chemical Weapons Convention on Sept. 12, U.S. and Russian officials are continuing to talks on a plan for accounting for, controlling, and eventually, verifiably destroying Syria's chemical weapons arsenal. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which is in charge of implementation and verification of the Convention, says it is reviewing Syria's request for technical assistance.

In a Russian TV interview Thursday, President Bashar Assad said his government will start handing over information on its chemical weapons to international organizations within 30 days if the threat of military action is removed. But U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says he will insist on a much shorter timeline for compliance and that the threat of military force is what led Assad to accede to the CWC. France has proposed a draft U.N. resolution giving Syrian government 15 days to submit a "complete and definitive" declaration of its chemical arsenal.

ACA executive director Daryl Kimball and ACA Board member Paul Walker explain "How to Secure Syria's Chemical Weapons."

Arab States to Put Spotlight on Israel at IAEA General Conference

It is widely expected that a group of 18 Arab states will pursue the adoption of a resolution on Israel's nuclear capabilities at the International Atomic Energy Agency's Sept. 16-20 General Conference in Vienna. The move is a reaction to the failure to convene a meeting on the establishment of a WMD Free Zone in the Middle East that was to have been held before the end of 2012.

For more, see: "Israel Back on Agenda of IAEA Conference," in Arms Control Today, Sept. 2013.