• IISS Voices

    Dina Esfandiary: Syria and the removal of chemical weapons

    25 June 2014.  By Dina Esfandiary, Research Associate, Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Programme This week the remaining stockpiles of chemical weapons were shipped out of Syria, according to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The result? 100% of Syria’s declared chemical weapons stockpiles have been destroyed or removed from the country. This represents a significant victory, but many problems still remain – most notably, the continued use of chemical agents, which puts...

  • Politics and Strategy

    Mark Fitzpatrick: Agenda setting for a Helsinki Conference on a Middle East WMD-free zone

    14 May 2014.  In a busy month of non-proliferation diplomacy – an NPT-related confab in New York during the last two weeks; talks in Vienna this week on the Iran nuclear issue; consternation in The Hague over Syria’s failure to ship out its chemical weapons; and ongoing consultations elsewhere on how to respond if/when North Korea tests another nuclear device – one other quiet diplomatic discussion is taking place in Geneva today that...

  • Strategic Comments

    Syria's war: Assad gains upper hand

    08 May 2014. 

    The regime of President Bashar al-Assad finds itself in a better situation than at any point since early 2012. But while its survival is no longer in question in the medium term, its ability to rebuild the pretence of a state remains in doubt, given its limited resources, internal contradictions and the reality of soft partition.

  • Strategic Comments

    Elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons stalls

    16 April 2014. 

    Important progress has been made towards the elimination of Syria's chemicals-weapons programme. But the process relies on the goodwill of Damascus, which has fallen behind on its targets for the removal of chemicals.

  • Politics and Strategy

    Mark Fitzpatrick: Fading optimism on Syria CW destruction plan

    28 February 2014.  Having waxed optimistically last year about the Syrian chemical weapons (CW) destruction deal, it is time I recognise publically that things have not been going so well of late. From the day in early September, when Russia proposed that Syria put its CW under international control for destruction, through to December, the process went amazingly well. Syria signed the Chemical Weapons Convention, declared its stockpiles and gave the Organisation for the...

  • IISS Voices

    Mark Fitzpatrick: Ways forward for Iran nuclear deal

    07 February 2014.  By Mark Fitzpatrick, Director, Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Programme As I explained in my last post, the interim Iran nuclear deal is good as far as it goes, but the chances of reaching a long-lasting comprehensive agreement are quite low: no more than 10%. There is also a 10% possibility that diplomacy will break down altogether. In my 3 February talk at IISS, I ticked off some of the events that could...

  • IISS Voices

    Six reasons why I’m optimistic about the Iranian nuclear deal, and two reasons why not

    04 February 2014.  By Mark Fitzpatrick, Director, Non-proliferation and Disarmament Programme After years of international tensions over Iran’s nuclear programme, this has been a winter of diplomatic progress. Following on from the 24 November Joint Plan of Action that capped Iran’s nuclear capabilities and the 13 January agreement on the technical understandings, the six powers – the US, UK, France, Germany, China, Russia – will meet with Iran on 18 February to begin negotiations...

  • Manama Voices

    Dina Esfandiary: Syria CW plan will only get more difficult

    03 December 2013.  اقرأ باللغة العربية By Dina Esfandiary, Research Associate, Non-proliferation and Disarmament Programme In the last few weeks, all the deadlines set in the plan to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons (CW) were met, to everyone’s surprise (and delight). But the optimism was short-lived, as it became clear that the hardest part was yet to come. As the process continues, it will be both more difficult, and more crucial, to keep to the ambitious...

  • The Syria Conflict

    Dina Esfandiary: Syria CW plan will only get more difficult

    03 December 2013.  By Dina Esfandiary, Research Associate, Non-proliferation and Disarmament Programme In the last few weeks, all the deadlines set in the plan to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons (CW) were met, to everyone’s surprise (and delight). But the optimism was short-lived, as it became clear that the hardest part was yet to come. As the process continues, it will be both more difficult, and more crucial, to keep to the ambitious timeline. In...

  • Survival

    Destroying Syria’s Chemical Weapons

    29 November 2013. 

    There are many ways the plan could go wrong, but initially it has worked better than expected. If this positive course continues there will be far-reaching benefits.

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