Fear of total non-cooperation paralyzes inspection process.
We are told that the Obama administration, its successor and European governments will strictly enforce Iran’s adherence to the nuclear deal.
Put aside for the moment the problems with the deal, and focus on compliance. Put aside also that Iran has a history of cheating on nuclear issues.
We have a recent example of how the West will become complicit in non-compliance. In Syria, The Wall Street Journal reports, Mission to Purge Syria of Chemical Weapons Comes Up Short (paywall):
…. One year after the West celebrated the removal of Syria’s arsenal as a foreign-policy success, U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that the regime didn’t give up all of the chemical weapons it was supposed to.
An examination of last year’s international effort to rid Syria of chemical weapons, based on interviews with many of the inspectors and U.S. and European officials who were involved, shows the extent to which the Syrian regime controlled where inspectors went, what they saw and, in turn, what they accomplished. That happened in large part because of the ground rules under which the inspectors were allowed into the country, according to the inspectors and officials….
Demanding greater access and fuller disclosures by the regime, they say, might have meant getting no cooperation at all, jeopardizing the entire removal effort.
That is a key point with Iran too — the fear that Iran will simply back out of the agreement by claiming Western non-compliance will cause the West to back away for fear of losing all compliance.
The WSJ article continues noting that control on the ground gave Syria a huge advantage, and Russia ran interference for Syria (as it will do for Iran on compliance issued):
Because the regime was responsible for providing security, it had an effective veto over inspectors’ movements. The team decided it couldn’t afford to antagonize its hosts, explains one of the inspectors, or it “would lose all access to all sites.” And the inspectors decided they couldn’t visit some sites in contested areas, fearing rebels would attack them.
Under the terms of their deployment, the inspectors had access only to sites that the Assad regime had declared were part of its chemical-weapons program. The U.S. and other powers had the right to demand access to undeclared sites if they had evidence they were part of the chemical-weapons program. But that right was never exercised, in part, inspectors and Western officials say, because their governments didn’t want a standoff with the regime.
Russia, Mr. Assad’s longtime ally, had used its clout at the U.N. and the OPCW to limit the mandate of the inspectors, preventing them from accusing the regime directly of using chemical weapons, such as in the 2013 sarin attack.
The U.S. and U.N. inspectors suspected non-compliance all along, but didn’t press the issue for fear that Syria would withdraw any cooperation:
The big question looming over the whole operation was how forthcoming the regime had been about the scope of its chemical-weapons work. As the inspections were beginning, in private briefings for U.N. and congressional officials, U.S. intelligence agencies gave the regime an informal grade of B-plus for truthfulness, according to U.S. and U.N. officials….
When U.N. officials pressed the matter, the Syrians said they had destroyed hundreds of tons of mustard agent in fire pits before agreeing to the inspections. The inspectors were skeptical, noting that it had taken other countries decades to destroy similarly large stockpiles….
Members of the inspection team didn’t push for answers, worried that it would compromise their primary objective of getting the regime to surrender the 1,300 tons of chemicals it admitted to having. “It was a question of priorities,” says one team member.
Obama continues to obfuscate, even as U.S. intelligence agencies are convinced of Assad’s non compliance (quote from WSJ):
Earlier this year, American intelligence agencies tracked the regime’s increasing use of chlorine-filled bombs. The weapons-removal deal didn’t curtail the work of Syria’s weapons scientists, allowing the regime to develop more effective chlorine bombs, say U.S. officials briefed on the intelligence. The regime denies using chlorine.
The CIA had been confident that Mr. Assad destroyed all of the chemical weapons it thought he possessed when the weapons-removal deal was struck. In recent weeks, the CIA concluded that the intelligence picture had changed and that there was a growing body of evidence Mr. Assad kept caches of banned chemicals, according to U.S. officials.
The WSJ article has enormous detail, it’s a shame it’s behind a paywall, but that’s its business model.
The Syria experience will be positive relative to what we can expect in Iran, where there will be business interests on top of fears of non-cooperation.
Already, European governments and businesses are fighting to be first to feed at the Iranian trough funded with over $100 billion influx into the Iranian economy through lifted sanctions.
The Iran nuke deal will end the way the Syrian chemical weapons deal ended. Badly.
[Featured Image: Obama announcement of Iran nuclear deal.]DONATE
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.