Syrian chemical weapons deal puts pressure on Israel to sign weapons treaties

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John Kerry landed in Israel yesterday after meeting with with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Geneva to iron out a deal over Syria’s chemical weapons disposal. Although the trip to Israel was hyped in some quarters as “a personal mission to try to achieve a long-elusive peace deal between Israel and the PA”, Barak Ravid reporting in Haaretz  zeros in on a topic we discussed earlier, Will Kerry ask Israel to ratify chemical weapons treaty, with Syria plan afoot?:

When U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrives at the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem on Sunday, he will present Benjamin Netanyahu with a detailed outline of the agreement to dismantle Syria’s chemical weapons.

After the consultants leave the two for a tete-a-tete, Kerry may make a request that has been keeping quite a few top Israeli defense officials awake at night.

Kerry may tell Netanyahu the United States is working to remove one of the gravest threats on Israel’s security, by combining a credible military threat with creative diplomacy. Now, Kerry may say, the U.S. needs Israel’s help by ratifying the treaty prohibiting the use of chemical weapons.

Presumably, senior officials in the Prime Minister’s Office have been playing this scenario in their heads in recent days.


The ministry distributed a short set of guidelines to embassies abroad. Due to the issue’s sensitivity, the diplomats were instructed to use the guidelines only if specifically asked about the matter.

In the last few days, the Syrian regime has intimated that, in addition to its willingness to get rid of its chemical weapons, Israel own stockpile of chemical weapons (according to foreign media) must also be discussed.

And what of Israel’s nuclear weapons? Ravid claimed “Israeli military deterrence stems from its nuclear ambiguity ” (ha!) but mentioned the U.S. and Russia have been “asking Israel for several years to ratify the chemical weapons treaty, but Israel refuses to do so.” Readers may recall the U.S. backed out of a high-profile Nuclear Nonproliferation conference on banning of WMD’s in the Middle East set to take place in last December, after Iran agreed to show up. Hence, the conference, in Helsinki, Finland, was scrapped altogether.

From Nov. 10, 2012, AP Mideast Nuclear talks called off:

Its key sponsors were the U.S., Russia and Britain, but they said such as meeting was only possible if all countries – especially Israel -agreed to attend.

…..The decision to postpone, if not to scrap it, will cast doubt on the significance of the NPT and its attempts every five years to advance nonproliferation. Any new attempt is unlikely until the NPT conference meets again in 2015.

Hopes for such a meeting were alive as recently as Tuesday, when Iran joined Arab nations in saying that it planned to attend, leaving Israel as the only undecided country.


While Syria’s civil war, nuclear tensions with Iran and other Mideast frictions will be cited as the official reason for the cancellation, one of the diplomats acknowledged that the decision is mainly being taken because Israel has decided not to attend……the Russians have opposed declaring the meeting dead at this point.


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It is likely that at some point Assad and allies will play the Israeli card (i.e. I do that if they do that and that) but he has a problem in doing so because right now he is in the firing line and dragging the ever complicated “Israel Saga” will be seen as stalling and looking for excuses to avoid doing what he agreed to. In normal times it would have had some power but… Read more »

Sorry but anyone who believes Israel is being pressured is highly naive. West supports the deterrence of Israel.

RE: “Syrian chemical weapons deal puts pressure on Israel to sign weapons treaties” MY COMMENT: If Obama asks the Israelis to ratify the chemical weapons treaty, who are they to refuse?!?! [LOL] RECENTLY IN THE NEWS: [EXCERPT] . . . “It is a major dilemma, what Israel should do on the Hill,” a senior Israeli official said Monday, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of a dictate from Mr. Netanyahu not to discuss the… Read more »

the loathsome Michael Oren in the JP: “The initial message about the Syrian issue was that we always wanted [President] Bashar Assad to go, we always preferred the bad guys who weren’t backed by Iran to the bad guys who were backed by Iran,” he said. This was the case, he said, even if the other “bad guys” were affiliated to al-Qaida. “We understand that they are pretty bad guys,” he said, adding that this… Read more »