Chemical arms watchdog adopts Syria stockpile plan
BBC News – November 15, 2013
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has unveiled its plan to destroy Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons. The most critical chemicals are scheduled to be removed from the country by the end of the year, and the remaining chemicals are to be removed by February 5. The stockpile will be moved outside of Syrian territory to ensure destruction in the “safest and soonest manner.”
West Faces Challenges in Moving Syrian Chemical Arms Through Battlefields
David Sanger, New York Times – November 17, 2013
The OPCW plan for destroying Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile is causing some concern among officials in Washington. In order to remove the weapons from Syrian territory, the precursor agents will have to be transported over roads that are still active battlegrounds. Security is expected to be provided by the Syrian military; however, doubts still exist about the security of the transportation operation.
Albania Rejects Request to Host Syrian Chemical-Arms Destruction
Global Security Newswire– November 15, 2013
Albania has rejected a request from the U.S. to host the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile. The refusal to aid in the destruction of precursor chemicals came following protests in Tirana, the capital of Albania. The Albanian Prime Minister claimed that his country did not have the capacity to get involved in the destruction process despite the fact that Albania recently completed the destruction of its own chemical weapons. The OPCW has not yet determined a capable host country to destroy Syria’s weapons.
Iran says next nuclear talks will be ‘difficult’
AFP – November 17, 2013
Negotiator Abbas Araqchi has said that the next round of nuclear talks will be difficult following the failed negotiations on November 7 and 8. Much of this difficulty stems from France which has announced its intent to support Israel by demanding four concessions from Iran. These concessions are: placing all nuclear installations under international supervision, suspending 20% enrichment of uranium, reducing the existing uranium stockpile, and halting construction on the Arak heavy water reactor.
Putin: a “Real Chance” to Make a Deal With Iran
Associated Press – November 18, 2013
In contrast to Araqchi, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin expressed optimism that there is a “real chance” that a deal may be reached when P5+1 talks resume. Putin made the statement in a phone conversation with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Monday. Further P5+1 talks will take place this week.
Obama Gets Feinstein Support to Avoid New Iran Sanctions
Terry Atlas & Indira Lakshmanan, Bloomberg – November 15, 2013
President Obama has found an ally in the Senate in an attempt to avoid additional sanctions against Iran while negotiations are still ongoing. Senator Dianne Feinstein issued a statement on Friday questioning the decision of some of her colleagues to try to implement additional sanctions. She argued that additional sanctions “would not lead to a better deal” and added that they “would lead to no deal at all.”
Making the Cut: Reducing the SSBN Force
Hans Kristensen, FAS Strategic Security Blog – November 18, 2013
The new Congressional Budget Office report details several cost saving measures that could be implemented by the Navy to save around $40 billion over the next two decades. In short, reducing the number of active Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines from 14 to 8 by 2020 would save $11 billion, and reducing the planned Ohio replacement fleet by four submarines would save an additional $30 billion.
High-activity radioactive materials removed from Mexico, NNSA says
Oak Ridge Today– November 16, 2013
Medical equipment containing highly radioactive cobalt-60 was removed from an oncology clinic in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico as part of a joint removal mission by NNSA’s Global Threat Reduction Initiative and the Mexican National Commission for Nuclear Security and Safeguards. The material was securely transported by truck to the U.S. where it is being processed and prepared for final disposal. This was part of a larger mission to secure materials that can be used to make improvised nuclear devices by terrorist/criminal organizations.