Syria chemical weapons monitors win Nobel Peace Prize
BBC News – October 11, 2013
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for its ongoing efforts to oversee the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile. The announcement comes just days after a press conference held by the OPCW detailing the progress of the disarmament process thus far. Currently a small group of inspectors are on the ground in Syria to inspect the first chemical weapons facilities ahead of a second team arriving next week.
Air raids and clashes near Syrian chemical weapons site
Dominic Evans, Reuters – October 11, 2013
In the past week, the OPCW has visited three chemical weapons facilities in Syrian government controlled areas. Today, however, highlighted the challenges facing weapons inspectors in rebel controlled neighborhoods. The Syrian Air Force has reportedly begun bombarding rebel targets near a chemical weapons facility in Safira. The air raid seems to be an attempt by the Syrian government to clear the area of rebels to allow weapons inspectors access to the facility.
NNSA Funding Bill Floated in House
Global Security Newswire – October 10, 2013
The House of Representatives may consider a bill that would restore funding to the National Nuclear Security Administration through December 15th. This bill would also include funding for the intelligence community and border security. It is not clear if the House will vote on the bill or not, but the earliest vote could come today.
Nation’s Nuclear Weapons Labs Prep for Shutdown
Eric Mack, Forbes – October 10, 2013
Following news of the “orderly shutdown” of the Oak Ridge National Security Complex, it has been announced that the Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories will be shut down by October 21st. Most of the 18,000 employees of the two labs will be furloughed until the government shutdown ends or Congress approves funding to NNSA which operates the two labs. Other sites like the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory are also reportedly receiving similar shutdown notices from NNSA.
Western powers talk disarmament, upgrade what’s left
Fredrik Dahl, Reuters – October 10, 2013
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute has estimated that there are roughly 17,000 nuclear warheads around the world; this number is down by about 75% of the total about thirty years ago. Despite this decrease, all of the major nuclear armed states are currently in the process of or are considering modernizing their arsenals. These countries are the United States, China, Russia, France, and the United Kingdom. This has become a point of criticism for those in the nonproliferation community who argue that countries, like the United States, advocate for disarmament while in process of upgrading their own stockpiles.
General in Charge of ICBMs Fired
Robert Burns, Associated Press – October 11, 2013
The Air Force has announced that it has fired Major General Michael Carey for alleged “personal misbehavior.” The Air Force said that the firing came as the result of an investigation into apparent gambling issues. Maj. Gen. Carey was in command of the 20th Air Force which oversees about 450 missiles at three different bases.
On Iran Talks, Congress Could Play ‘Bad Cop’
Mark Landler, New York Times – October 11, 2013
The sanctions bill passed by the House in July is currently in the hands of the Senate Banking Committee and could move forward to a debate in the coming weeks. The committee chairman, Senator Tim Johnson has agreed to temporarily hold off on the debate at the request of Secretary of State John Kerry so as to allow diplomats an opportunity to negotiate with Iranian officials next week. However, if the bill passes through the committee and moves to the Senate floor, observers worry that this could harm any chance for negotiations with the Iranian government.