Interview: Commentary on the OPCW and the Nobel Peace Prize

Institute for Public Accuracy October 27, 2013
Nobel Prize for OPCW: Examining Both Organizations,
Institute for Public Accuracy October 11, 2013
STEPHEN ZUNES, Professor of politics and chair of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of San Francisco, wrote the piece “The U.S. and Chemical Weapons: No Leg to Stand On.”

He said today: “Under the Bush administration, the OPCW and its leadership was attacked and undermined because it dared to use inspections rather than unsubstantiated claims to determine the existence of these dangerous arsenals and peaceful means rather than war to eliminate them. Under the five years of tireless leadership under Jose Bustani, a Brazilian diplomat, the number of signatories of the treaty grew from 87 to 145 nations, the fastest growth rate of any international organization in recent decades, and his inspectors oversaw the destruction of two million chemical weapons, constituting two-thirds of the world’s chemical weapons facilities. However, because he insisted that the OPCW inspect U.S. chemical weapons facilities with the same vigor it did for other countries and his efforts to get Saddam Hussein’s Iraq to sign the Chemical Weapons Convention and open their facilities to surprise inspections would undermine U.S. claims that Iraq was still developing them, the Bush administration successfully forced his removal…

“The subsequent OPCW leadership has been far weaker and more averse to challenging great power prerogatives, as indicated by the fact that they are currently in the process of eliminating Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal while the vast stockpiles belonging to U.S. allies Israel and Egypt remain intact. Nevertheless, the fact that the OPCW exists made it possible to avoid a U.S. attack on Syria and the likely disastrous consequences that would have resulted.”