Senior NSC Official Touts Progress with Syrian Chemical Weapons

Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, a senior National Security Council staffer, praised international weapons inspectors for their efforts to dismantle Syria’s chemical weapons capabilities. In a White House blog post, Sherwood-Randall noted that just a few months ago Syria had one of the largest chemical stockpiles in the world—including mustard gas and the sarin nerve agent. Today, however, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons says it is confident that Syria can no longer produce new chemical weapons. The US and Russia agreed to work together to ensure the destruction of the weapons program in the “fastest and safest manner possible,” noted Sherwood-Randall. Of the $14 million earmarked for this mission, the US has contributed $6 million, according to a Nov. 6 Pentagon release. Despite the progress, US ties with regional allies have frayed—with Saudi Arabia and other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council pushing for more action against Bashar al-Assad’s government. Russia is still aiding Assad with conventional weapons deliveries. Last week, US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford noted in Senate testimony that Assad is more dependent on Russian weapons deliveries, calling them “militarily significant.”