Plan to Remove Syria’s Chemical Weapons Hits a Snag

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Photo: © Bassem Tellawi/Xinhua Press/Corbis

So far, the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons arsenal has gone surprisingly well, but apparently taking "cutting torches and angle grinders" to machinery only goes so far. The next step is to destroy the actual chemicals, and according to the New York Times officials are understandably concerned as that involves "transporting the weapons over roads that are battlegrounds in the country’s civil war and loading them onto a ship that has no place to go." Plans to destroy the munitions in Syria were abandoned because they'd require too many outside troops, and no other country is eager to deal with the 600 tons of precursor chemicals on their own soil. If the truck convoys do make it across the war-torn country, the weapons may end up on cargo ships that the Times says, "could become the weapons equivalent of a barge loaded with garbage that left Long Island in 1987 but could not find a place to unload for four months." But, you know, with deadly chemicals instead of old refrigerators and cardboard boxes.