With speculation in the air that this year’s Nobel Peace Prize may go to young Pakistani education-rights activist Malala Yousafzai or Chinese human-rights activist Hu Jia, the award went to the UN-backed organization working on wrangling in Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapons stockpile.
Like the award given to President Obama at the beginning of his first term, this Nobel is on the presumptive side. Reports have already been flowing from Syria about Assad shuffling and hiding his chemical weapons to avoid their disposal in the deal struck by Russia to avoid strikes.
“The locations of most of the scientific research centers in Syria and the storage facilities are known and under surveillance,” defected Brigadier General Zaher al-Sakat told CNN. “Thus, he [Assad] will give up those centers and facilities for sure without lying. That said however, Bashar al-Assad will not give up the chemical stockpile.” Meanwhile, the stockpile has been going to Iran and Hezbollah while the details of inspections are worked out.
The Nobel committee awarded this year’s prize to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) “for its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons.”
“The conventions and the work of the OPCW have defined the use of chemical weapons as a taboo under international law. Recent events in Syria, where chemical weapons have again been put to use, have underlined the need to enhance the efforts to do away with such weapons. Some states are still not members of the OPCW. Certain states have not observed the deadline, which was April 2012, for destroying their chemical weapons. This applies especially to the USA and Russia,” the Nobel press release said.
“Disarmament figures prominently in Alfred Nobel’s will. The Norwegian Nobel Committee has through numerous prizes underlined the need to do away with nuclear weapons. By means of the present award to the OPCW, the Committee is seeking to contribute to the elimination of chemical weapons.”
The OPCW is located in The Hague, Netherlands, and tries to enforce the Chemical Weapons Convention.
Secretary of State John Kerry said the Nobel committee “rightly recognized their bravery and resolve to carry out this vital mission amid an ongoing war in Syria.”
“The world will never forget the loss of the more than 1,000 innocent Syrians senselessly killed with chemical weapons on Aug. 21. There could be no more stark reminder why for almost 100 years, the international community has deemed the use of these weapons far beyond the bounds of acceptable conduct,” Kerry said in a statement.
“Since that horrific attack, the OPCW has taken extraordinary steps and worked with unprecedented speed to address this blatant violation of international norms that shocked the conscience of people around the world. Just a few weeks ago, a united international community came together at the OPCW and the United Nations to establish a clear path toward eliminating Syria’s chemical weapons forever. And last week, OPCW inspectors, backed by the full weight of the United Nations, took the first, critical steps toward that goal.”