The United States is looking at new classified intelligence indicating the Syrian government may not fully declare its chemical weapons stockpile, CNN has learned. That would mean Syria will still have a secret cache of chemical weapons after the agreed-upon destruction of its declared weapons is carried out.
The intelligence is not definitive, but “there are various threads of information that would shake our confidence,” one U.S. official said. “They have done things recently that suggest Syria is not ready to get rid of all their chemical weapons.”
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By Alex Isenstadt
The 2014 midterm just got a lot more interesting.
The twin dramas of the government shutdown and botched rollout of Obamacare have snapped a sleepy 2014 election season out of its slumber, sharpening the battle lines for each party and setting the stage for a consequential midterm that few expected even two months ago.
The spring and summer months were filled with charges and countercharges about the Internal Revenue Service, wiretapping, Syria and immigration. Politicians recycled old attack lines and operatives confidently predicted control of Congress would remain status quo after next November.
No more. The parties’ competing political narratives — the dangers of a tea party-controlled party versus the perils of President Barack Obama’s far-reaching health care law — have been thrown into sharp relief the past several weeks. Now each party has something tangible to point to — that touch voters’ lives in concrete ways — to argue that the other should be booted from office.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/10/shutdown-obamacare-2014-midterm-election-98989.html#ixzz2j6Tl2Jnu
By Becky Bratu, Staff Writer, NBC News
Khaled Al-Hariri / Reuters
U.N. vehicles transporting a team of experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) return to their hotel in Damascus on Oct. 6.
A team of international experts began the process of destroying Syria’s chemical weapons on Sunday, according to the United Nations.
The group consists of international inspectors from the Netherlands-based watchdog Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons along with a U.N. team.
Under their supervision, “Syrian personnel used cutting torches and angle grinders to destroy or disable a range of items,” said Eri Kaneko, associate spokeswoman for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon‘s office.
“This included missile warheads, aerial bombs and mixing and filling equipment. The process will continue in the coming days,” she added.
The disarmament team arrived in Damascus on Tuesday.
Their mission follows a deadly chemical attack on Aug. 21 aimed at Damascus suburbs under the control of rebel fighters.
While the United States, its allies and the opposition blame the regime of the embattled President Bashar Assad for the attack that killed hundreds, the Syrian government has blamed the rebels.
The attack also prompted the Obama administration to threaten the Syrian regime with military strikes, which set off weeks of diplomatic negotiations that ended with a U.N. resolution on Sept. 27.
More than 100,000 have died since the conflict in Syria began in 2011 with demonstrations that have since degenerated into a bloody civil war.