Message To Syria: You Can't Use Chemical Weapons On Foreigners, Either | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Filed Under:

Message To Syria: You Can't Use Chemical Weapons On Foreigners, Either

Headlines today about one of the latest statements from the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad have tended to focus on the news that a spokesman says the government would never use chemical or biological weapons against its own people.

The stories take two angles: One, that this confirms Syria has such weapons; two, that it's good the regime says it won't use them on civilians.

Of course, the regime has also pledged to abide by a ceasefire brokered by former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, and in the ensuing weeks the bloodshed in Syria has continued.

But beyond that, there's this: By threatening instead to use its chemical or biological weapons against "external aggression," the regime is still going up against "customary international humanitarian law." This may sound obvious, but countries aren't supposed to use such weapons. Check this passage from the International Committee of the Red Cross:

"According to customary international humanitarian law which is binding on all States and on all parties to an armed conflict, the use of biological and chemical weapons is prohibited.

"This norm is based on the ancient taboo against the use in war of 'plague and poison,' which has been passed down for generations in diverse cultures. It was most recently codified in the 1925 Geneva Protocol and subsequently in the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention and in the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Telling Crimea's Story Through Children's Books

Blending history, myth and geopolitics, Lily Hyde uses fairy tales to teach children and young adults about Eastern European history. To cover the current unrest, though, she's put fiction on hold.
NPR

How Foster Farms Is Solving The Case Of The Mystery Salmonella

Foster Farms has been accused of poisoning its customers with salmonella bacteria. But in recent months, the company has become a leader in the poultry industry's fight against the foodborne pathogen.
WAMU 88.5

Former Head Of INS Weighs In On White House Immigration Policy

Doris Meissner was the head of Immigration and Naturalization Services under President Bill Clinton, and she speaks with Armando Trull about the constraints on the current president as he seeks to handle the immigration crisis.

NPR

Science Crowns Mozzarella The King Of Pizza Cheese

Why do some cheeses melt and caramelize better than others? Researchers used high-tech cameras and special software to figure it out.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.