In the early 1990’s the UN rid Iraq of chemical weapons. But in 2003 a US-led military campaign toppled the regime and Saddam Hussein was eventually hanged. In 2007 Libya gave up its Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) programmes and Moammar Gadhafi was literally embraced by Tony Blair and welcomed into the club of acceptable leaders. Yet, in 2011, NATO forces – albeit with a UN mandate – led an attack Libya in support of a popular uprising, and Gaddafi was eventually beaten to death.
On the other hand, even when the US until recently planned to attack Syria – citing the use of WMD as justification – it threatened only limited strikes. Furthermore, North Korea – arguably the most “rogue” of all the “rogue states” – has had the bomb since 2006 and despite being one of George Bush’s “Axis of Evil’ states, it has avoided any military attack.
Not withstanding the fact that both Saddam and Gaddafi were brutal and oppressive dictators, and violent demise was probably all that they deserved, for those at the helm of the rest of the world’s “rogue states”, isn’t the lesson from these events simply that: there is no security at all without WMD.
Thus: it is probably safe to assume that Mr. Asad will stall on the actual disarmament of his WMDs for as long as he can. It’s also very unlikely that we’ll see any more voluntary disarmament comparable to Gadhafi’s again anytime soon.