In the wake of the chemical attacks that occurred on 21 August in Syria, and the ensuing international outcry, this alert highlights the dangers of instrumentalising chemical warfare allegations in pursuit of other policy goals.
On May 7, Russia and the United States agreed to host a conference (in early June in Geneva) with an aim to settling the Syrian crisis. This would be the first occasion that unites Syrian opposition and regime representatives at ministerial level. It also takes place at a time of heightened expectations that a solution to a conflict that has displaced 1.5 million Syrians and cost at least 70,000 lives will finally be found.
While the conference can arguably be seen as a breakthrough in and for itself, a successful outcome depends on a number of delicate factors which are explored in this alert.