There seems to be some understanding between the United Nations and Damascus over the issue of inspections.
After delaying tactics, both the parties concerned have agreed to go ahead to probe into the allegations that Syria used chemical agents against its people. The UN team, which had been stranded in Cyprus for the last several months, is now on its way to Damascus. This is a promising development. Irrespective of its outcome, the inspections will at least kick-start a dialogue process between the powers-that-be, and then gradually lead to broadening of understanding over issues of peace and security.
Under an agreement reached with Damascus, the UN team will visit three sites and see for itself whether toxic agents were used or not. The mission that had disagreement over the scope of the investigation has now got the green signal, and is limited to reporting whether chemical weapons were actually used and which ones, but it will not determine responsibility for any attacks. Though half-hearted, it could be the way to go ahead. The 10-member investigating team under Swedish arms expert Ake Sellstroem has a responsibility to deliver and that shouldn’t be restricted to just probing into a past event. The thrust of the mission should be to reach the real victims and expose the principal characters behind the usage of chemical agents, if any. This in no way in contravention to the agreed terms and conditions, but would be an apt way out to suggest measures to read the crises in its totality.
Syrians have already witnessed 100,000 casualties since the uprising begun, and President Bashar Al Assad now sits on the mounds of the dead and destructed property. The war-torn country is far from being governed and it is no more than battlefields for rebels and pro-Assad forces. Damascus’ claim that it has nothing to hide is up for a litmus test.