US' New Plan: Burn Syria's Weapons at Sea
Or rather, it might have someone else do it
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 20, 2013 9:00 AM CST
The USS San Antonio is seen off the Malta Island in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Lino Azzopardi)

(Newser) – Countries all over the world want Syria's chemical weapons destroyed—just not on their soil. Albania turned down a request to destroy the weapons there last week, after thousands of people took to the streets in protest, and Norway begged off an earlier request. So the US is pitching a new proposal: Burn them at sea. Under the US plan, the precursor chemicals would be fed into five large incinerators aboard a barge in international waters, officials tell the New York Times.

The US won't actually supply any ships or personnel to help implement the plan, though American military might help provide security. Instead, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons would oversee the operation based on US and EU safety protocols. The incinerators aren't the only option though; the Pentagon could instead use its new Field Depolyable Hydrolysis System, a sophisticated mobile system that converts chemical agents into harmless compounds. Officials wouldn't say whether the proposals would involve dumping chemical residue into the ocean.