Analysis of Competing Hypotheses
INTL402 Assignment 2
INTL402 – Intelligence Analysis
20 September 2013
Analysis of Competing Hypotheses
Introduction to the Intelligence Question:
Will Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad honor his agreement with the International Community to dispose of the Syrian chemical weapons arsenal? What started as a peaceful demonstration during the Arab Spring of 2011, quickly escalated into violence as Syrian government forces responded to pockets of hardened protestors with extreme and deadly force. This caused the protest to turn in a negative direction, marking the beginning of the Syrian Civil War. As the fighting continued between the Syrian government forces and the newly formed rebel forces, consisting of defected Syrian military members and regular citizens, chemical weapons were introduced into the battlefield. This resulted in heightened international attention and a call for the demise of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad from the United States, France, Israel, and other nations. On the other side, Russia and Iran opposed any military action against Syria, specifically without United Nations approval. Thus a global debate began. With the U.S. on the brink of executing a precise military strike against Assad, Russia and the U.S. met to propose a diplomatic course of action. Subsequent to the meeting, the two nations developed a plan to remove and destroy Syria’s chemical weapons program without resorting to a strike. The U.S. agreed albeit, still vocalized that military action is still a possiblity if Assad fails to follow through with the process. The only question now is, will Assad hand over Syria’s chemical weapons program, and in accordance with the shortened timeline?
H1: Assad will completely turn over the chemical weapons program. H2: Assad does not turn over the chemical weapons program.
H3: Assad turns over a portion of the program, but not in its entirety.
Evidence to support H1:
E1: President Assad delivered a list of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile, meeting the first deadline agreed upon in the Framework for Elimination of Syrian Chemical Weapons.1 E2: Assad publicly proclaimed unconditional support to cooperate in removing Syria’s chemical weapons program2 E3: The threat of U.S. military strike if the conditions of the agreement are not met.3 E4: Assad has been a proponent of a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction and chemical weapons since he first propositioned the United Nations in 2001.4 E5: Prior to the chemical weapons attack, Syria was in negotiations with regional countries to route a natural gas pipeline out of Syria. This move is seen as economically viable for Syria and can be argued that it is imperative Assad works with the international community to prevent being labeled a war criminal.5 Evidence against H1:
E6: Because the Syrian government moves chemical weapons around the country to and from places previously undisclosed as storage areas it brings into question Assad’s motivations and possible indicates an unwillingness to fully comply with the identification and removal process.6 E7: Normally, a nation has 60 day to conform to the declaration of weapons, however, the Assad regime was given seven days. Then, Assad has to have the entire chemical weapons program removed by early 2014. Assad has already verbalized the difficulty in this compressed timeline and stated it will take well over a year to complete.7 E8: Assad’s regime possesses the chemical weapons as a mean to balance power with its enemies who also have such weapons. The two nations of Israel and Saudi Arabia have yet to ratify the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention. Additionally, non-state actors such as the Syrian rebels and their supports are assessed to have chemical weapons.8 E9: The removal of Syria’s...
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