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Chemical Warfare

In: Social Issues

Submitted By socrbrat246
Words 4707
Pages 19
Definition of chemical/Chemicals Used –
Before talking about the use of chemical warfare, I thought it would be best to describe what chemical warfare actually is. It is the use of chemical agents to kill, injure or incapacitate the enemy. An ex-Chemical warfare defense advisor for the Kuwait Ministry of Defense by the name of Hamad Al Hasawi says “It is not a bullet that you can dodge, or something you can go to the hospital and can take out. It is something that you may not know exists when you are walking down a street”. He lists the chemicals sarin, cyclosarin, soman, vx and novichok as the most threatening chemical agents in the world today. Sarin is typically odorless and colorless and takes one minute to kill a person.
-What is Sarin?
Sarin is nerve agent that is colorless, odorless chemical that can kill you as little as a minute, in extreme cases. It was developed by German Researchers in the 1930's and it causes muscle spasms, vision loss, and asphyxia. This chemical is classified as a weapon of mass destruction.
-How is Sarin Delivered?
This is a dangerous chemical that can be deployed as a liquid, or loaded in to missiles and mortars. It can be packaged with other chemicals and converted in to nerve gas or fired from anti-tank guns and shoulder mounted launchers.
Side effects of Syria-
Sarin can be inhaled or absorbed through the skin. It cripples the respiratory central of the central nervous system and paralyzes the muscles around the lungs. This results in death by asphyxiation. The agent could even potentially contaminate food or water supplies. It can also linger in the area for up to six hours. Just a pinpricked-sized droplet is enough to kill a human according to the World Health organization. Exposure symptoms include nausea, violent headaches, blurred vision, drooling, muscle convulsions, respiratory arrest and loss of consciousness. While the chemical normally results in a quick death if it is exposed through the skin death may take up to half an hour.
How to destroy a stockpile of chemical weapons
Chemical weapons can be destroyed easily and safely, but usually not both. 190 nations (including Syria) signed the Chemical Weapons Convention which mandates these nations to destroy their chemical weapon stockpiles. This was first signed in 1993 where most nations disposed of the chemicals by burning, burying, or dumping them in to the sea. All very unsafe options. The O.P.C.W suggests to destroy them by closed incineration or neutralization. To incinerate the chemicals the primary chamber can reach up to 2,700 degrees and the secondary chamber will reach 2,000 degrees. The high temperatures are suppose to break down the toxic chemicals into harmless, or controllable end products. But there is a concern that not every piece will be roasted down to a harmless end product. In some situations small amounts of small agents have been released form the smoke stack.
Environmentalists favor the option of neutralization. During neutralization, another chemical, or a combination of them, is added to the toxic agent in a weapon, causing a chemical reaction that renders it harmless. Typically, Walker said, “the liquid agent is drained from the munitions and mixed in tanks with a hot and caustic reagent.” While hot water alone is sufficient to neutralize mustard gas, but not typically enough for VX. After one of these mixtures ripens for a few months, allowing the reagent to thoroughly react with the chemical, the resulting effluent is referred to as “ hydrolysate". These hydrolysates are not harmless; though no longer “weaponized”—t hey won’t kill you immediately—they remain caustic, with a pH in the range of ten to thirteen, or somewhere around bleach or oven cleaner. As such, they remain classified as hazardous wastes. This way is more lawful then incineration.

Syria’s Chemical Warfare Past and Present-
Why in crisis?-
To understand why Syria is in a chaotic crisis, it is essential to understand the history of the conflict. In the past two years, Syrians protested for economic and political change. President Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian government responded by using violence to control the protestors. The government also suspended “ most constitutional protections, banned spontaneous rallies, restricted media freedom, permitted arbitrary detention and allowed the violent crackdown on protesters to continue.” The oppositions between the Syrian government and the rebels have provoked the civil war, which has forced civilians to flee the country. The rebels have formed the Syrian National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces, in which their main motive is to overthrow the regime and transform Syria into a democratic country. The rebels have created an alliance with the Free Syrian Army, which consists of former soldiers and police officers. In July 2012, the regime threatened “ outside forces” that they would use chemical warfare. And by Spring 2013, there were reports of chemical warfare attacks. On August 21, a chemical warfare attack in the suburbs of Damascus killed over 1,400 people. Post attack, the U.N. called for weapons inspectors to investigate the alleged chemical warfare attack. When inspectors were still trying to reach affected towns, the Syrian government ordered military planes to bomb the area (which made it clear that the regime was responsible for the attack and was trying to hide evidence). The Syrian history of the past two years has created many drastic circumstances—over 100,000 Syrians have been killed, 2 million Syrians have been forced to leave the country and children have not been able to attend school for two years.

President Bashar al-Assad-
President Bashar al-Assad has been the ruler of Syria for the past 13 years. When he began his presidency, he promised a more modern, democratic country for his people. But many say that his promises are empty and have not been delivered. The Human Rights Watch called his first ten years of leadership a “ wasted decade” because the media is being controlled by the regime. For example, the Internet is monitored and censored. Many have said that he is the master of deception; he denied that he has involvement in the decision making of the Syrian military. But former vice president, Adbel Halim Khaddam, stated al-Assad “gives out orders to use all means of force to crush the revolution. He is surrounded by close aides and a security apparatus that advise him, but he decides." Khaddam also stated that al-Assad is completely different from his father, but still is brutal and indecisive. Although al-Assad has promised to make initiatives, like proposing a new constitution and negotiating with terrorists (in January 2013), opposition forces have lost faith in his ability to reform and want to end his presidency.

-What is known about Mr. Assad’s sarin stockpile?
The stockpile of mustard gas started in the 1970's and by the 1980's Assad was converting pesticide plants in to sarin. They now stockpile these agents in 50 locations. They still deny.

Cases of Attacks-
Headway has been made by the UN in the case of attacks in August near Damascus. The UN secretary stated that the last known use of such weapons was in the late 80’s by Saddam Hussein. The chemical weapons containing the agent, sarin which is found in many rockets that are used during the attacks is 20 times more deadly than cyanide. Specifically 3 different times it was used was in the attacks Ein Tarma, Zamalka and Muadhamiya, the chemical does lots of damage to even surrounding areas especially in peoples respiratory systems.
On August 21, 2013 pictures were released of Syrian civilians who were victims of a chemical weapons attack in Damascus.The attack served as a drive for the diplomatic people in efforts to find a way to eliminate the chemical weapons from the Syrian Arab Republic. On September 14, 2013 the Framework for Elimination of Syrian Chemical Weapons reached an agreement between Russia and The US. On this same day the Syrian Arab Republic gave the United Nations Secretary- General, its knowledge and instruments of access to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling, and use of chemical weapons.They then declared that they would comply with the UN.

What may be happening behind closed doors in Syria and their chemical weapons-
On October 7th, according to CNN, Syrians began destroying their country's chemical weapons program. However some are convinced he plan will not work. A defected Syrian general told CNN's Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday that the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will never give up its chemical stockpile.The general said that in addition to four secret locations within Syria, the regime is currently transferring chemical weapons to Iraq and Lebanon, an allegation that the commander of the opposition Free Syrian Army, Gen. Salim Idriss, also recently made to Amanpour.Lebanon and Iraq denied the claims at the time, and CNN's Barbara Starr reported that, if true, the claim would fundamentally shift the assessments of U.S. intelligence officials.

Effects on population-
This article is touching more so on the citizens or victims during this crisis in Syria. More than 11,000 children have died in Syria within the past 3 years due to the chaos and destruction. All of them being the age 17 or younger. The highest death rate of the children was recorded in Aleppo when over 2,000 were killed during an attack. Most of the children killed were boys than girls and a lot of the deaths were caused by snipers. Due to the chemical weapon attacks also caused children to not attend school, which puts them as sitting ducks in their own homes to be killed or even worse right onto the streets.

This article touches on the refugees that are left alone due to all of the chaos in Syria. It is said that it is common for these refugees to make their way to Kilis Turkey. 100 miles they travel to escape to a camp amongst thousands of other refugees. The grossing numbers refugees due to Syria’s misbehavior is creating an entire generation crisis of refugees which number have reached beyond those during the Rwandan genocide and laden during the Balkan War. But unfortunately because of such an increase of people it is scaring Turkey for their camps because now they are skeptical with how many people they will allow in and they fear it will become too overbearing. This specific article follows the Deeb family, and they give their personal comments and feelings about how their lives have been so drastically effected as they are now refugees just trying to keep their families safe.

US and Russian Involvement-
The U.S.- and Russia-brokered deal to have Syria surrender its chemical weapons is proceeding on schedule, United Nations inspectors tell the Wall Street Journal, despite widespread predictions that Syria's civil war would make the effort impossible. The U.N. team had set an ambitious goal of disabling all chemical weapons production equipment by Nov. 1 and said it's on track to finish it in time. U.S-
The U.S. has meddled into Middle Easter affairs not too long ago, so there is the debate on whether or not we should do it again. The use of Chemical Weapons is a threat to the United States national security and it is something we should be concerned with. There is a global prohibition on the use of chemical weapons, and it's use is "making a mockery" of this global rule. The international argument underlies Obama's "question what message will we send if a dictator can gas hundreds of children to death and plain sight and pay no price?" It could also potentially lead to the proliferation to terrorist groups who could do harm to our country and/or our allies. This brings up the next concern, our countries allies.There is concern for our allies, Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq and particularly Israel. The U.S. stated, in a law signed by Obama in July 2012, that the strategic environment in the Middle East poses "great challenges to the national security of the United States and our allies in the region, particularly Israel." Obama states "If we won't enforce accountability in the face of this heinous act, what does it say about our resolve to stand up to others who flout fundamental international rules?" Unlike the invasion of Iraq, the United State's decision to "meddle" in this affair is for our own national security, as well as our allies. Assad's use of chemical weapons is a mis-justice, to say the least, and there should be repercussions for such heinous actions.

This article discusses future plans to break down Syria and have them give up their chemical weapons, because they want to retaliate to those who have been attacking them. The UN has been playing a major role in this effort, and in this case the US are the ones trying to negotiate with Syria to surrender, and also seek help from Russia and Iran. They would like all chemical weapons to be stopped and end production by November, this deal being created by John Kerry in September, because the US is looking to go up against Syria if they don’t stop what they are doing and planning with their weapons. Even if Syria agrees though there is still high doubt that even this action still won’t help Syria as a whole from future attacks. Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad seems to be going along with anything that has been asked of him in small steps, the US does not want to step on any toes just yet to cause their plan to backfire. But thus far, Syria has been cooperating with the US and as of now there are high hopes. Russia & US During the time of dealing with Syria and their chemical weapon production, John Kerry created an idea for all production to seize by November 1st and then there would be no harm and the US wouldn’t have to take action. It was reported that the Israeli aircraft carried out a strike in the city of Latakia. Striking towards Russian weapons which were said to be planned for Lebanon and their Hezbollah. The Israeli’s have not been light on Syria, this being the 6th attack. It is said that this occurred because Syria said all of their tools for creating their weapons were all gone on October 31st, which is the day before Kerry’s deal had said. The weapons used were Russian-made SA-125’s which is shocking to all because the Russians were slowly but surely working with the US to help get the weapons out of Syria and have them surrender, but it seems now that Russia has some of their own plans clearly helping Israel with their weapons to attack. At the same time Russia is still working close with Syria, and their President Assad, whom still supplies his country with weapons. - Syria meets deadline of destroying their weapons for the US deal. Uncovering and destroying 21 of the 23 chemical weapon sites across the country, they were unable to quickly finish the other two because they were so loaded with chemical its was not easy to get rid of as swiftly as the others. This is just another step closing to ending this 2 1/2 year civil war that has killed over 100,000 people in its passing, and obviously is still continuing
- This article is shorter than the others, but it touches on the fact that Barack Obama will be discussing the issue of Syria with Vladimir Putin. This is a major factor considering that Russia has been involved with the Syria crisis since the beginning. President Bashar al-Assad, Obama, and Putin have had their share of disputes over the crisis in Syria, but with close eyes watching Putin at times has seemed more towards Syria than with the thoughts of the US on the topic, which caused ripple effects in their relationships, like when Obama pulled out of the Russian Summit.
The Obama administration is offering to destroy some of Syria's deadliest chemical weapons in international waters aboard a nearly 700-foot, U.S. government-owned ship, No country has committed to disposing of the chemical weapons on its own soil, which is why the U.S. offer to destroy the deadliest of the chemical components at sea is seen as a likely option.Officials said they expect a final decision soon and the operation would begin by the end of the year.
The U.S. would use what it calls a mobile Field Deployable Hydrolysis System to neutralize the chemical material, making it unusable as weapons. The system was developed by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, which is an arm of the Pentagon. The titanium reactor uses heated water and other chemicals to make the chemical warfare material inert.

Other Countries involvement-
Danes could transport Syria's chemical weapons-
Denmark is willing to help Syria take their chemical weapons out and transport them by sea. They are also willing to provide bodyguards to the key UN. A small number of these body guards will also protect Sigrid Kaag, who is the leader of the team charged with destroying Syria's chemical weapons. It is not stated how many ships or personal will be involved. The foreign aid minister Christian Friis Bach stated that they have no plans to destroy the weapons in Denmark. A formal vote in Denmark's parliament is still be to expected.

Recently, about 2 months after the chemical weapon attack, the United Nations has taken action to ensure we eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons and reduce the possibility they will ever be used again. Syria’s chemical weapons facilities are “inoperable,” the Joint Mission of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the United Nations overseeing the destruction of the country’s weapons program. The Joint Mission claims to have verified and destroyed all critical production and mixing/filling equipment of chemical weaponry. The Joint Mission and OPCW inspected 21 of the 23 sites declared by Syria, and 39 of the 41 facilities located at those sites. In addition to these precautions, Syria has also agreed to join the Chemical Weapons Convention. Though the use of chemical warfare again is not entirely preventable, there are actions being taken to prevent such a tragedy of occurring again. Secretary of State John Kerry stated “International inspectors have worked with unprecedented speed to accomplish the first milestone in eliminating Syria’s chemical weapons and reducing the possibility that they will ever be used again,” he also noted that the United States contributed six million dollars to these previously stated efforts. According to the next milestone is going to be on November 15th eliminating the chemical weapon stockpile.

Why Norway won't destroy Syria's chemical weapons
The US was hoping that Norway would take the responsibility and destroy half of Syria's stockpile of mustard gas, and the sarin nerve agent. But Borge Brende, the Norwegian Foreign Minister said they had to drop our request due to time constraints and technical and legal restrictions. Brende said in a news conference that "We don;t have a hydrolysis facility, full capacity for burning the organic waste, nor found an area or port." It was then states that the toxic chemicals are to be transported out of Syria by early January of next year and destroyed by June. A few destinations were thrown around as to where they might occur. Belgium, Albania and the five permanent members of the UN security Council, which includes China, France, UK, US, and Russia. Norway will continue to work with the US to provide economic assistance and humanitarian support in Syria. Norway has also agreed to help Syria's refugees and people in need by pledging $140 million.
Organization for Prohibition and chemical warfare-
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the UN joined together to oversee the destruction of Syria’s weapons and stockpiles. On November 7,2013 they verified 22 of the 23 sites disclosed by Damascus. “The additional site inspected is in the region of Aleppo and was one of the two sites that could not be visited earlier due to safety and security reasons,” said a UN spokesperson. The sites were dismantled and abandoned while showing extensive battle damage. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has stated that there may be a time that the chemical weapons used by Syria and ones to come will be taken out to sea and destroyed out there. Stating that the water will deplete the toxic arsenal. I feel that this idea is odd because then what are all of those toxins going to do to those waters, and that water does flow to other places and effects lands and human beings. What happens to the people that swim in those waters, and i’m sure those waters will slowly but surely effect other parts of the world. There is talking that they either destroy it on a regular ship or on a rig, there are over 1,300 metric tons of the sarin chemical, gases and others. They want to collect the deadliest agents and send them further abroad and have them destroyed within the year. The research done on safety has been compared to the destroying of chemical weapons in Japan during 2004-06. It is a possible task, but must be dealt with very delicately.
OPCW roadmap to destroy Syria's chemical weapons
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons says it has approved a road map to destroy Syria's chemical weapons by the middle of next year.Under the plan, all declared chemical substances and precursors except for isopropanol will be removed from Syria no later than February 5 and the OPCW said it was envisaged that "the most critical chemicals" would be removed from Syria by the end of 2013. In a televised address, Albania's Prime Minister Edi Rama said the country had "no capacity of any kind pertaining to the transport and technological processes involved". Albania is where the destruction of the chemicals was being planned to occur. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of State told media Friday there had been "extensive discussions" with several countries relating to finding a location.

Albania Involvement-
Albania's outrage and history with chemical weapons.
Albania has not yet decided on whether or not to agree to destroying Syria's chemical weapons. In 2002, Albania’s chemical weapons stockpile was discovered by chance in an abandoned bunker. It’s believed to have been imported from China in the mid-1970s by the regime of former Albanian Stalinist dictator Enver Hoxha, although no documentation was ever found. Tirana, the capital of Albania, eliminated more than 18 tons of chemical warfare agents, including mustard, lewisite and chloroacetophenone agents, with US funding and assistance, this cost approximately $45 million, funded under the Nunn-Lugar Act and conducted with the help of the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency. According to US diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks, the containers had to be repackaged after they started to leak hazardous materials in 2008 and plans to construct a hazardous-storage site with the help of the European Union were never completed.
Albanians protest reported plan for their country to dismantle Syrian chemical weapons
5,000 protesters rallied outside of the Albanian Embassy on Thursday November 14, 2013 to demonstrate their anger on Syria's chemical weapons being destroyed in their country. Rumors have been going around that they will be destroying these chemical weapons in a near by country. Albania is a prospect for the simple fact that they have already destroyed their own stockpile. Protesters held up signs and chanted "No to chemical weapons" in fear that if they were destroyed in Albania it would create great harm to their environment.

Future of Syria & how crisis is to be solved-
Obama Administration-
Since Syria is in the midst of a dangerous civil war, President Bashar Assad wants his chemical weapons destroyed outside the country. The Obama administration is searching for a country that would allow the destruction of Syria’s toxic stockpile to take place on its soil. However, only a few nations have been eager to volunteer for a job that could potentially “provoke domestic opposition, create security and environmental challenges and cost tens of millions of dollars.” Although no decisions were made yet regarding this request, Albania (an ally of the US) has considered the operation. However, this is a sensitive topic for Albania, who has banned the use of any chemical weapon after years of importing non-hazardous waste from Europe and also destroying its chemical arsenal back in 2007. Although some Albanian believe this is an unnecessary procedure, others believe it is a strategic way to show that Albania can offer its assistance and show it’s a good member of the international community.

Rebel Groups
Nineteen Syrian rebel groups have decided not to participate in peace talks and “rattled a saber toward those who decide to engage with Bashar al-Assad’s regime.” They refuse to take part in any resolution that does not call for the banishment of the regime and holding it accountable for war crimes. An anticipated conference in Geneva, Switzerland, between regime officials and opposition leaders, has been delayed several times but is scheduled for the end of November. This conference will help negotiate the end of the civil war. Opposition also stated that if Iran attends the Geneva conference, they will refuse to attend. They believe that Iran, one of the regime’s allies, is part of the problem, not the solution.

Transporting Chemicals-
Moving the chemicals for destruction elsewhere is the only real answer. But where? Neither the U.S. nor Russia makes sense. U.S. laws make the import and transport of chemical warfare agents problematic. If that could be finessed, vocal groups representing residents near the demilitarization sites would certainly raise objections. Russia could probably take the chemicals, but getting them there would be hard to negotiate. Given the quantities involved and international restrictions on air transportation of chemicals, shipping offers the most practical means of transportation. However, Turkey might object to allowing the stuff through the Dardanelles straits past its largest city, Istanbul. Denmark and Sweden might not allow it into the Baltic Sea.

Destroying weapons at Sea
Since no country has seemed to be on board with hosting the elimination of Syria's chemical weapons, a new plan has been created. Syria's chemical weapons could be processed and destroyed out at sea, say sources familiar with discussions at the international body in charge of eliminating the toxic arsenal.Confirming the discussion, the OPCW official stressed there had been no decision: "The only thing known at this time is that this is technically feasible," the official said on Tuesday. While other states, notably Japan, have dealt with chemical weapons at sea, mounting such a large and complex operation afloat would be unprecedented, independent experts said.

There is a deadline of December 31 for all major chemicals to be taken off of Syrian soil and destroyed. By February 5 all other hazardous chemicals must also be gone. No country is willing to step in and take over this job. Jen Psaki the State Department spokeswoman said, The Obama administration has struggled to find a partner willing to accept the chemical weapons and appears to be considering the possibility that they could be destroyed at sea. No decision has been made, but “one of the destruction options of the chemicals would be on a ship at sea in an environmentally safe manner”. It is also tricky to get the chemicals to a Syrian port, for them to be destroyed. This is because their chemical weapons are stored at dozens of locations and some of the streets they would need to access to obtain the chemicals are shut down, by the United Nations due to fighting. The chemical weapons are a true treasure for the rebels to seize and gain access too. This whole process of destroying the chemical weapons must be done in a very precise way.…...

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