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9. Chemical and biological weapon developments and control



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More than anything else, political will appears
to be the key to both the successful implementation of the Chemical
Weapons Convention (CWC) and the achievement of a meaningful
protocol to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC).
In 1999 agreement on a range of technical matters ensured the
steady advancement of the CWC treaty-building process and the
negotiation of the protocol to the BTWC.

Russia’s internal political, social and economic problems
raised questions about its ability to meet and enforce its treaty
obligations. Russia was the only declared possessor not to have
started the destruction of its chemical weapon stockpile. Taking
Russia’s domestic situation into consideration, the Fifth
Conference of States Parties to the CWC (meeting on 15–19
May 2000) agreed to the Russian request to have the first destruction
deadline extended. Serious international concern persists that
Russia still has illegal biological weapon programmes.

During 1999 the USA was increasingly perceived as not fully committed
to multilateral chemical and biological weapon (CBW) disarmament.
It strongly opposed compliance mechanisms for the future BTWC
regime and was in technical non-compliance with the CWC regarding
initial industry declarations. Prior to the Fifth Conference
of States Parties to the CWC the United States submitted the
required declarations, which eased tensions among the states
parties. In 1999 the US Congress reduced the appropriations for
assistance programmes that provide funding to eliminate or prevent
the proliferation of CBW in Russia.

Proliferation of CBW remained a major concern in 1999. Some states
are unwilling to join the CWC despite the effect on their national
economies in terms of reduced access to certain key chemicals
for their industry as of 29 April 2000. This may indicate a determination
to maintain major CBW armament programmes in the face of strengthening
international norms. 


Appendix 9A. Risk assessment of terrorism with chemical and biological weapons


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In the light of the potential consequences of a terrorist attack
with chemical and biological weapons (CBW), no government can
remain unprepared. CBW represent a new qualitative element in
the terrorist threat. Applying a multi-disciplinary approach
to the question of CBW terrorism, the authors analyse the requirements
for setting up terrorist CBW acquisition programmes, profile
terrorist organizations and present computer models of the release
of chemical or biological warfare agents using realistic parameters.

The processes for manufacturing and disseminating CBW in large
quantities are complex. There is little likelihood of the recurrence
of an event like the 1995 release of sarin in the Tokyo underground
by a religious sect. Governments thus face a threat that is possible
but unlikely to occur. The key issue is to devise and execute
balanced policies. Overreaction can easily lead to country-wide
anxiety and paranoia. In such an atmosphere, hoaxes may become
as efficient as actual attacks with CBW.


Appendix 9B. The future of chemical and biological weapon disarmament in Iraq: from UNSCOM to UNMOVIC


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Despite efforts between 1990 and 1999, the
United Nations Special Commission on Iraq (UNSCOM) was unable
to complete the total elimination of Iraq’s chemical and
biological weapon capabilities and failed to set up a long-term
monitoring mechanism to ensure that Iraq does not acquire these
weapons in the future. The UN Security Council, succumbing to
the short-term interests of some members, was unable to deal
with Iraq’s blatant and determined violation of the UN’s
rules. Serious doubts therefore exist as to whether the UNSCOM
successor organization, the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection
Commission (UNMOVIC), will be able to complete UNSCOM’s
tasks in Iraq. As of 1 June 2000 Iraq has not accepted UN
Security Council Resolution 1284, which created UNMOVIC and established
the future disarmament and monitoring regime. Thus no inspections
have taken place.