Below the headlines: CBW matters (4)

(A weekly digest from the internet on chemical and biological warfare issues. Emphasis is on incidents and perspectives, but inclusion of an item does not equal endorsement or agreement with the contents. This issue covers items collected between 6 – 12 March 2017.)

Chemical warfare in Iraq

Chemical warfare in Syria

  • Iran Opposes Politicization of Syria Chemical Weapons Case (Tasnim News, 8 March 2017): Iran’s permanent representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) called on the member states to avoid politicizing the dossier on chemical weapons in Syria and help improve the critical situation in the Arab country instead.

Assassination of Kim Jong-Nam

  • Assassins may have made a binary weapon of Kim Jong-nam’s face (Debora MacKenzie, 2 March 2017): There has been a twist in the mystery of how the super-deadly nerve gas VX turned up on a man murdered at Kuala Lumpur airport last week, without the collateral damage that would normally be expected with such a deadly chemical.
  • Death by Nerve Gas (Bruce Bennett, 3 March 2017): To North Korea, the chemical warfare agent VX may have looked like an ideal weapon for assassination. So little would be required to kill, it could easily be smuggled into Malaysia sealed in a pen cartridge or other small object. The tasteless and odorless oil-like substance also offered the opportunity to kill cleanly and quickly without the immediate appearance of murder.
  • North Korea and WMD Use: Specific Action is in Order (Byung-se Yun, Contributor, 5 March 2017): Keynote address by the Foreign Minister of Republic of Korea at the high-level segment of the UN Conference on Disarmament (CD) in Geneva, Switzerland on 28 February 2017.
  • Lawyer for Vietnamese woman in Kim’s death wants 2nd autopsy (Associated Press, 6 March 2017): A lawyer for one of the women accused of poisoning the estranged half brother of North Korea’s leader says there are serious holes in the case.
  • Those behind Jong-nam killing will be brought to justice, Malaysia tells OPCW (Malay Mail Online, 7 March 2017): Malaysia reported to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) today that Kim Jong-nam had been killed with the VX nerve agent.
  • Malaysia warns of long N.Korea inquiry, China says no action yet (Michelle Nichols, 8 March 2017): Malaysia has warned that an investigation into the murder of the North Korean leader’s half brother “may take longer than what we hope,” as Pyongyang ally China said on Wednesday that no international action should be considered until it is finished.
  • S. Korea calls for world action against N.K. use of VX at chemicals arms meeting (Yonhap, 8 March 2017): South Korea has called for a joint international response to North Korea’s suspected use of the banned VX nerve agent in the recent assassination of its leader’s half brother during the latest session of the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
  • Malaysia’s handling of Jong-nam murder probe praised (The Star, 10 March 2017): More countries have weighed in on Malaysia’s diplomatic row with North Korea, with several praising the country’s handling of the Kim Jong-nam murder probe and its commitment to bring those involved to justice.
  • OPCW Executive Council Condemns Chemical Weapons Use in Fatal Incident in Malaysia (OPCW, 10 March 2017): The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons’ (OPCW) Executive Council (EC) adopted a decision yesterday expressing grave concern that, according to statements by the Government of Malaysia, a chemical weapon – the Schedule 1 nerve agent VX – was used in a fatal incident on 13 February 2017 at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2.

Other allegations of CBW use

CBW threats

CBW armament

CBW disarmament

Preparedness

Industry news

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About JP Zanders

Jean Pascal Zanders (Belgium) has worked on questions of chemical and biological weapon (CBW) armament and disarmament since 1986. He was CBW Project Leader at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Director of the BioWeapons Prevention Project and Senior Research Fellow responsible for disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation questions at the European Union Institute for Security Studies. He now owns and runs The Trench.