To end chemical attack  there should be a strong will and a roadmap

       The writer of this article was reminded of discussing this topic in the wake of the incident where a Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were found collapsed in a bench outside a shopping mall in Salisbury, England.

Father and daughter is in critical condition and an unfortunate police officer who attended the scene is also in serious condition.

Police initially stated that the substance the victims came into contact as unknown substance. Later in a statement by Metropolitan Police counterterrorism Chief Mark Rowley, it was described as nerve agent but yet to identify.

Skripal invited the wrath of Russian authorities after his betrayal of Russian agents. Russian secret service nabbed him in 2004 and sentenced him for 13 years in prison in 2006. In 2010, he was exchanged with Britain for the release of few Russian spies.

Let us move to the main topic chemical warfare. The above mentioned is just an example how it is prevailing to kill individuals. But in a large scale it is used during wars. What exactly are chemical weapons or weapons of mass destruction? To be precise, it toxic substances and it comes in various names with different components that is meant to hurt or kill people. Sarine nerve gas, mustard gas, chlorine bombs etc., are some  of  them.  Chemical  weapon  exposure  leads  to blistering and blindness.

Nerve agents like Sarin and VX, attacks the nervous system and results in death from asphyxia. It is estimated that one million fatalities occurred in the battlefield during World War by the use of Chemical Weapons itself. After witnessing such horrors, the global community worked together to see that it is never repeated by prohibiting its usage under the Geneva Protocol. Years passed, the global community came together once more, this time they wanted to stop the creation of chemical weapons and end a country’s capacity to stockpile them. U.S. joined it in 1997, at that time there were over 150 countries. With U.S.‘s joining it was ratified and chemical weapons Convention (CWC) treaty came into existence. It bans the creation and stockpiling of chemical weapons.

Laws will remain as mere laws if it is not implemented. To implement it there is an organization named Prohibition of Chemical weapons (OPCW), it is an inter-government organization. Take for example Syria, OPCW confirmed in August 2015, that ISIS used Mustard gas on civilians. Sometime later there were also reports that ISIS attacked civilians with rockets attached with chemical agents.

When U.S points fingers at other rogue nations for the use of chemical weapons, it itself is infamous for its use on other nations and its stockpiling. It stockpiles chemical weapons at a few military basis located around the country. Recently U.S. accused North Korea of shippingsupplies to Syria that can be used in the production of 

chemical weapons.  It comes in the wake of the recent attacks on civilians in Damascus with chlorine gas. North Korea had denied it and said it was fabricated to pressure the government. U.S. had earlier used this tactics in Iraq against Saddam Hussein to dethrone him from power.  Inspections by U.N. later proved that all was baseless. The U.S. government with media has cleverly planned and planted these stories.

During the Second World War America did not launch any strike with chemical weapons but it planned to do so. It came to light when German planes bombed the Italian port of Bari.  Among many ships sunk, there was one American ship named SS John Harvey. It was carrying a secret cargo of mustard gas. As per the reports there were 628 causalities and out of it 69 deaths were related to mustard gas and most of them were American merchant seamen not counting the civilian causalities.

In Vietnam America was the partner of the South Vietnam in showering chemical weapons on civilians and rebels. It is estimated that 20 million gallons of chemicals were used. One of the chemical weapons used was defoliate Agent Orange which left 1 million people including American veterans critically ill with leukemia, cancers, chromosomal defects and birth deformities. Napalm known for its high temperature of 1,200 Celsius that causes severe burns, carbon monoxide poisoning and suffocation was widely used then.

In 2009, it was accused that Taliban was 

using  phosphorous against allied troops in Iraq, but later U.S admitted that it was using it.

United States close ally Saudi Arabia has been accused of using White Phosphorous against Yemen in 2009 and 2016. It was reported that U.S. supplied it.

The use of chemical has a long history. Some examples were quoted here to prove the point. Small or big, this catastrophe is still prevailing. Our steps are not enough to wipe it out.

From all these facts we can chalk out that the countries who accuse of other countries of usage of chemical weapons are the real perpetrators and they supply it too.  It is big business and the conscience doesn’t prick.

Laws are there, but to end this there should be a strong will and a roadmap. There should be sincerity, a close co-ordination and a philosophy rooted in humanity should come into existence.                              Bonnie Basil                          

image image image image image image image image image image
Magazine beyond boundaries