Event: The Chemicals, The Conflict, & The Challenges in Syria

Speakers: Dr. Paul Walker, Green Cross International, Michael Moodie, International CBW Commentator, Dr. Chen Kane, Center for Nonproliferation Studies
Event Location: American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2nd Floor, 1200 New York Avenue NW, Washington DC 20005
Event Details:  October 23, 2013  5:00 – 6:30pm
Light refreshments to follow

The use of chemical weapons by any nation constitutes a significant threat to international peace and security. Nevertheless, in 2013 chemical weapons were used in Syria, sparking international outrage and condemnation. With pressure from the U.S. and Russia, Syria acceded to the Chemical Weapons Convention in September 2013 and agreed to participate in an accelerated process to destroy the chemical weapons. While this has been received as an unexpected yet positive development, the implementation of such a process raises significant science and security issues.

On October 23, the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Center for Science, Technology and Security Policy and the Federation of American Scientists are convening a panel to discuss the science and security involved in the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention and U.N. Security Council Resolution 2118 in Syria.

The speakers will explore the technical, political, and regional issues surrounding chemical weapons in Syria, including: the technical solutions and expertise required to ensure accelerated destruction of chemical weapons; the broader regional impact of Syria’s accession to the Chemical Weapons Convention; and the challenges involved in carrying out destruction in a civil war environment.

Walker, October Seminar Speaker, on Destroying Chemical Weapons

As destruction efforts in Syria seem to be continuing apace, the question many of us have asked ourselves is how does one destroy a chemical weapon? Dr. Paul Walker concisely addresses this in his recent Bulletin of Atomic Scientists piece, “How to destroy chemical weapons?”. To hear more, be sure to join us next Wednesday evening for our October Biodefense Policy Seminar featuring Dr. Walker, who will discuss efforts to destroy Syrian CW at length. For more information, please visit our events page.

Bulletin of Atomic Scientists – “The recent news that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is willing to accede to the international Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) has raised the question: How might one actually go about eliminating Syria’s chemical munitions?

The CWC entered into force in 1997. Seven CWC member countries have declared existing chemical weapons stockpiles—Albania, India, Iraq, Libya, Russia, South Korea, and the United States. Three of these—Albania, India, and South Korea—completed stockpile destruction in the last few years. Three more—Libya, Russia, and the US—expect to complete their destruction programs over the next decade. And Iraq, which joined the convention in 2009, is planning the destruction of its chemical weapons equipment and agents left from the 1991 Gulf War.

There are essentially three broad categories of destruction approaches, all used successfully in the above programs. These approaches can be mixed and matched, depending on the type, size, quantity, and condition of the agents, munitions, and containers…”

Read more here.

(image: Jen Spie/Flickr)