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SYRIA, chemical massacre could have been avoided

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Manfred Liebig View Drop Down

Joined: 25 January 2013
Location: Germany
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    Posted: 18 October 2013 at 8:07am
Re: Syria chemical weapons, WMD-free zone

The cruel massacre in Syria, which killed hundreds of people with chemical weapons, was not the first in the region. But for the first time the world could witness the agony of the dying victims on TV screens. In a rare show of unity the UN Security Council reacted quickly. The implementation of resolution 2118 began without delay.

The Iranian people, who suffered most from chemical attacks, did not get the same attention. During the Iraqi war against Iran (1980-88) about 100,000 Iranian soldiers were victims of Iraq's chemical attacks. Nerve gas killed about 20,000 immediately. Countless civilians were also contaminated, thousands needed lifelong treatment. According to Iraqi documents, Saddam Hussein's chemical weapons were developed with the assistance of the US and several European countries, including West Germany.

It should not be ignored that the massacre in Syria could have been avoided, if the WMD-free zone, planned by the UN more than 20 years ago, had been established.

UN Security Council, resolution 687, adopted April 3, 1991, paragraph 14: (The Council) Takes note that the actions to be taken by Iraq in paragraphs 8, 9........of the present resolution represent steps towards the goal of establishing in the Middle East a zone free from weapons of mass destruction and all missiles for their delivery and the objective of a global ban on chemical weapons.

The message of the disaster should be clear. Decisive action needs to be taken. Individual countries should not be allowed to prevent important measures, such as the WMD-free zone, urgently needed for the security of all. Compliance with relevant UN sanctions must be compulsory.The work of the OPCW in Syria should not remain an exceptional occurence, waiting for the next disaster. The momentum is there. The international community has demonstrated unity. The time to act is now.

Message to the owners of biological or nuclear weapons: If you condemn the use of chemical weapons, you should also condemn the use of biological and nuclear weapons. Dismantle and scrap them. We don't need them. We need a world free from all weapons of mass destruction.

Manfred Liebig

Freiburg, Germany
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