Next Steps Towards a Middle East Free of Chemical Weapons: Middle East Chemical Weapons Task Force: Overview and Recommendations from Track II Technical Discussions   [open pdf - 486KB]

"The aspirational goal of establishing the Middle East as a region free of chemical weapons is shared in principle by most governments in the region. All but two countries in the region are parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) and the two have expressed interest in joining under certain circumstances. However, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has reported that many countries in the region which are parties to the CWC have yet to adopt the national laws and regulations necessary to implement their CWC obligations. In addition, most countries in the region have yet to implement their relevant legal obligations pursuant to UN Security Council Resolution 1540. In recent years, a new challenge has come to the forefront -- chemical weapons development and use by both state and non-state actors, especially repeated use by a CWC state party and by the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Many of the international legal obligations relating to chemical weapons were designed with an eye towards state rather than non-state actors. The governments in the region, and indeed the international community, have thus far proven incapable to deter, prevent, and respond to ISIL use of chemical weapons. In addition, there is currently only minimal cooperation at the regional level to address these challenges. The Task Force was formed to explore the following two questions: a. What specific types of Middle East regional capacity building and other cooperation to prevent, detect and respond to chemical attacks are feasible in the current political climate? b. How can the international community more effectively encourage and assist Middle East governments and civil society to deter and constrain chemical weapons acquisition and use by state and non-state actors in the Middle East region?" Note: This document has been added to the Homeland Security Digital Library in agreement with the Project on Advanced Systems and Concepts for Countering WMD (PASCC) as part of the PASCC collection. Permission to download and/or retrieve this resource has been obtained through PASCC.

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