The Congressional Research Service says Congress needs to address the proliferation of chemical weapons, which is increasing despite being banned 20 years ago, notes Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
“Congress may consider how best to respond to the use of chemical weapons, including how future use could be deterred, and whether U.S. forces are adequately protected,” says the new CRS report.
“Congress may consider whether the [Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons] has adequate resources for investigations, and it may also examine the success of efforts to curb proliferation of chemical-weapons-related material and technology, such as interdictions, international sanctions, and export-control assistance programs.”
The report, by several authors, including a specialist in nonproliferation, points out that although the use of chemical weapons was banned under the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention, the Syrian regime continues to use the nerve agent sarin as well as chlorine bombs.
And ISIS used mustard gas during 2015 and 2016.
It was in Malaysia that the nerve agent VX was used to assassinate the brother of North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. And just this year there was an attempted assassination of a former Russian spy in Britain using “Novichok,” a nerve agent developed by the then-Soviet Union.
The report warns the multiple uses of nerve agents could be seen as undermining the “international norm” against their use.
The recent appearances of such weaponry have been alarming, the report says, because they have been used against targets in public places, where members of the public easily could have been exposed.
One emergency responder was exposed, the report said, when the VX nerve agent was used at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Feb. 13, 2017, to assassinate Kim Jong Nam, the half-brother of Kim Jong Un.
While the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons assisted the Malaysian government in its investigation, the U.S. government determined that North Korea’s government ordered the VX attack.
The U.S. then imposed sanctions on Pyongyang under the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991.