On January 6, Libya became the 159th nation to join the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), continuing a trend wherein nearly a dozen countries have surrendered their chemical weapons programs in less than a decade. Libyan President Moammar Gaddafi’s public offer to forfeit his poison gas program followed several back-channel overtures he made over the past two years trying to improve Libya’s standing with Western nations engaged in a full-tilt war against terrorism. Stepped up international pressure last fall—from sanctions and interdictions to the implicit threat of an Iraq-style invasion—finally succeeded in getting Gaddafi to renounce all of his weapons of mass destruction (WMD) on December 19, 2003. Libya’s action will increase the workload for the CWC’s inspectorate, known as the Technical Secretariat of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
Oddly enough, the Technical Secretariat’s inspectors were not the first outsiders to gain access to Libya’s weapons facilities. They arrived on February 5, landing over four months after U.S. and British experts began visiting dozens of Libya’s weapons-related sites. Once Libyan authorities gave the Technical Secretariat a first-cut, partial declaration of their poison gas stocks on February 20, however, the CWC’s inspectors began the tedious process of assessing, mothballing, and destroying Libya’s chemical weaponry and its associated support infrastructure. By March 5, some 3,300 unfilled chemical munitions are to be destroyed. Perhaps, in the months ahead, Libya will allow the Technical Secretariat to release additional details about a weapons capability that Gadaffi acquired at great expense and went to great lengths to hide.
Libya’s metamorphosis from proliferator to CWC member is exactly what the treaty’s architects hoped would occur but, naturally, not everything has gone according to plan. Some less encouraging developments, discussed in the remainder of this article, will influence considerably the viability of this landmark accord, its norm against chemical weapons, and its inspectorate. Chief challenges ahead for the chemical weapons nonproliferation regime include the speed with which major chemical weapons possessors meet their obligations to destroy their arsenals; the ability of the Technical Secretariat on paper and in the field to police compliance; and the pressures used to achieve universal adherence with the CWC.
CWC Status Overview
Libya acceded to the CWC as the treaty approached its seventh anniversary. The CWC bolstered the 1925 Geneva Protocol’s ban on the use of chemical, toxin, and bacteriological weapons by also outlawing the development, production, and stockpiling of chemical weapons. When the CWC came into force on April 29, 1997, it contained groundbreaking punitive and monitoring provisions. States that did not join would suffer economically because CWC members would gradually cut off their access to commercial chemicals. Meanwhile, CWC members signed on for an unprecedented array of routine inspections at military and industrial sites. They also undertook an obligation to accept short-notice challenge inspections anywhere within their countries if another CWC member lodged accusations of cheating. To date, despite private and public accusations that some member states are cheating on the accord, no country has utilized the CWC’s challenge provisions.
Not to say that the CWC’s inspectors have not been busy. As of February 2004, 59 CWC members had hosted one or more routine inspections. The Technical Secretariat has conducted 524 inspections at industrial facilities under its belt, apparently without any significant hitches. Nations that have the most declared facilities available for inspection within the industrial sector include Australia, Belgium, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Iran, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The Technical Secretariat also put additional rigor into the analysis leading to inspections of industry sites by tapping into public databases to understand international trade in dual-use chemicals better. Beginning in 2002, CWC members began submitting sharper declarations of industrial production, processing, and consumption of treaty-controlled chemicals. Several CWC members that had not previously declared pertinent industry activities began doing so, and others improved the accuracy of their declarations. The Technical Secretariat is to be lauded for being respectfully proactive in its monitoring of industry activities.
Before industry inspections got underway, however, the Technical Secretariat focused on inventorying and securing declared chemical munitions prior to their destruction and on mothballing and eliminating chemical weapons production facilities. Inspectors have tallied 220 inspections at 34 chemical weapons storage sites. Eleven countries, including Iran and China, declared 61 chemical weapons production facilities. In the course of just under 300 inspections of these plants, the inspectorate certified 40 of them as converted to peaceful uses or destroyed. Russia alone declared 24 chemical weapons production facilities, with 16 slated for conversion to peaceful purposes. Through the U.S. Cooperative Threat Reduction program, U.S. assistance has concentrated on the destruction of the sprawling nerve agent production facilities at Volgograd and Novocheboksarsk.
When the CWC was inaugurated, Russia and the United States were already known as the world’s two largest chemical weapons possessors; South Korea and India declared possession of comparatively smaller poison gas stocks. All four nations have started to eliminate their arsenals, with the inspectorate having watched over the destruction of more than 12 percent of the 70,000 metric tons of chemical agent declared worldwide, and a quarter of the 8,600,000 declared chemical munitions and containers.
Quagmire in Russia
Still, the bulk of chemical weaponry awaits destruction. Thus far, the United States has destroyed 26 percent of its 31,500-metric-ton stockpile. The Army has met the CWC’s first two destruction milestones, but CWC governing authorities recently gave the Army three additional years to destroy 45 percent of U.S. stocks. Russia has yet to keep pace with any of the CWC’s destruction deadlines. The CWC’s architects recognized that Russia would encounter severe economic difficulties and drafted a possible five-year extension on the overall 10-year destruction time frame. Moscow has already been granted deadline extensions, but doubt exists that Russia will be able to eliminate its 40,000 metric tons of poison gas even by 2012.
The only destruction facility now operating in Russia is at Gorny, which houses huge containers of the blister agents lewisite, mustard, and a mixture of both. Germany contributed considerable financial and technical assistance to Gorny’s construction and is now investing heavily to build another plant to destroy the blister agent at Kambarka. The remainder of Russia’s declared arsenal consists of nerve agent. Because more than two million nerve-agent-filled munitions are stored at Shchuch’ye, in 1996 the U.S. government decided to help Russia build another destruction plant there.
Unfortunately, U.S. funding for Shchuch’ye soon stalled amid mutual finger-pointing between U.S. and Russian officials. A series of congressional riders—some related to concerns about Russia’s compliance with chemical and biological weapons bans, others to Russia’s fiscal role in the destruction program, still others to matters unrelated to chemical weapons—slowed the disbursal of U.S. funds to a trickle in some years and halted it totally in others. Over the past seven years, appallingly little progress has been made at Shchuch’ye. The total project will cost approximately $2 billion. Toward that amount, the United States has paid roughly half of the $888 million it has promised. Moscow is slated to build a second destruction plant at Shchuch’ye to double the original capacity.
Shchuch’ye’s completion is critical because the weapons from the Kizner storage site will be shipped there for destruction. Moreover, in containers instead of in munitions, the partially detoxified agent from three other storage sites will also be transported to Shchuch’ye for additional demilitarization. Put another way, more than 80 percent of Russia’s stockpile, namely all of the nerve agent portion of the cache, will await destruction until Shchuch’ye becomes operational. If current plans hold, Shchuch’ye will not become operational until September 2008. More than six years will be required just to destroy the munitions located at Shchuch’ye, after which agent from the four other sites can be brought in for destruction.
Russia’s cash-strapped status aside, a major reason for the delay in Russia’s chemical weapons destruction program is that Western nations have promised far more than they have delivered. According to the chief of the Russian Munitions Agency, Viktor Kholstov, some $1.9 billion has been pledged since 1992, but only $286 million in financial contributions have actually been made. The world’s leading economic powers may alleviate this situation. In June 2002, the Group of Eight (G-8) gave Russia’s chemical weapons destruction program high priority when they announced significant new funding to reduce Russia’s WMD capabilities. In a formula known as “10 plus 10 over 10,” the European and Japanese members of the G-8 are to match the U.S. contribution of $10 billion over the next decade. As of November 2003, the pledges of this global partnership had reached $16.3 billion, not including Russia’s own contribution of $2 billion. Of this, roughly $1.1 billion has been specifically targeted at Russia’s chemical weapons disarmament programs. Whether these funds are sufficient to make a serious dent with its chemical weapons destruction program remains to be seen. At a certain point, however, the failure of a principal treaty member to meet an obligation as fundamental as destroying the weapons that the treaty is supposed to ban cannot help but erode confidence in the overall CWC regime.
Issues in Sustaining a Robust Inspectorate
The drafters of the CWC are to be commended for seeking to avoid the pitfalls that hampered the implementation of previous treaties by including strong rights for the CWC’s inspectors and a means to compel turnover within the inspector corps. Accordingly, the CWC stipulates that countries are to cooperate and allow the inspectors to conduct their activities without interference. The inspectors, their equipment, and their papers carry diplomatic privilege. However, the CWC’s governing body subsequently approved a measure that allows the host government to photocopy inspectors’ notebooks at the end of an inspection. The purported reason for this change was to protect inspected states from the prospect that inspectors might write down national security or trade secrets. The practical effect was to put inspectors in a poor position to record evidence of cheating. Furthermore, this measure gives CWC members a method to preclude the entry of the toughest inspectors to their country because all states have the right to select which inspectors may work within their borders. Those who record ambiguities, uncertainties, and violations risk the chance of being parked in The Hague, not cleared for entry.
Worried that the Technical Secretariat would become a warehouse for below-par or unsuitable personnel, the CWC’s early signatories created a plan to ensure that fresh blood would enter the inspectorate. The inspectorate’s “tenure” policy would limit employment at the Technical Secretariat to seven years. The worthy intent of this policy is to sustain a vibrant, state-of-the-art, trained inspector corps over the lifetime of the treaty, not to have the Technical Secretariat saddled with political appointees who grow comfortable and stale in their jobs.
The implementation of this policy, however, has had a less than salutary effect on morale at the Technical Secretariat. The career planning of the inspectorate’s personnel has been difficult because the tenure clock was set to begin ticking in 1997, but the CWC’s members subsequently approved a two-year reprieve. Further uncertainty arose when the legality of this type of forced-turnover policy was challenged. The matter has finally been put to rest, and in 2006 the Technical Secretariat will begin turning over its personnel at a rate of roughly 15 percent annually. Already, the inspectorate has lost some of the world’s most knowledgeable individuals with regard to the treaty’s origins and its intricate provisions, field inspections of military and dual-use sites, data analysis, and inspection planning. Yet, the Technical Secretariat has not instituted a rigorous program to preserve the organization’s historical memory. Future generations of inspectors and key support personnel must be able to benefit from the experience and knowledge of their predecessors. Otherwise, all of that wisdom just goes out the door.
In Search of Universality and Treaty Compliance
Of the 13 states that have neither acceded to nor signed the CWC, the U.S. government routinely describes a few as being of proliferation concern. Topping that list would be Iraq, North Korea, Syria, and Egypt. Absent the type of politico-military coercion that Washington and London employed with Libya, the CWC’s automatic export controls are the main tool to be employed to get these remaining states to join. For the first five years, members were obligated not to trade in a small class of dual-use chemicals not frequently used for industrial purposes. As early as 2002, the CWC provided for its membership to vote to add a much larger and more widely used class of chemicals to those that cannot be sold to holdout states, but the CWC’s members have yet to approve a harsher, more effective economic sanction for nonjoiners. To promote universality further, the CWC’s membership would be well advised to expand the scope of the treaty’s automatic export controls now.
In addition to the aforementioned holdout states, U.S. government officials have publicly and privately cast doubt on the accuracy of the declarations that such CWC members as Iran, China, and Russia have filed with the Technical Secretariat. Given how forcefully the United States has pressed other accusations of cheating, one would have expected that one or more challenge inspections might have been launched. U.S. policymakers may have any number of reasons for hesitating to take such a politically charged step, but the underlying context is that unilateral U.S. decisions have stripped the Technical Secretariat of its two strongest inspection tools.
In 1997 and 1998, U.S. legislators, with White House approval, created exemptions for the United States that have the great potential to backfire since they are also loopholes that other nations can exploit. The first, which constitutes an unambiguous contradiction to the CWC’s challenge inspection provisions, asserts the right of a U.S. president to refuse a challenge inspection on the grounds that it might threaten U.S. national security interests. In sharp contrast to the CWC’s strong no-refusal terms, any country challenged can similarly assert the right to dodge for national security reasons.
The second exemption refuses to allow inspectors to take any U.S. sample outside of U.S. territory for analysis in the Technical Secretariat’s designated laboratories. Ironically, it was use of sampling and laboratory analysis that enabled United Nations Special Commission inspectors to catch the Iraqis red-handed in a long-denied weaponization of the nerve agent VX. In practice, the Technical Secretariat’s inspectors rarely resort to sampling, but sampling can provide crucial proof of compliance or noncompliance. Although the inspectors carry some equipment for field analysis, this equipment was deliberately “blinded” because it can screen and identify all chemical compounds, not just those that the CWC monitors. Thus, detailed laboratory analysis will probably be required to decipher the contents of a sample. Before these exemptions were created, the U.S. chemical industry, the Pentagon, and the intelligence community all agreed that the CWC had appropriate protections to safeguard commercial and national security information during routine or challenge inspections. In sum, these two exemptions do nothing but cripple the ability of the Technical Secretariat to catch CWC violators.
Russia, China, India, and even U.S. allies have threatened to duplicate the U.S. exemptions if they are not changed. Aside from that, remarkably little fuss has been made internationally about the measures that have weakened the Technical Secretariat. Years have literally passed since the inviolability of inspectors’ notebooks, full and complete sample analysis, and the right to conduct unfettered challenge inspections went the way of the dinosaur. The Technical Secretariat, which serves at the pleasure of the CWC’s members, is ill positioned to fight for itself, so the situation awaits a champion.
In all fairness, there is much to applaud about the CWC’s opening years. True to the treaty’s objectives, nations are relinquishing their chemical weapons programs. Just as with any endeavor, however, it is also fair to ask whether the CWC’s full potential is being fulfilled. The response, regrettably, is no.
The time has come for the international community and particularly the United States to reckon with the possible consequences of the decisions described above and their implications for the future of efforts to prevent the spread of chemical weapons. Without fully restored rights, the Technical Secretariat’s inspectors are not ideally equipped to police the globe now or in the coming years. Instead, the Technical Secretariat resembles a detective forced to try to catch the criminal without notes, fingerprinting and DNA analysis capabilities, or handcuffs. If Washington and the international community are truly serious about halting chemical weapons proliferation, they should stop handicapping the Technical Secretariat and instead restore its strongest tools to track down and confront wily and determined cheaters.
The expression ‘having one’s cake and eating it too’ encapsulates the foolhardy game that a U.S.-led international community is playing with the CWC and other international nonproliferation regimes. Recently, the U.S. and British governments put the Technical Secretariat’s sister inspection agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency, in the backseat of the nuclear disarmament of Libya. To the extent that treaties and their inspectorates are selectively stripped of their powers, the international community incrementally regresses to an era devoid of the very legal protections that generations have suffered without and therefore sought.
Since the United States has become the preeminent global power, Washington has tended to alternate between embracing international conventions when it suits current U.S. policy objectives and trampling them when it does not. Some say such are the privileges of power. But, shortsighted is the leader who undermines the very things that safeguard that power, international peace and security, and humanity over the long term. The CWC bans an odious class of weapons that the United States was destroying anyway and that U.S. leaders had previously foresworn. Actions that undercut efforts to stem the proliferation of poison gas and other weapons of mass destruction surely do not serve the interests of this nation. Hence, Americans expect and deserve to have the international effort to reverse the erosion of the CWC begin at home.
1. “Libya Joins the Chemical Weapons Convention,” Press Release (The Hague: OPCW, January 14, 2004). Note that Libya also ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty on January 6, 2004, and agreed to place a test monitoring station in country. George Jahn, “Libya Ratifies Nuclear Test Ban Treaty,” Associated Press, January 14, 2004. Libya has been a party to the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty since 1975 and the Biological Weapons Convention since 1982.
2. President George W. Bush, “Libya Pledges to Dismantle WMD Programs,” prepared remarks in the James S. Brady Briefing Room, December 19, 2003, www.whitehouse.gov.
3. “OPCW Team Visits Libya,” Press Release (The Hague: OPCW, February 5, 2004).
4. “Destruction of Chemical Weapons in Libya Commences on 27 February 2004,” Press Release (The Hague: OPCW, January 26, 2004).
5. See Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction, art IX, paras. 8-25 (hereinafter Chemical Weapons Convention).
6. OPCW, “Inspection Activity,” February 11, 2004. This figure includes inspections conducted at Schedule 2, Schedule 3, and discrete organic chemical facilities. It does not include 125 inspections conducted at Schedule 1, single, small-scale facilities.
7. See Report of the OPCW on the Implementation of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction (The Hague: October 22, 2003), pp. 50-52 (Annex 8).
8. OPCW, “Inspection Activity.” The number of inspections at chemical weapons production and storage facilities, respectively, conducted as of February 11, 2004, stood at 298 and 220.
9. “Chemical Weapons Elimination Program for Russian Nerve Agent Weapons” (Washington, DC: Defense Threat Reduction Agency, October 2, 2003).
10. OPCW, “Facts and Figures,” February 26, 2004.
11. The U.S. Army has already closed one destruction facility, at Johnston Atoll, and has operations underway at Tooele, Utah; Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland; and Anniston, Alabama. Additional destruction facilities are nearing operational status at Newport, Indiana; Pine Bluff, Arkansas; and Umatilla, Oregon. U.S. Chemical Materials Agency, Program Manager for Elimination of Chemical Weapons, www.pmcd.army.mil (status as reported February 11, 2004). See also Henry L. Hilton Jr., testimony before the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities, House of Representatives, October 30, 2003.
12. “New U.S., Russian Chemical Destruction Deadlines Approved,” Arms Control Today, November 2003, p. 42.
13. The original schedule called for the destruction of 1 percent of Russia’s chemical stockpile by April 29, 2000; 20 percent by April 29, 2002; 45 percent by April 29, 2004; and 100 percent by April 29, 2007. Chemical Weapons Convention, Verification Annex, pt. IV(A), para. 17(a).
14. The CWC’s governing body agreed that Russia could have until April 20, 2007, to destroy 20 percent of its stockpile. Moreover, in October 2003 the CWC’s governing body agreed in principle to extend Russia’s deadline to eliminate its entire stockpile but did not establish a new date. OPCW, “Extension of the Intermediate and Final Deadlines for the Destruction by the Russian Federation of Its Category 1 Chemical Weapons,” C-8/Dec.13, Eighth Session of the Conference of the States Parties, 24 October 13.
15. Destruction operations began at Gorny on November 25, 2003, and should begin at Kambarka by 2006. Arms Control Today, September 2002, p. 24; “New Developments,” Global Partnership Update, no. 2 (November 2003): 2; “Russian Government Earmarks Funds for Chemical Arms Disposal Plant,” BBC Monitoring, January 30, 2004.
16. Russian officials have been very straightforward in their quest for foreign aid for the program. “Russia Suggests Foreign Partners Fund Chemical Weapons Disposal,” Interfax News Agency, March 11, 2003. See “Russia Names U.S. Investment Figure for Chemical Weapon Destruction Plant,” AVN Military News Agency, December 8, 2000; “Russia-Disarmament: Seeking Help to Destroy Chemical Weapons,” Inter Press Service, December 1, 1997.
17. One particularly troublesome condition has required the executive branch to certify Russia’s compliance with the CWC and the bioweapons ban, which the Bush administration did not do in 2002. The White House issued waivers in January 2003 to release a total of $184 million for Shchuch’ye. Philipp C. Bleek, “Bush Refuses to Certify Russian Chem-Bio Compliance,” Arms Control Today May 2002, p. 24;.
18. The Defense Threat Reduction Agency spent $203.9 million, and Congress authorized over $400 million by July 2003. Office of the Inspector General, Department of Defense, Cooperative Threat Reduction Construction Projects (Washington, DC: Department of Defense, December 18, 2003).
19. Russia initially planned to build destruction facilities at all seven storage locations, but that plan proved cost prohibitive. The scaled-down effort involves destruction at Gorny, Kambarka, and Shchuch’ye. Small-scale neutralization facilities will be built at Pochep, Leonidovka, and Maradykovskiy storage sites to enable the shipment of partially detoxified agent to Shchuch’ye. The plant’s original design capacity will be expanded to handle the more than 32,400 metric tons of nerve agent. Seth Brugger, “Russia Approves New Chemical Weapons Destruction Plan,” Arms Control Today, September 2001, p. 32; “Two Chemical Weapons Destruction Plants to Open in Russia in 2005,” BBC Worldwide Monitoring, January 28, 2004; Jonathan B. Tucker, “Russia’s New Plan for Chemical Weapons Destruction,” Arms Control Today, July/August 2001, pp. 9-13.
20. “Full Funding for Russian Chemical Weapons Disposal Fails to Materialize,” BBC Monitoring International Reports, February 4, 2004.
21. “G8 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction,” Kananaskis, Alberta, Canada, June 26-27, 2002.
22. Nations specifying additional pledges include Canada, the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the European Union as a whole. In addition, France has pledged $321 million for unspecified chemical and bioweapons destruction projects. Of Russia’s $2 billion contribution, $204 million is budgeted for chemical disarmament and dismantling nuclear submarines. Strengthening the Global Partnership, Global Partnership Update, no. 2 (November 2003): 1-4; Center for Nonproliferation Studies “Global Partnership Funding Commitments,” December 1, 2003.
23. The CWC states that the Technical Secretariat’s personnel have “privileges and immunities as are necessary in the independent exercise of their functions.” Article VII, paragraph 49. Part II, Section B, of the convention further details these privileges and immunities, including the “inviolability” of inspectors’ papers, documents, and equipment.
24. The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization challenged a similar policy before the Administrative Tribunal of the International Labor Organization.
25. To be more precise, the CWC first prohibited trade in the high-risk precursors and toxic chemicals listed on Schedule 2, but could be expanded to include the high commercial-volume chemicals on Schedule 3. Should the export controls be broadened, the number of commercial chemicals that could not be sold to holdout states would increase by orders of magnitude. For more detail, see Chemical Weapons Convention, art. II, Annex on Chemicals, and art. VI, Verification Annex, pt. VII and pt. VII, subsec. C.
26. “Despite being a party to the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), it is widely known that Iran has stockpiled blister, blook and chocking [chemical weapon] agents, and possesses the bombs and artillery shells to deliver them.” See John R. Bolton, under secretary of state for arms control and international security, testimony before the House International Relations Committee, Washington, DC, June 4, 2003. “China’s maintenance of a chemical weapons program is a matter of serious concern” to the United States, stated one U.S. official in late July 2003. Paula A. DeSutter, assistant secretary of state for verification and compliance, testimony before the U.S.-China Commission, Washington, DC, July 24, 2003.
27. Article IX contains the challenge inspection mandate, and Article XXII states that no country can place reservations on the CWC’s articles and that any reservations placed on the CWC’s annexes must be in harmony with the treaty’s objectives. Chemical Weapons Convention, art. IX, art. XXII.
28. The CWC’s implementing legislation was rolled into the omnibus spending bill. See The Omnibus Consolidated and Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act of 1998, Public Law 105-277, sec. 307 (hereinafter CWC implementing legislation).
29. This exemption first appeared as condition 18 in S.Exec.Res. 75, passed on April 24, 1997, wherein the Senate gave its advice and consent to the CWC’s ratification. The sampling analysis exemption is repeated in the CWC’s implementing legislation. See CWC implementing legislation, sec. 304(f)(1).
30. Jim Hoagland and Vernon Loeb, “Tests Show Nerve Gas in Iraqi Warheads; Finding Contradicts Claims by Baghdad,” The Washington Post, June 23, 1998; John M. Goshko, “Iraqi Nerve Gas Tests Confirmed,” The Washington Post, June 25, 1998.
31. A January 19 an agreement between the United States, United Kingdom, and the International Atomic Energy Agency put U.S. and British teams in charge of eliminating Libya’s nuclear weapons components and left international inspectors to verify Libya’s nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty commitments. Already, sensitive Libyan nuclear documents, materials, and equipment have been brought to the United States for analysis. Carol Giacomo, “Libyan Arms Equipment Said Headed to U.S.,” Reuters, Boston Globe, January 25, 2004.
32. Public Law 99-145 of November 1985 requires the Defense Department to destroy all unitary weapons, which at that time comprised 90 percent of the total U.S. stockpile, by September 30, 1994. In May 1991, several months after leading the coalition to remove Iraq from Kuwait, U.S. President George H.W. Bush formally renounced the use of chemical weapons “for any reason, including retaliation, against any state.” President George Bush, Statement on Chemical Weapons, May 13, 1991.
Amy Smithson is a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Before joining CSIS last fall, she founded the Chemical and Biological Weapons Nonproliferation Project at the Henry L. Stimson Center.