Four new states have acceded to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) since January 2013, bringing the total number of states-parties to 170.
The U.S. intelligence community has tentatively concluded that the Syrian government used chemical weapons against its own people, but is seeking further evidence.
Responding to a request from the Syrian government, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is preparing to conduct an investigation into claims of chemical weapons use in Syria.
The European Parliament passed a resolution Jan. 17 calling for a conference to be held in 2013 on establishing a zone free of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East.
The current situation in Syria poses severe risks, but it may be creating an opportunity for the international community to put in place important constraints on Syria’s chemical weapons and armory of missiles.
The 1972 Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), which currently has 165 states-parties, is the principal international legal instrument against biological warfare. Developments in science and technology pose a continuing challenge to the treaty and the broader biological weapons nonproliferation regime. If they are applied to state or nonstate biological weapons programs, these developments can undermine the treaty’s prohibitions.
The head of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission last month offered a bleak assessment of the prospects for holding a long-planned conference on weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in the Middle East, citing the “somber realities” in the region.
President Barack Obama last month warned the Syrian government that using or moving chemical weapons would be seen as a step that was so serious it could trigger a U.S. military response.