Columbia International Affairs Online: Course Packs

The Chemical Weapons Convention


The Chemical Weapons Convention

The Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) bans the use, production, acquisition and stockpiling of chemical weapons and requires the destruction of chemical weapons by all member nations. The CWC entered into force at the end of the signature period in April 1997. As of March 2004, 161 countries have signed, or acceded to, the Convention. However, only 40 percent of signatory states have adhered to the CWC requirement to adopt laws aimed at reducing the proliferation of chemical weapons. As demonstrated by the war in Iraq, determining the extent or even existence of chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons programs in suspect states is extremely difficult. Many experts consider potential terrorist acquisition of chemical agents to be a present danger.


'Non Lethal' Weapons and Implementation of the Chemical and Biological Weapons Conventions
M.S. Meselson and J.P. Perry Robinson
Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, November 8-9, 2003
The authors believe that the growing interest in creating special exemptions for the development of "non-lethal" weapons poses a severe threat to the Chemical and Biological Weapons Conventions.

Weapons of Mass Destruction
Richard K. Betts, Columbia University
January 2002
This case study examines many of the issues surrounding weapons of mass destruction.

Protecting against the Spread of Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Weapons: An Action Agenda for the Global Partnership
Robert J. Einhorn and Michèle A. Flournoy
The Center for Strategic and International Studies, January 2003
In this four-volume study is a comprehensive analysis of international threat reduction programs to date, bringing together donors and recipients of threat reduction assistance to make joint, actionable recommendations to promote and expand the goals of the Global Partnership against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction.

Non–Compliance with the Chemical Weapons Convention: Lessons from and for Iraq
Jean Pascal Zanders, John Hart, Frida Kulah, and Richard Guthrie
Stockholm Institute for Peace Research, October 2003
In the very long term (measured in terms of decades) there is no option other than for Iraq to be involved in multilateral controls on chemical weapons (CW). However, in the medium term (measured in years) it is unclear what the best method would be to take Iraq from its current situation—as an occupied state with, at the very least, a past CW program of which knowledge is incomplete—to a new situation where an Iraqi Government commits Iraq to membership of and adherence to multilateral disarmament regimes.

The Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States
Department of Defense
This report seeks to determine the causes of the massive intelligence failure that led up to the recent conflict in Iraq.

WMD in Iraq: Evidence and Implications
Joseph Cirincione, Jessica T. Mathews and George Perkovich
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, January 2004
This report attempts to summarize and clarify the complex story of weapons of mass destruction and the Iraq war. It examines the unclassified record of prewar intelligence, administration statements of Iraq's capabilities to produce nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons and long-range missiles, and the evidence found to date in Iraq. It draws findings from this material and offers lessons and recommendations for the future.