CW Destruction – Dangerous Business

Destroying Iraq’s chemical weapons was sometimes a dangerous business. Check out these stories from UNMOVIC’s compendium:

During the inspection two incidents took place, which reminded the team that Al
Muthanna was an extremely hazardous site and that the recovery and destruction of
Iraq’s chemical weapons munitions (and agents) would be a protracted and dangerous

During this destruction work, a supposedly unfilled 122mm rocket warhead burst and a
nearby Iraqi worker was exposed to nerve agen
t. Owing to the prompt action of a
member of the inspection team the casualty was very quickly taken to the site hospital
where he received appropriate and timely treatment from Iraqi medical personnel. He
recovered over a period of a few days. A separate incident occurred in the case of the 30
chemical-filled ballistic warheads removed to Al Muthanna
from Dujayl in two separate
shipments. In the first shipment, 14 warheads stated by the Iraqis to be filled with the
mixture of alcohols, and considered relatively harmless, were moved. Ten were opened,
found to contain the alcohols and were drained preparatory to destruction. At this point
the senior Iraqi official present said that the remaining four were filled with the nerve
agent sarin. Apparently these warheads had been moved during the night prior to
dispatch to Al Muthanna and the sarin-filled warheads had been confused with alcohol filled

It’ll be interesting to learn the condition of Syria’s stockpile. Lots of opinions without evidence right now.

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