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  • Evidence has emerged that the Islamic State has been using weaponized mustard gas in Syria

  • and Iraq. Chemical weapons warfare has long been outlawed, and yet theyve been used

  • on numerous occasions throughout the 20th century. So, just how dangerous are chemical

  • weapons?

  • Well, chemical weapons are consideredWeapons of Mass Destruction,” alongside nuclear

  • and biological weaponry. There have been numerous international bans on their use, stemming

  • from 1899, when the Hague Convention prohibited usingpoisonous armsorasphyxiating

  • gases.” In 1925 the Geneva Protocol further enacted a ban on both chemical and biological

  • agents, saying that they arejustly condemned by the general opinion of the civilized world".

  • The most comprehensive international ban was the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention, which

  • also prohibited production or stockpiling.

  • But despite these restrictions, the first modern use of chemical weapons was during

  • World War I. Lethal gases like phosgene caused severe irritation in the lungs, eyes, and

  • throat. Victims would often have difficulty breathing as their lungs would slowly fill

  • with fluid, killing them as long as 48 hours after exposure. In particular, chlorine would

  • react with water in the lungs, creating hydrochloric acid, and causing severe pain and death. Non-lethal

  • but still illegal chemicals were used as well, including tear and mustard gas. These would

  • cause blistering of the skin and internal chemical burns. Throughout World War One,

  • chemical weapons caused over 100,000 deaths, and affected more than a million people.

  • During the Second World War, chemicals were only used by Japan the Japanese against other

  • Asian countries. While the Nazis possessed gas weapons, but were afraid of a severe response

  • if deployed. The Allies also refused to use deadly gas, although at one point Winston

  • Churchill did propose dropping poison gas and anthrax over Germany.

  • After the war, the Allies discovered Germany’s stockpile of nerve agents. These are chemicals

  • which work by disrupting the nervous system, and lead to a loss of body control. They eventually

  • cause death by suffocation. Increased research into chemical weapons led to both the US and

  • the USSR developing and creating tens of thousands of tons to stockpile throughout the Cold War.

  • But the most infamous use of chemical weapons was during the Iran-Iraq War. In the 1980s,

  • Iraq received money and supplies from the United States and Germany to develop chemical

  • weapons. But in 1988, both mustard gas and nerve agents were used against a Kurdish civilian

  • village, leading to as many as 5,000 deaths and 10,000 injuries. The attack has since

  • been called an act of genocide, and was the single largest chemical attack against civilians

  • ever.

  • In the years since, the only use of chemical weapons has been by terrorist groups. Luckily,

  • the most recent ban has led to a 90% decline in the world’s stockpile. Still, chemical

  • weapons are especially dangerous due to their indiscriminate, long lasting, and painful

  • effects. In the wrong hands, they are considerably more terrifying than most conventional weapons.

  • But who is to blame for chemical weapons use in Syria and Iraq? Is it the U.S.? Find out

  • more in the Seeker Daily episode up top. And to learn more about just how we regulate the

  • use of chemical weapons in warfare, check out our video below. Thanks for joining us

  • on TestTube News! Remember to like and subscribe so you won’t miss our new episodes.

Evidence has emerged that the Islamic State has been using weaponized mustard gas in Syria

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How Dangerous Are Chemical Weapons?

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    BH posted on 2016/12/31
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