BIOLOGICAL AND CHEMICAL WEAPONS
July 22, 2007: Albania became the first nation to
destroy its entire chemical weapons inventory, under the terms of the Chemical
Weapons Convention (CWC). This treaty has most nations possessing chemical
weapons (including Russia, China and the United States) agreeing to destroy
their stockpiles, and for the wealthier ones to help the poorer ones in that
endeavor. Thus Greece, Italy, Switzerland and the United States all helped
Albania destroy about 16 tons of mustard, lewisite, mustard/lewisite mixture,
adamsite, and chloroacetophenone chemical weapons.
For nearly half a century, Albania was run by one
of the most oppressive and paranoid communist dictatorships in the world. We're
talking a North Korea class government here, that collapsed in 1991, along with
the more liberal communist police states of Eastern Europe. Albania has always been
one of the poorest nations in Europe, and thus was able to build a relatively
small arsenal of chemical weapons.
So far, the CWC has seen the destruction of over
23,000 tons of chemical weapons (about 30 percent of what is known to exist).
The CWC seeks to destroy all chemical weapons by 2012, but cost and technical
problems will delay that for at least a few years. Syria and North Korea have
not signed the CWC, because they insist they have no chemical weapons. It's
generally believed that these two nations are lying. Sudan and China have been
accused of not revealing the full extent of their chemical weapons stockpiles.
Even with all chemical weapons gone, the major industrial nations could resume
production in a matter of months.