4. Russian Chemical Warfare Capabilities.
Russia's chemical weapons program remains the largest and most diverse in the world. It includes all
known standard CW agents. Research is conducted on new agents which are more difficult to detect
and treat, and which may penetrate NATO protective masks and shelter filters. While negotiating in the
Chemical Weapons Convention, Russia circumvented its provisions by developing a new Binary Nerve
Agent called Novichok. Though as deadly as VX, neither Novichok nor its precursor chemicals are
prohibited by the Chemical Weapons Convention.
PART C: THE MIDDLE EAST
The Middle East is the most volatile region in terms of NBC weapons proliferation and potential use.
Several nations have NBC weapons programs and have used chemical weapons in war, Figure 2-5.
Figure 2-5. The Middle East
Syria has produced and weaponized Nerve Agents since the mid-eighties. Iran produced and used CW
Agents during the war with Iraq. Iran has expanded its CW Program and now produces Blood, Blister,
and Nerve Agents, and weaponizes them in aerial bombs and artillery shells. Iran's acquisition of North
Korean Scud Missiles poses an additional threat to the Gulf Region.
Libya is estimated to have stockpiled 100 tons of Nerve and Blister Agent produced at its Rabat plant,
the largest single CW facility in the Third World. A metal fabrication plant adjacent to the Rabat CW
plant can produce bombs and artillery rounds. Because of the international attention on Rabat, Libya is
constructing a new CW facility at Tarhuna, due for completion in 1996. Libya is also attempting to
establish a BW program.