The Corner

Chemical Weapons Attacks Are Spreading

Few noticed last month when the BBC reported that the number of alleged chemical weapons attacks in Syria had grown to 60. Even if those are exaggerated, disinformation, double-reporting the same incident, etc., that’s still a lot.

And now, as discussed in today’s Jolt, it’s not just Syria anymore. Chemical weapons attacks are going on in Iraq.

Meanwhile, over in Iraq:

The government of Iraq’s semiautonomous Kurdish region says several Peshmerga troops have tested positive for mustard gas after battles in August with Islamic State (IS) fighters.

The Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs said on October 7 that blood samples taken from some 35 fighters who were exposed in the attack southwest of the regional capital, Irbil, along with an examination of wounds, showed “signatures of sulfur mustard.”

The samples were sent to a laboratory outside of Iraq for analysis, the statement said.

It did not say if any of the troops had died as a result of the attack or how severely they had been wounded.

Unidentified United Nations officials stated last month  that ISIS figured out how to  manufacture their own chemical weapons.

From a Wednesday New York Times article on victims of chemical attacks in Syria:

Sulfur mustard causes burns that can damage the skin, eyes and respiratory tract. Carcinogenic and extremely toxic, it can also cause invisible internal damage, including to bone marrow, reducing blood-cell production. Heavy exposure can cause death within days.

This is usually where I would add a comment about Obama’s “red line” statement about the use of chemical weapons.

The president who once talked about a world free of nuclear weapons is going to leave his successor a world where using chemical weapons isn’t that extraordinary.


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