By TechRadare title US government chemical weapons standards are about to go into effect article US government officials have announced that the US will begin to implement a chemical weapons policy that will take effect on 1 January, after months of delays due to legal wrangling and international uncertainty.
In a draft memorandum that was leaked to Reuters news agency, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said that it would begin to roll out its plan to use chemical weapons against Syria, which was first proposed in a draft document issued in October, in the wake of the regime’s alleged use of chlorine gas against civilians in August.
The move to roll back the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons comes as President Donald Trump and his national security team have been locked in a fight over whether the Trump administration will allow Syrian rebels to join the US-led campaign against the Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIS).
While the plan is expected to be a major step towards the US ending its use of force against the Syrian regime, it will also mark a major milestone for the US chemical weapons arsenal, which is currently used by more than 40 countries.
The draft document also said the US would begin using “defensive chemical weapons”, such as the nerve agent Sarin, as “first resort” against the Assad regime, although it did not specify which types of defensive weapons would be used.
The US is expected use the US Chemical Weapons Convention, a treaty signed in 1946, to enforce the chemical weapons treaty.
The Obama administration initially planned to rollback the US’s use the chemical weapon use in Syria to a point where the use of conventional weapons would no longer be required, but it has since come under increasing pressure from Congress to take action.
On Tuesday, Senate Democrats introduced legislation to end the US use of a loophole that allows the use by the US of chemical munitions in the event of a chemical attack.
The US and Russia, both members of the US Congress, have long argued that they would be obligated to defend themselves from a chemical weapon attack, in response to the alleged use by Russia of chemical agents in the Idlib province of Syria on 30 August.
However, the bill would not go into force until Congress acted.
President Donald Trump’s administration has faced heavy criticism over the plan, including from Republican senators who said it would lead to an increase in the use and proliferation of chemical warfare weapons.
The Trump administration has defended its decision to use military force against Syria by saying that its aim is to prevent the country from using chemical weapons and to end a civil war that has claimed more than 60,000 lives.
On Monday, the Trump government said it had decided to use the Chemical Weapons convention as a tool to force the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad to surrender his chemical weapons.
According to the White House, it was “concerned that the Assad government continued to deploy chemical weapons in areas under its control”.
In a statement on Tuesday, the White National Council, a Trump administration think tank, said the president had decided on the use “as a last resort”, in response “to the ongoing use of toxic chemical weapons by Syrian President Bashar al Assad”.
“While we do not know all the details of the plan at this time, we are encouraged by the President’s decision to take the necessary steps to protect Americans from a further attack,” it said.
“The use of military force must be used with the full force of the law to ensure that chemical weapons are used only against the enemy that is using them, and we will work to ensure they do not fall into the wrong hands,” the statement added.US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the chemical attack in Idlib on 30 Aug was an “act of war” that was a clear violation of the Chemical Weapon Convention.
He said the use was a violation of international law and the international community must act, warning that the Syrian and Russian governments would face consequences for such actions.
“What we’re doing is we’re putting a military option in front of a political option.
We’re putting the military option before the diplomatic option,” he said.
Tillerson said it was not a “dramatic departure” from the US position.
“What is happening in Syria today is the continuation of a pattern of violation of UN Security Council resolutions,” he told reporters.
“So, what I’m saying is the president has not taken any steps that are going to change the course of events, because this is a pattern that continues,” he added.
Tillison said there was a need to “rebalance the use” of chemical weapon in Syria, but that it could not happen without the support of Russia and China.