Page 1

Thoughts following the 5t h I n t e r n a t i o n a l CBRN Safety and Security Conference


Introduction Welcome to Thoughts following the 5th

experience from the CBRN Civil Defense force

International CBRN Safety and Security

and the second from the Peshmerga.

Conference. This magazine has been created with

The third section, pages 31 to 42, is looking at

the kind help of the University of Babylon, DTRA,

some of the friends that Iraq has in the region,

and Falcon Communications.

both next door in Jordan and across the Mediterranean in Europe. Finding solutions takes

Inside you will find a snapshot of the many voices

many partners, and even more good ideas and

that were dedicated to improving safety and

there are individuals that are keen to help, and

security in Iraq when it comes to chemical,

these pages look at some of the initiatives that

biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN)

are underway.

weapons. The majority of people that gave their time to speak to us were presenters at the 5th

The fourth section, pp43 to 52, investigates what

International CBRN Safety and Security

was a major focus of the 5th conference, the

Conference, and we are grateful for their efforts

issue of hazardous material waste in Iraq. Here

on the day and also for working on this magazine.

are two voices from the region looking at the hazmat challenges to Iraq and what best practice

CBRN Safety and Security is a major issue for

can be used to overcome them. There are many

Iraq, as it is for many other countries. There has

difficulties in overcoming them, and this will be

been a lasting legacy of war damage and hostile

an ongoing thrust of the conference until they

actors in the region for greater than twenty years

have been reduced.

and this has left institutional and security challenges that the country is still trying to

The final section, pages pp53 to 56, looks at the

overcome. All of the people in these pages are

legacy of Daesh in the North of Iraq. The

dedicated to making Iraq a safer and cleaner

devastation done to the area is a scar that will

place to live.

take over ten years to heal, and the work of the DoD is examined and suggestions made as to

The magazine is thematically split into five

where the priorities should be.

sections. The first, pages four to twenty one, look at the conference itself. What was done and said,

I hope you enjoy the magazine and the efforts

and what are the plans for the event in future

that have been undertaken for improved CBRN

years. If you missed the event, and have found

security in Iraq. If you want to know more about

this on a coffee table somewhere, please check

initiatives in the region please email

out and I will be

and we all hope to see you at a future one!

happy to pass your request on.

The second section, pages twenty two to thirty, have two insights into the CBRN security

Gwyn Winfield

situation in Iraq. The first deals with the


Thoughts following the 5th International CBRN Safety and Security Conference



Contents 1



A higher education

Professor Falah H Hussein, emeritus professor at the faculty of pharmacy, University of Babylon and member of the ministerial CBRN committee in the ministry of higher education and scientific research talks to Gwyn Winfield about his plans


Building out

Shawn Baker-Garcia, CEO of The Critical Mass on taking the conference to new heights

14 Level up Dr Ali Abdel Aziz al-Yasiri, director general of the National Centre for Joint Planning and head of the CBRN Team Development Team in Iraq talks to Gwyn Winfield about taking Iraq’s CBRN to the next level

17 CBRN Exercise Photos from the demonstration at the 5th International CBRN Safety and Security Coordination Conference

22 CBRN in the time of Covid Brigadier General Mahmood Delli, Iraqi CBRN Department Manager at the Department of Civil Defence in Iraq tells Gwyn Winfield about their experience on the front lines

26 Only sleeping Brigadier General Hajar Ismail, director of coordination and relations at the Ministry of Peshmerga on preparing for Daesh’s re-awakening

Published by Falcon Communications Limited Directors Gwyn Winfield David Levitt Art Director Tony Denton

Marcoms Manager Zoe Rutherford Sub Editor Jenny Walton

Thoughts following the 5th International CBRN Safety and Security Conference is published by Falcon Communications Ltd. Postmaster: send address changes to: Falcon Communications US LLC, 2404 Fairway Oaks Court, Suite 100, Hampstead, Maryland, 21074.



31 A strong Center Tristan Simonart, European Commission Director General for International cooperation and development, EU CBRN CoE, Gulf and Central Asia, on the wider Center of Excellence family

35 A Culture of CBRN Nasser bin Nasser, Managing Director of MESIS, gives his opinion on what is working well at the CBRN COE in the Middle East

39 Crimping the terrorist threat Gwyn Winfield looks at Project CRIMP, Interpol’s project to combat potential chemical terrorists in Iraq

43 Being responsible Caner Zanbak, Environmental Coordinator at the Turkish Miners Association, talks to Zoe Rutherford about careful management of chemicals

48 Pollution Solution Mr. Luay Al-Mukhtar, National focal point, from the Iraq Ministry of Health and Environment, discusses pollution and chemical safety in Iraq with Zoe Rutherford

53 An improving situation Colonel Jeff Brodeur (ret.), CBRN subject matter expert, and Dr Laima Warnecke on the challenges of chemical security and radiological safety in Iraq, tracing the current situation’s origins through the past few decades

Legal Niceties: Reproduction in whole, or part, of any content of Thoughts following the 5th International CBRN Safety and Security Conference, without prior permission, is strictly prohibited. Any correspondence should be addressed to The Editor, We acknowledge the assistance and hard work of many individuals, associations and organisations who have contributed to this magazine. The information published in this magazine has been published in good faith and the opinions contained in the article are those of the author and not Falcon Communication Ltd. Photos are credited individually. ©Falcon Communication Ltd 2021.


A higher education

A higher education Professor Falah H Hussein, emeritus professor at the faculty of pharmacy, University of Babylon and member of the ministerial CBRN committee in the ministry of higher education and scientific research talks about his plans


GW: How did the University of

chemicals store, where many

Babylon (UoB) get involved in

dangerous chemical materials are

CBRN? What of its research are

held, and in 2015 a national

you looking forward to seeing

symposium was launched, which

come to completion? Is it on

attracted many chemical,

track to become an

biological, radiation and nuclear

international university this year,

security specialists. UoB like other

or has Covid killed that?

Iraqi universities, takes safety and

FH: In 2008, various US

security measures in labs and

government partners associated

public utilities very seriously. To

with the department of defence

this end, a central committee was

and state department’s

formed to monitor the safety of all

cooperative threat reduction (CTR)

dangerous and prohibited

chemical security programmes,

materials. The great support of the

initiated capacity building efforts

UoB president and their scientific

to train Iraqi scientific cadres to

assistance has established the

better understand and implement

University of Babylon as a pioneer

chemical and biological safety and

and leader in Iraqi CBRN safety

security practices. As a graduate

and security since 2008.

of Nottingham University in the

Right from the start of the

UK, I have long been aware of the

project, UoB has put a lot of effort

importance of this subject as it

into outstanding scientific

concerns the life of students and

progress. The UoB’s leadership is

teachers, and have joined many

very concerned about

seminars inside and outside Iraq

international rankings and takes

to develop this programme. The

all necessary steps to ensure a

UoB noticed my great interest in

place in the distinguished

this area and recognised the value

scientific hierarchy of Iraqi

and importance of making

universities. Despite the spread of

progress in chemical (and later

Covid-19, the UoB, has

CBRN) security. In 2014 UoB

experienced no negative impact

decided to build an ideal

whatsoever on the scientific

Thoughts following the 5th International CBRN Safety and Security Conference

A higher education

The audience for the conference has grown year on year ©Falah Hussein progress that plays a prominent

people’s abilities in many areas.

as well as chemical, nuclear, and

role in helping our community

How can we control the border?

radiation, it’s the tools and

combat and avoid the virus. At

How can we control the sale and

acceptance from the international

this stage of the pandemic, the

purchase of hazardous materials?

centres that we need. Once we

CBRN team is taking all necessary

How do we monitor the

are established and respected then

measures to help all citizens be

movement of hazardous material

we can call or invite experienced

fully aware of its [potentially]

from when it enters Iraq through

people from outside Iraq to give

fatal consequences.

the supply chain, whether it’s in

lectures or seminars. For the past

transit elsewhere or used in an

six years we have been trying to

end product?

establish this centre, but there

The most important subject that I'm looking forward to seeing in Iraq is the establishment of a CBRN

This centre will provide practical

has been a lot of government

centre that can serve as a central

training for our people and will

indifference. Now I have decided

institute to continually monitor,

need subsidisation from the

to establish it privately without

understand, prioritise, support, and

international community in two

government support. We have

coordinate technical and policy

ways. The first subsidy is for the

the land, the infrastructure, and

education surrounding CBRN safety

tools and the second is to train the

the people, even if we don’t have

and security competencies.

staff and leadership of this centre,

the government.

not only in advanced institutions GW What kind of centre is it

in Iraq but also in Britain,

GW: Is this going to be low level

going to be? Will it be science

Germany, or the US. Another

awareness training, where you

or training based, or both?

element, and one of the most

will probably have many

FH: Currently we have no CBRN

important, is how does this centre

hundreds of people needing

centres in Iraq and I always say

get certification that is accepted

training? Or is this at a more

that this is my dream! Having the

by the national and international

advanced level, where you might

centre will ensure a training venue

community? Any certificate that is

perhaps have tens of people? All

for the ministries of defence and

not recognised by the international

of this impacts the type of

the interior, and all other security

committee, is worthless.

facility that you build.

ministries. It will be led by CBRN professionals and will increase

We have the human resources,

FH: Currently we have no centre,

specialists in biosafety and security

so I think that when we have it

Thoughts following the 5th International CBRN Safety and Security Conference


A higher education

thousands of people will be

FH: My primary ambition is to

security situation does not mean

trained! When you look at the size

help both the UofB and the

that the strict adherence to

of the audience, it includes people

College of the Future reach

CBRN safety and security moves

working for the ministry of

international ranking not only

to a secondary level due to local

defence, ministry of interior, the

because I belong to them, but

change, risk is everywhere in

border staff that check goods

because they really deserve

all communities.

entering or leaving Iraq, and those

prominent ranking. They strive to

working in customs on desk jobs.

implement all the measures

of Iraq, they used chemical

It will also help people working in

needed for CBRN. I would like to

weapons and we found that they

the oil ministries, analytical

see the UofB at the top of the

were concentrating on chemical

chemists, and many industries. All

rank of state universities and Al-

stores and laboratories to access

these people need to be trained on

Mustaqbal University College at

more chemicals to use as weapons

CBRN regulations.

the top of the rank of private

to harm the people. The

universities. To be honest the

government and friends of Iraqi

GW: Would this will be

leadership in both institutes are

tried to overcome this problem

something that you will provide,

working on that and they’re

and we did a workshop via the

for example, to people like

capable of reaching this goal.

CTR, with a great deal of training.

General Mahmoud Delli and his

We included intensive courses

civil defence force? Or will

GW: Do they have different

about chemical and biological

they have their own training

foci within CBRN? Is, for

safety and security, so they are

facility and you’ll deal with

example, one looking at basic

capable of protecting their

other agencies?

research and the other looking

laboratories and their chemical

FH: I don't mind! I'll be very glad if

at applied research, one on

and biological stores. As you say

any of these ministries like the

chemistry and the other on

the security situation has calmed

idea and run with it, because even

biology? How do they fit into

in the north and everything is

if the CBRN basics are the same,

that CBRN research space?

under control.

the rest will be unique for all the

FH: They are both interested in all

ministries. People and infrastructure

of CBRN. Babylon University has a

GW: Daesh made a mess of

need regulations on safety and

radiological and nuclear focus,

Mosul University. Have you

security that are dedicated to

and Al Salam University

managed to work with them to

them, as do the people working in

concentrates on chemical and

try and resolve some of the

the ministry of health. The

biological, but we are working on

legacy problems there?

specialisations will need to be

a curriculum and compulsory

FH: The University of Mosul was

written specifically for them, but

subjects for people who need skills

one of the most august

the basics are for everyone.

in safety and security. Undergrads

universities in Iraq for a long time.

and postgrads would need to pass

Though ISIS did its best to destroy

this compulsory course.

it completely, the university

GW :You work with both the University of Babylon and Al-


After Daesh entered the north

regained its glory very quickly

Mustaqbal University College,

GW: Has the improvement in

following the expulsion of those

and chair both CBRN

the security situation in the

criminals. What helped was the

committees. Do they both want

north meant that CBRN has

significant efforts of the ministry

to be of international rank and

moved down a level in priority?

of higher education as well as all

is there one that specialises in

FH: Priority is given to CBRN in

other universities including the

CBRN regulations?

all circumstances. The improved

UoB. I helped the University of

Thoughts following the 5th International CBRN Safety and Security Conference

A higher education

Mosul benefit from assistance

delegates to these events.

concerning the transport of

offered by international

Moreover, the university began

dangerous and prohibited

organisations via the CBRN central

creating new relationships in

materials into the country. All

committee at the university and

many different sectors to enhance

borders are controlled lest some

also encouraged the university

security. This is, of course, is in

prohibited items enter Iraq.

cadres to participate in all local

line with conferences’ strapline:

and international scientific

We all work together for a secure

in 2020 was the discussions on

workshops especially those

Iraq. Due to the increasing

the transportation of hazardous

involving CBRN. This culminated in

number of foreign participants, a

material inside Iraq, and chemical

outstanding participation of its

decision was taken to convert the

and biological waste treatment.

cadres in those workshops.

conference into an international

Both are very dangerous, and were

one. This goal was achieved and

discussed in detail. International

GW: You have been working on

the number of delegates increased

support will be good as currently

a national CBRN conference for

to 615 from 21 countries.

we have no clear recognition on

four years. How have you seen

What I really looked forward to

the transportation of hazardous

the conference grow? What are

GW: What happens to the

material inside Iraq. We have a

you hoping to achieve from

conference findings in the

great deal of chemical and

this one, and how will 2021’s

months after it takes place? Are

biological waste, mostly treated

be different?

there teams of people working

imperfectly, and unfortunately

FH: The first national conference

on deliverables like mitigating

much of the medical waste now

was held in 2016, when there

market gaps or vulnerabilities?

goes into the rivers, which is a

were 210 participants, mostly

How do you integrate with

disaster. I'm looking forward to

from the ministry of higher

existing work on these things?

international cooperation to help

education and scientific research.

FH: We are assisted by

us with this.

It was quite difficult to convince

knowledgeable decision makers in

other ministries, especially the

various Iraqi ministries and the

GW: Are you seeing other

security ones to send their

office of national security offers

government agencies start to

employees to the event. Also the

great support. Many gaps in CBRN

engage, or engage more, thanks

security ministries did not give

have been filled, especially in the

either to Covid or greater CBRN

approval for such conferences.

transport sector and Iraqi borders,

appreciation? Are we close to a

Despite their refusal, we decided to hold the second conference in 2017. There were more participants at this conference and that increased over the following years. When the security agencies and ministries were certain that the University of Babylon was an authentic and credible stakeholder and highly qualified in dealing with CBRN and spreading governmental and community awareness of its importance, they started sending

Prof. Falah Hussein (centre) has been a driving force in Iraq CBRN for years ©Falah Hussein

Thoughts following the 5th International CBRN Safety and Security Conference


A higher education

‘whole of government’ approach

research undertaken, funding

you seeing more interest in

to CBRN?

secured or contacts made?

biological issues, whereas

FH: There has been full awareness

FH: We have had many successes.

chemicals was the previous

of the CBRN challenges facing

In one example a chemical

‘hot topic’?

different sectors for more than 10

engineer from a company north

FH: For this conference, priority

years, long before Covid-19’s

of Babylon admitted openly that

has been given to discussions

appearance. The national security

this conference was the first

related to Covid-19. There were

adviser conducted a

event looking at the challenges of

also three other sessions that

comprehensive study to unify our

how to transfer materials to and

focused on prevention and

strategic security policy concerning

from this company, and to

treatment protocols. These

CBRN and all sectors, including the

different parts of Iraq. At that

sessions were attended by world

ministry of education, participated

time, it took more than two to

experts in the field.

in this study. I have to mention

three months to get the

that many international

necessary agreements but now

GW: What do you see as the

organisations such as the Chemical

this can be done in 72 hours, all

major challenges facing Iraq,

Security program (CSP Home -

because the conference provided

UoB and the conference in the

CSP-State (,

a good opportunity to meet

next few years? How are you

Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR

people from different agencies

orientating to face them?

Cooperative Threat Reduction

and sectors. They included people

FH: I am fully certain that this

(, Defense Threat

from national security and a

conference will be a great success

Reduction Agency (DTRA), and

numbers of ministries, including

and fulfil all our ambitions. There

Health Security Partners (HSP)

defence, the interior, industry and

will be no major challenges facing

have provided Iraqi establishments

minerals, oil, etc. Having them all

this conference; however, we feel

with all types of financial and

under one roof, even in their

that the real challenge for us is to

advisory support to enhance safety

breaks, enabled them to discuss

maintain momentum and success

and security progress.

the problems and reach solutions.

in upcoming conferences to better coordinate and coalesce the

GW: How useful has

GW: Did Covid impact on the

international community on CBRN

international support been for

choice of topics this year? Are

safety and security priorities.

the event? Does it act as a transmission belt for positive activity in the following year? Are there any other significant players that you are hoping to bring in for 2021? FH: International support is very important for us in CBRN. DTRA hopes to attend it in person, rather than online, like this event. GW: Are there any successes from past conferences that you could talk about? Have gaps been filled either because of 8

Covid enforced a smaller audience and the ever present PPE ©Falah Hussein

Thoughts following the 5th International CBRN Safety and Security Conference

Building out

Building out Shawn BakerGarcia, CEO of The Critical Mass, talks to Gwyn Winfield about taking the conference to new heights

Dr Falah Hussein of Babylon

the chem and bio portfolios of

University is perhaps the most

CTR. Pretty soon, other U.S.

visible of the national organisers

agencies realised: ‘We've got this

of the CBRN Safety and Security

person in Baghdad who seems to

Conference in Iraq, but behind the

understand CBRN!’ I ended up

scenes (and sometimes up front) is

being a gateway for some of them

Shawn Baker-Garcia. Ms Baker-

to get information about what

Garcia has been supporting the

they were trying to accomplish in

event since its inception, first via

their CBRN programmes.

the state department, then the

“That's when I met Dr

Defense Threat Reduction Agency

Mohammed Sharaa, who was then

(DTRA), and now through The

director general of the Iraq

Critical Mass (TCM).

National Monitoring Authority, the

Her involvement dates back to

national compliance authority for

2012, when she was based in Iraq

international regimes and treaties

as part of the Cooperative Threat

pertinent to nonproliferation. The

Reduction (CTR) office at the

three of us were well connected

State Department. Ms Baker-

throughout Iraqi and U.S.

Garcia explained: “I first

networks. In 2015 we reviewed

encountered Dr Falah in 2011, at

incoming proposals and ideas for

a meeting in Amman where we

Iraq, and the Iraqis actually came

were working together to

to us suggesting a conference. Dr

reactivate the Iraq Chemical

Falah and I had kept in touch over

Society. He had a clear grasp of

the years, and we cultivated this

what was important and was very

idea and Dr. Sharaa agreed: ‘We

practical. He has this ability to

should do this!’ We then oversaw

speak truth to power; and as a

the inaugural conference and with

professor it is amazing how many

all our contacts we drew the

people have sat in his classes! By

cream of the Iraq CBRN crop to

2014 I had just returned from two

attend. I left the State Department

years in Iraq, where I had been

knowing they still had an Iraq

deployed to Baghdad to oversee

programme, but felt pretty good

Thoughts following the 5th International CBRN Safety and Security Conference


Building out

about it, and went to support Oak Ridge’s DoD CBRN nonproliferation programme for Iraq. While there I developed a national chemical security framework assessment for Iraq, jointly with Pacific Northwest National Laboratories, working with Dr Kabrena Rodda who was one of our esteemed key notes for this latest conference. “The conference dropped off the radar for the State Department and DoD funding that year, and the Iraqis did it on their own. After that, DTRA got involved for several years, up to and including 2020. “In 2019 the conference was socialised around DTRA via its proliferation prevention programme. They thought it was a good idea and went ahead and funded it. This became the second

understand that, and was keen to

real job for TCM, and we got a

support given the importance of

for the past three iterations it is

modest amount of funding to help

the forum. We were fortunate to

great to see how the audience has

the Iraqis. So we implemented the

have the opportunity to partner

broadened, expanding from a

conference for them, working on

with Culmen International under

(relatively) small group of

the organisation, agenda and

their sponsorship to lend a hand.

academics to very nearly a whole

speakers. In December 2019, I was

“The value I continue to see in

Having been personally involved

of government response. The

in Baghdad for a stakeholder

this conference is that it yields

benefit is that it allows other

meeting with 35 to 40 Iraqis and

invaluable information for a fairly

government departments to see

talked about internal indigenous

low-dollar investment. If you're

what everyone else is funding, and

subsidisation. They advised that

looking to fund capacity building

take a temperature check against

the government of Iraq would put

projects on CBRN security, and

them – am I too hot, or too cold?

a line item for CBRN into its

you need data to validate or

Thanks to the passion of Drs Falah

ministry budgets for the next

inform your programme design

and Sharaa, and the work of Ms

fiscal year so they would be able

then sponsoring an event like this

Baker-Garcia the University of

to fund the sixth conference,

is a great way to do that. The

Babylon is at the centre of it,

although timing precluded support

government of Iraq, gets a

helping to set the national and

for the fifth.

platform and a voice to elevate its

regional agenda.

“Covid struck out of the blue in


Thanks, in part, to the conference there has been an increase in CBRN funding ©Civil Defence

priorities and concerns over gaps

“Babylon University has a great

February and budgets were

among its leaders. Babylon

role, and as the CBRN budgets in

redirected accordingly in many

University has become a vehicle

Iraq are improving, they're

cases in Iraq. DTRA seemed to

for neutrality.”

starting to get more reliable

Thoughts following the 5th International CBRN Safety and Security Conference

Building out

funding so they can do this

Underneath that are operators

conference can and should be at

indigenously. It’s still important

who are either active government

the centre of all things CBRN,

that donor nations who care

or private sector, and understand

ensuring that new approaches to

about these issues should

what the top VIPs in the Iraqi

the problems are discussed,

continue to support even if it’s

government care about. So you

teams that can solve them are

just covering the costs of this

can have multiple donors, and it

brought in, and an audience of

year's tote bags. It all helps to

will come down to the operators

likeminded people is there to

buy a seat at the table and make

who care about Iraq and ensure

contribute. Ms Baker-Garcia felt

for a genuine multilateral cost

that funding stays and doesn’t

confident that the organizing

share. We've shown we can pull

become a momentary

stakeholder team could do it, but

in top level international

phenomenon. It can get messy,

admitted it was a challenge.

expertise, from Pakistan, Georgia

especially with too many cooks in

and Jordan. This was a great way

the kitchen at the operator level.

point. He can throw the world's

to take the first step towards

You can never have too many Iraqi

greatest CBRN conference for Iraq

creating a macro-community, and

ministries or other governments

with all the glory that brings. Now

facilitating connectivity and

interested, it is all very

he and the organizing committee

information sharing.”

manageable as long as there are

need to make it more strategic

clear rules and responsibilities

and deliberately designed. A

which are enforced at all levels.”

committee should look at Iraq's

It is obviously desirable to have greater multi-national support, whether from the US, Europe or

Success in bringing all these

“This year Dr Falah proved his

main CBRN threats or

NATO, but one of the advantages

national and international

vulnerabilities each year and

of having a single sponsor is the

agencies together has its own

decide on the priority well in

clarity of message. The return on a

challenges. Once problems are

advance. Having a central theme

“low-dollar investment” has meant

released and donors found, what

is most productive, is it nuclear

that Iraq has benefitted from one

is working needs to be updated

energy you care about? Probably

clear voice. As the event builds in

constantly, but not in a way that

not for Iraq, but at some point you

the region, and attracts greater

makes things look bad and

have to do something for the

attention, diverse and conflicting

unnecessarily hurts egos. There

radiological experts attending.

opinions and priorities may

can be many reasons why

They probably have issues they are

present an emerging challenge.

something isn’t working. This

keen to raise.

Europe might want to deliver capability one way, while the US prefers another. Odds are if they can’t agree, they’ll end up trying to deliver both and split the national effort into competing camps which decreases the focus on. national capability building. Ms Baker-Garcia admitted that it is difficult to balance all this, but that didn’t mean don’t try. “You've got governments who care about these issues, albeit with their own reasons for working together.

Dr Falah and the organizing committee need to make the conference more strategic and deliberately designed ©Civil Defence

Thoughts following the 5th International CBRN Safety and Security Conference


Building out

Conference recommendations must be prioritised to set the

chemical security priorities’.

The conference brings stakeholders together and I always

stage for next year, whether that’s

“You won’t get the whole

advise anybody who’s in this

a quick briefing on progress or the

memorandum drafted at that

space; try to figure out who

resolution of a specific problem.

working group, but you could agree

impacts a given ministry or

Without this, there’s a risk of

on what will be included. Once

individual as no one works in a

bouncing from problem to

parties have committed to this

vacuum. They don't always know

problem, because maybe you

MOC it becomes an implicit

who they need…and newcomers to

focused on radioactive waste but

accountability mechanism because

the table always have a massively

next year Daesh is back and doing

when we get to the sixth

important role in all this."

CW. There has to be a strategy for

conference, we can ask: ‘How's

the conference that stops it from

that MOC going? What does it look

want more national agencies in

being purely reactive.”

like and what has been done?’"

the room, but also multinational

Ms Baker-Garcia also agreed


cooperation or coordination on

To progress these

Ms Baker-Garcia doesn’t just

ones. As recounted elsewhere

that the “wrap-up” closed

memorandums, or any other

this magazine, there are many

conference working group sessions

codified commitment of

problems still to be overcome in

need to be more results driven.

cooperation, a comprehensive

Iraq, some needing advice and

This time they came at the end of

group of agencies has to attend

others, money. Marrying up the

a long day, and with no

future conferences, otherwise

right agencies to do that is vital.

deliverables scheduled people felt

progress will stall. While most of

“Multinational organisations like

they could opt in or not. These

them do attend, a few are notable

the UN and the World Health

should be an essential element of

either for their absence or low

Organisation (WHO) could be

the programme and with greater

numbers of delegates. Ms Baker-

doing more. Many of the Iraqis

international participation this

Garcia agreed this was so, but

in the room are agnostic in

could be achieved. If the EU, for

stated that the last major stand-

terms of funding, so hopefully

example, was interested in a

outs had participated this time,

people with certain skill sets, like

particular workshop, and keen to

and hopefully will be back in

TCM, can offer ways to work

gain greater insight into how it

greater numbers in future. “We

with those people on much

can help develop solutions, then

still need, for example, more

needed activities because we can

delegates are more likely to be

border security and transportation

optimise the outcomes.

engaged. Ms Baker-Garcia felt

security people, at either ministry

that would be a great start and

or practical levels. This has proven

meetings at the super high level

help the drive towards

to be a forum where colleagues

where everybody comes and talks,

memorandums of cooperation

from other ministries can

or at least they did before Covid,

(MOCs). “Both public and private

acknowledge and agree to

but these are disconnected from

sectors should have a 'roll your

increase or improve coordination

what's happening on the ground

sleeves up’ moment and hammer

and communication. This

and I don't know if they're the

out a framework for an MOC. This

happened during the 5th

best use of resources. In addition

can then address some basic

conference but it was subtle and

you need a lower tier meeting.

points so we can say: ‘One of the

unless you follow Iraqi

These are a challenge as they

conference recommendations is to

stakeholder dynamics you may

quickly get so big that they’re

create an official memorandum of

not have seen it, but there were a

untenable. You’re giving agenda

cooperation between these

couple of these types of

time for somebody to talk but not

organisations for better

exchanges or interactions.

to solve problems. What’s needed

“They have regular coordination

Thoughts following the 5th International CBRN Safety and Security Conference

Building out

is organised groups that will feed information up the chain. Iraq needs some entity to keep track of the different donor resources that are coming into the country. Recipients don't want to bite the hand that feeds them or disrespect anybody so they’ll accept things even though they don’t integrate with what else they are doing. There’s a lack of transparency about the utility

Shawn Baker Garcia is set to be a fixture at future events too! ©Civil Defence

of the aid, so I’d suggest there’s a

the requirements, so the

people. I would love the Iraqis to

regional donor/recipient

recipients get the most out of

build a formal conference

conference where leaders in the

what they're offered.”

committee, an advisory body that

field like Drs Falah and Sharaa

Shawn Baker-Garcia admitted

is comprised of as many ministries

and their counterparts get

that she is wedded to the Iraqi

as makes sense with

together with implementers and

conference, and the chances of her

representatives who are part of the

the programme-level officers

not being involved in the next

annual planning process. This will

from the funding agencies. The

iterations are very, very slim. She

mean that people and agencies

purpose would be a very honest

looks forward to a wider

don’t get forgotten, and will

discussion about what's working

framework for organizing the

encourage project management

and what's not in terms of

event, and further coalescing the

skills. We pull it off every year but

assistance. It’s about getting into

right people from the relevant

always at the 11th hour! Ideally

a better negotiating position, and

agencies in attendance so that

the approach and what the

being a better advocate for what

some of Iraq’s biggest CBRN

conference is expected to achieve

you need. If you’re offered

problems can be solved. “What

could be decided much earlier.”

different detectors to your

gets me excited is the prospect of

normal in-service model, maybe

codifying some of the sustainment

interviewed for this magazine is

it’s because each donor has a

elements of the conference. For

that the conference continues to

different contact in the Iraqi

example, a subsidisation plan,

be the transmission belt of

government, and those

formalising that in 2022 Iraq will

interoperability and funding, and

individuals aren’t sufficiently

ask for 10% external funding, 60%

that barriers between the

knowledgeable. They accept

Iraqi funding and 30% commercial

operators are broken down,

what’s offered, not realising that

– from exhibitors and delegates.

regardless of any infighting at

it isn’t particularly useful because

Getting that on paper and

ministerial level. By formulating

perhaps it’s not easily integrated

approved will be a huge step for

better, cross-cutting strategies the

with other existing equipment/

Iraq and will demonstrate a return

money that external players invest

material solution resources, and

on investment for the US

in Iraq will have both noticeable

the donor is not aware of what

government as they will see that

success in the country, and lateral

they have. We need to get donor

Iraq started with no plan or

impact in unexpected places. As

countries to understand the real

strategy but is now contributing X

the CBRN Conference organizers

requirements to include the user

amount in the next iteration. One

start planning for 2021 there is

environment context surrounding

aspect is money, the other is

little doubt it will be the best yet.

The hope expressed by everyone

Thoughts following the 5th International CBRN Safety and Security Conference


Level up

Level up Dr Ali Abdel Aziz al-Yasiri, director general of the National Centre for Joint Planning and head of the CBRN Team Development Team in Iraq talks to Gwyn Winfield about taking Iraq’s CBRN to the next level

GW: What is the role of the

national report on the level of

joint planning centre for the

preparedness of the authorities

national security advisory in

concerned with handling CBRN

Iraq and how does it fit into

accidents, and the requirements

CBRN defence?

for supporting and developing the

AY: The centre’s role is to build

national CBRN response teams. In

security strategies and policies at

addition to all this it also works

national level, as well as national

on Iraq’s national strategy to

plans and contexts to deal with

counter threats from WMD in the

challenges, threats and interests.

country, and the mechanism and

In short, it is the driving force for

controls for issuing import

Iraq’s national security. The

licenses for chemical and dual use

centre’s responsibilities are for

materials and hazmat, and liaising

preparing Iraq’s national chemical

with the end user. The centre

security strategy, its national

accomplishes all of the above

policy for the transport of

through the organisation and

hazardous substances, the

coordination of national

The National Centre for Planning's responsibilities are for preparing Iraq's national chemical security strategy ©Civil Defence 14

Thoughts following the 5th International CBRN Safety and Security Conference

Level up

authorities and the adoption of

radioactive sources; the Iraqi

employees and partners towards

state and national standards.

chemists syndicate and finally the

our goals, along with the great

Everything was approved in

private sector.

confidence that partners give us!

the national security council - the

GW: How are you looking to get

GW: What is the centre’s role in

highest security authority in Iraq.

increased buy-in to the centre?

crisis coordination? What has

How are you intending to

been achieved in the past few

GW: What agencies are in the

improve this?

years on this topic?

joint planning centre, and how

AY: We look forward to developing

AY: The centre sets plans and

do you ensure that they all

our work through developing

policies, and provides advice on

‘pull’ in the same direction to

skills, training, and knowledge

the near, medium and long term

achieve the centre’s goals?

about international experiences. In

goals. In the past few years we

AY: The centre has full control

addition, we have significant

have made great progress on

and powers to coordinate and

coordination with organisations

preparing the national policy for

deal with all responsible agencies,

and countries that can provide the

transporting dangerous materials

or those that deal with the

aforementioned services and

in Iraq, the initial work on the

requirements to respond to a

further develop the Iraqi national

national report on the level of

CBRN incidents. We help build

authorities, raise their capabilities

preparedness of the authorities

their capability and plan their

and modernise their equipment to

concerned with handling CBRN

leadership and coordination work

meet these challenges.

incidents and the requirements

accordance with the decisions of

with them. The various bodies

for supporting and developing the

that have provided

GW: What are the centre’s

CBRN national response teams. In

representatives to work within

priorities? What tools and staff

addition we have completed

the control of the centre include

have been given to you to

preparations for the national

the prime minister’s office’s

enable you to meet them?

strategy to confront WMD threats

national operations centre, and

AY: Our priorities are to complete

in Iraq and completed the

no fewer than 13 departments of

the building of the command and

preparatory work for our national

state. The latter comprise the

control system, build national

strategy for chemical security.

ministries of foreign affairs;

policies and plans to organise

Preparatory work is now

defence; the interior; finance;

work, coordinate efforts, develop

finished on the mechanism and

planning; oil; trade; transport;

institutions, officers, employees,

controls for issuing import

industry and minerals;

and even society in general to

licenses for chemical, dual use

agriculture; higher education and

deal with various circumstances,

and hazardous materials, and

scientific research; science and

challenges and risks. The risks we

following up on the end user. We

technology; and health and

are dealing with relate to the

have also contributed to

environment. In addition to these,

need to combat terrorism, outlaws

developing contexts and

there are further representatives

and organised crime so that we

opportunities for training and

working within the control of the

can achieve the highest level of

skills development and building

centre from the border ports

national security for our citizens

contexts of coordination and joint

authority; the counter-terrorism

and homeland, and help to

action between national partners.

service; the Iraqi national

strengthen security and

Finally, we have encouraged

intelligence service; the Iraqi

international peace. To achieve

various entities and agencies to

national security service; the Iraqi

this we have our official authority

work, participate and cooperate

commission for the control of

and the successes made by our

with each other.

Thoughts following the 5th International CBRN Safety and Security Conference


Level up

GW: This is the fifth iteration of

GW: How important are

AY: We have set a national

the Iraq CBRN Safety and

international institutions to

policy for the transport and

Security Conference. What have

achieving better CBRN safety

protection of dangerous

been the successes in this time?

and security in Iraq? What

materials, and this helps in

How has capability improved?

would be the most important

addressing this challenge. Iraq

AY: The University of Babylon has

thing for an agency new to Iraq

will continue to develop its

been making distinguished efforts

to understand?

capabilities in this area.

in the field of CBRN and has

AY: The importance of

organised this annual gathering,

international institutions in this

GW: What do you see as the

which attracts national and

field lies in providing support for

challenges that the centre

international CBRN experts. At the

quite a lengthy list of activities.

will be facing in the next two

end of each conference a list of

These include capacity

to three years and how are

important recommendations is

development, training, regional

you orientating yourself to

prepared and sent sent to our

and international participation

meet them?

department, and elsewhere, and

and coordination, exchange of

AY: The most important

we carefully follow the

experiences and information. The

challenges facing our strategic

recommendations and implement

rehabilitation of leaders and those

planning and decision-making

them. The most important thing to

responsible for challenging areas,

centres are threefold. Firstly,

have been achieved during these

reducing accidents and

there are the external challenges

conferences has been presenting

strengthening laboratories and

in the emergence of new forms of

the challenges facing Iraq as

border crossings also rate highly

terrorism with new names and

regards safety and security in all

among our priorities.

new tools of terrorism. Secondly

sincerity and transparency, and to

it is quite likely that financial and

ask friends and international

GW: Iraq has a strong

health crises that may weaken

organisations to help overcome

petrochemical industry, which

the funding of projects that

them. I believe we have made

requires access to some

support our efforts and training

many achievements in this field,

dangerous chemicals. How do

and technical activities both

and look forward to more support

you balance ensuring industry

inside and outside Iraq. And

in the future.

can obtain these chemicals and

finally, fluctuations in the

support a strong economy with

political process may affect some

the need for safety and security?

policies and priorities.

GW: What impact has Covid had on appreciation of CBRN threats in Iraq? Have CBRN concepts, decontamination/safe undressing etc, appeared in a response to an emerging infectious disease? AY: Yes. Advice was provided to the authorities responsible for dealing with these risks. So we sent information to the prime minister’s office, and the ministries of finance, planning, oil, health and environment, and labour and social affairs. 16

There are three challenges facing Dr al-Yasiri's strategic planning and decision-making ©Civil Defence

Thoughts following the 5th International CBRN Safety and Security Conference


Photos from the CBRN demonstration at the 5th International CBRN Safety and Security Coordination Conference *All photos are ©Civil Defence

The unsuspecting terrorist pulls up in front of his clandestine laboratory

Suddenly the SWAT unit appear, before the terrorist can do anything Thoughts following the 5th International CBRN Safety and Security Conference



Their sudden appearance means he is quickly apprehended without a struggle

Once he is under control other teams can arrive to secure the scene

The suspect is taken into custody and will provide security forces with useful information 18

Thoughts following the 5th International CBRN Safety and Security Conference


SWAT leave the scene and other specialist assets start to appear

It is important to have EOD clear the scene to ensure it is safe for other assets to start deploying

After a thorough search of the premises, EOD is happy for other units to be deployed Thoughts following the 5th International CBRN Safety and Security Conference



CBRN troops turn up and discover a laboratory on the premises, what has he been building?

The IMASS is able to sample a wide variety of white powders for a range of threats

The CBRN mission includes forensic attribution and care, this will make for a much smoother court case 20

Thoughts following the 5th International CBRN Safety and Security Conference


Their sampling work done they exit the building

Having been in a potentially contaminated environment the CBRN team needs to go through individual decon

The samples will be analysed at the lab, if there are any mistakes the team will need to go back in Thoughts following the 5th International CBRN Safety and Security Conference


CBRN in the time of Covid

CBRN in the time of Covid Brigadier General Mahmood Delli, Iraqi CBRN Department Manager at the Department of Civil Defence in Iraq talks about their experience on the front lines

GW: When last we spoke

capabilities through continuous

(December 2018) there were 15

daily training and by conducting

CBRN civil defence teams in

exercises using virtual scenarios

Iraq, how many are there now

determined in advance according

and how has the capability

to the threats for each province,

improved? What is the CBRN

the specificity of that province

incident response department

and potential incidents. Good

doing these days?

strides have been made in this

MD: Yes, there are still 15 teams

area, and we are now in the

distributed across the Iraqi

second phase of this work,

provinces, apart from the

preparing a database of

Kurdistan region, where there are

institutions in these provinces,

three teams in the region’s interior

which deal with chemical,

ministry, in addition to the

biological, radiological and nuclear

chemical division in the

materials and preparing a special

peshmerga. We are looking for

map for that. We’re also activating

more cooperation and coordination

their self-defence teams, training

between the federal administration

them to work with our teams in

and regional administration

responding to likely accidents,

regarding the work of these teams,

working out the right ways to deal

in the hope that an exercise will

with them and address the gaps

be conducted throughout Iraq to

that exist at the same time, and of

put the relevant emergency plans

course coordinating with the

into practice.

relevant authorities. The

We have developed our teams’ 22

campaigns carried out by our

Thoughts following the 5th International CBRN Safety and Security Conference

CBRN in the time of Covid

Civil defence have been training fire, rescue, explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) and the department of operations and environmental police in CBRN ©Civil Defence teams in dealing with the

MD: Those other departments

GW: How are you building on

coronavirus pandemic have given

comprise, fire, rescue, explosive

your EOD and forensics

us a lot of momentum through 10

ordnance disposal (EOD) and the

capability? Have you had any

months of field experience and 8-

department of operations and

missions where you have needed

10 hours of hard work daily .

environmental police. A plan was

to use them?

prepared by the CBRN department

MD: One important and effective

of tasks to accomplish especially

at the end of 2018 to train and

section within the directorate of

at present, as we are now

qualify teams from these

civil defence is the EOD

working to improve coordination

departments and conduct field

department, which is highly

with the rest of the departments

exercises on supporting response

experienced in its field, including

in the civil defence directorate

teams in the field.

dealing with mines and explosives

and the ministry of interior

Implementation began with

dropped from the air, however it

directorates as well as other

teaching them the concepts of

lacks expertise in dealing with

institutions. There’s work for the

responding to chemical,

improvised explosive devices.

members of the response teams

biological, radiological and

Currently we are working on

and others in the support

nuclear accidents. That meant

developing expertise to deal with

agencies as well as awareness

explaining what these incidents

explosive charges among its

raising lectures. We have also

are and the ways of responding to

operatives so they can be involved

been planning advanced training

them. They needed to know what

with the CBRN response teams,

courses for the response teams in

are the roles of each team in

but due to the coronavirus

Baghdad and the provinces.

supporting the main, CBRN,

pandemic this project has been

response teams. They also learnt

postponed until further notice.

GW: What has happened in the

about the support available from

Even so, the response teams in

rest of the civil defence

the health departments, security

Baghdad and the provinces have

directorate, away from CBRN?

forces, evidence and explosives

experts from the directorates of

Have you seen an increase in

experts, and representatives of

criminal evidence and explosives,

interest and/or expertise in

veterinary departments in the

who have been trained and

other departments, which means

ministry of agriculture and other

prepared to work with the CBRN

you can call on them more?

relevant entities.

response teams.

The CBRN Department has a lot

Thoughts following the 5th International CBRN Safety and Security Conference


CBRN in the time of Covid

They have participated in many

environment, the security services

most important points we face is

incidents to which our teams

and related authorities to follow

the means of detecting biological

responded, especially during the

up on the remnants of ISIS's use

factors, and the laboratories to

liberation of Nineveh province,

of chemical weapons such as

deal with such agents. The

where explosives experts dealt

mustard gas. In normal business

detections kits we use have a

with a car bomb carrying a

we also work with these agencies

shelf-life not exceeding two years,

1,000l (220gallon) container of

to sustain the database of

which causes a continuous deficit

chlorine gas. The situation was

chemical materials.

in their availability, especially in

controlled and the necessary action was taken.

light of the financial crisis that we GW: A variety of international

are going through. As for

agencies have been keen to

coronavirus, we have prepared for

GW: Are you working with the

support you, like Interpol and

this by purchasing personal

new environmental police,

the US state department. Has

protection equipment (PPE) and

especially in the post-Daesh

that continued, what have you

the appropriate disinfectant

north? What kind of cases are

found useful?

solutions with international

you finding, and how is this

MD: International support from

specifications and the approval of

affecting the training and

Interpol and the US state

the ministry of health and the

capability of the team?

department continues, but it is

veterinary department of the

MD: The environmental police in

also affected by the issue of

ministry of agriculture for the

the directorate of civil defence

coronavirus as are the directorate

sterilisation and preparation of

work in direct coordination with

of civil defence and the CBRN

trucks used by the directorate of

the Ministry of Environment in

department. We are working to

civil defence.

Baghdad and the provinces. This

implement many plans with the

police department has 16

support of partners, and have

GW: How has your decon

environmental police stations in

good and successful relations with

capability been improved by the

Baghdad and the provinces, which

these friendly entities.

Covid crisis? You have bought a

is one more than the number of

Coordination continues to reach

lot of commercial equipment,

CBRN response teams, as in this

better stages and we are investing

will that be replaced like for

case Baghdad is considered as

all efforts in raising the level of

like, or will you start to order

two provinces, Al-Karkh and Al-

Iraq’s response teams.

specialised kit?

Rusafa, whereas the national response team covers all the

GW: Two years ago you were

for operation and is very

province of Baghdad.

already worried about biological

effective. If finance is available, it

incidents. Had you managed to

will certainly be purchased

a good role in the success of the

get anything ready in preparation

according to lists prepared to

campaign carried out by the

by the time Covid landed?

meet the specific needs of the

directorate of civil defence in the

MD: The seriousness of biological

CBRN department.

face of the coronavirus pandemic.

weapons and the obstacles we

They were assigned to work with

face in responding to them are no

GW: The civil defence directorate

the response teams, especially in

secret to anyone interested in

was heavily involved in public

the northern provinces of Kirkuk,

CBRN, and ISIS has continued to

education campaigns for Covid.

Nineveh, Salah al-Din and Anbar,

promote its message about the

Has that been re-examined for a

and in coordination with the

use of silent death, referring to

CBRN incident, and what lessons

ministries of health, and

biological weapons. One of the

have you taken from it?

The environmental police played


MD: This equipment is still ready

Thoughts following the 5th International CBRN Safety and Security Conference

CBRN in the time of Covid

MD: More than one analytical conference has been held about the incidents to which the CBRN teams responded, and the lessons learned and the gaps that have been identified have been discussed. The need to expand the CBRN culture has been taken into account at various levels and for all institutions, but the awareness campaigns for coronavirus have given our teams the opportunity to meet with the largest number of citizens. Campaigns have spread the message in the streets, markets, malls, and demonstration yards, as well as prisons, and it can be said that

The coronavirus could amount to free lessons for terrorists on the usefulness of biological weapons ©Civil Defence

we were able to reach the

staff in the response teams and

support the teams of neighbouring

farthest possible point in this

other teams in the face of such

governorates, whereby all three

field by using various means

incidents. [It is important to have]

neighbouring governorates support

including audio, video and print.

high confidence in our ability to

the team of one governorate in

In my opinion we have gained

driving what works into the

the event of an accident.

great experience in the

command, and [trust] the

process of spreading awareness

effectiveness of the equipment,

GW: What do you see as the

and communicating the

and PPE we use. At the same time

major challenges to the force

necessary information.

we have [gained] further field

in the next two to five years

experience in responding to such

and how are you preparing to

GW: What have been your

incidents and ways to manage

meet them?

lessons from the fogging/

them, and have invested all

MD: In my opinion as a CBRN

fumigating missions? Is this

available resources to make the

specialist and expert, I consider

going to continue into the

mission a success.

that repercussions from the

Spring, or have you started to

In addition, the necessary

coronavirus pandemic amount to

step down these missions as

updates have been made to our

free lessons for terrorists and

more is known about the agent?

plans relating to the work of the

terrorist organisations on the

MD: I can confirm that the

civil defence directorate, and in

usefulness of biological weapons by

fogging campaigns carried out by

particular service resolution one

informing them of the weaknesses

our teams in Baghdad and the

for the medical service and service

in all official and informal facilities

provinces were difficult and tiring

resolution eight for

and in all institutions.

tasks where we were working

reconnaissance and disinfection,

around the clock. My opinion is

which are contingency plans

continuing and I'm afraid will get

that the lessons we learned are to

included in the civil defence law

worse. For the first time, I hope

break the fear barrier among the

44 of 2013. A plan was adopted to

I'm wrong.

I think the biological threat is

Thoughts following the 5th International CBRN Safety and Security Conference


Only sleeping

Only sleeping Brigadier General Hajar Ismail, director of coordination and relations at the Ministry of Peshmerga, talks to Gwyn Winfield about preparing for Daesh’s re-awakening

While many areas in Iraq can lay

seems little doubt that the

claim to having been targeted

fatalities would have been in the

with chemical weapons, few have

thousands, as happened in

experienced more attacks than the

Halabjah in 19883.

Kurds. First through the Saddam regime, and then during the

CBRN support began arriving in

ravages of Daesh, the Kurdistan

for the Kurdish region from 2015.

region has suffered the use of a

Limited quantities of PPE and


range of chemical weapons . The

detectors were welcome, but there

most recent experiences started in

was never enough to allow the

2015, when Daesh began to attack

Kurds to adequately protect their

using vehicle borne improvised

citizens and forces from Daesh’s

explosive devices with chlorine

the imminent threat of mustard

payloads. As is often the case

and chlorine attacks. To assist in

when new weapons are

the fight, the Kurdistan Training

introduced to a conflict, response

Coordination Centre (KTCC), was

was improvised, but, through April

stood up in 2014 with eight

2015, when Daesh first deployed

countries helping to train the

improvised chemical mortars the

peshmerga. This is the fourth time

Kurdish CW response to these

I have interviewed Brig Gen Hajar

attacks was more synchronized

Ismail, the first time being in 2016

and expeditious.

when they stood up a chemical

Most deployments of Chemical

protection company and

weapons were small, isolated

laboratory. In addition to this they

attacks, but on occasion, as at

needed to provide generalist CBRN


Taza , there were sustained

training to the police and

bombardments causing hundreds

peshmerga forces, a total of

of casualties. Had Daesh ever

approximately 20,000 individuals.

managed to step up the toxicity ladder to nerve agents, there 26

National and international

The threats that the Kurdish CBRN forces have to face are not

Thoughts following the 5th International CBRN Safety and Security Conference

Only sleeping

The security situation in the north resulted in widespread destruction ©DoD just CBRN, but also toxic

of this has left Brig Gen Ismail

training was done by the DoD and

industrial chemicals. Another

very aware of the threat that

some by the state department.

touchstone of memory is al

chemicals are to his region.

Sandia Labs, for example, received

Mishraq4 chemical plant which

“The peshmerga CBRN unit is a

funds from the state department,

contains thousands of tonnes of

new unit in the ministry of

and opened joint training courses

sulphur. While this is outside

peshmerga, but very important to

for peshmerga and Iraqi ministry

Kurdish territory, a plume released

have so that we can protect our

of defence CBRN, both inside and

there had previously affected

forces and civilians. This was

outside the country. We also

Kurdish citizens negatively, even

especially necessary when ISIS

received some good equipment

though it was only activated as a

started using gas against us in

from Germany and the US. The

screen against allied bombing; and

2015 and ’16. We built a new unit,

goal is not just to have a CBRN

when Daesh dug in around Mosul,

small at first but now growing.

laboratory, but to have all the

there was the concern that the

Currently it is a CBRN company,

skills and equipment necessary to

same thing would happen again.

and command is centralised so it

face our CBRN enemies.”

Unlike the Saddam era release,

is controlled by the ministry of

this time it was a more limited

peshmerga based in Erbil, the

progress, and the peshmerga have

exposure, and a combination of

centre of the Kurdistan region.

also received training on using the

The laboratory is a work in

Iraqi CBRN forces and firefighters

“Instead of just one company

managed to contain the plant. In

we plan to have a CBRN regiment

United States. This will allow them

addition, Daesh also released and

with enhanced capacity. We are

confirmatory analysis of what

burnt a great deal of black oil to

grateful to the US and Germany

their handheld detectors tell them

act as an obscurant. There is a

for opening training courses for

in the field and means that they

suggestion that along with the oil

our CBRN soldiers, and many of

don’t need to reach back to other

they included mustard and this

them have attended courses in

allies and lose valuable time. What

Germany and the US. Some

has been a success for them is the


was confirmed by US forces . All

lab from the Germany and the

Thoughts following the 5th International CBRN Safety and Security Conference


Only sleeping

Mosul, thanks to unexploded ordnance and abandoned arms dumps, has become a highly dangerous place for the population ©DoD KTCC, this has four training

providing advice and monitoring

fighters, or at least the ones that

centres in the Kurdistan region:

the training of the peshmerga

haven’t escaped to continue the

Bnaslawa training centre, Atrush

forces. They will also look for the

fight in Libya or elsewhere.

training centre, Sulaymanyia

gaps that we have within the

Returning good governance to the

training centre, and in Manila

ministry of peshmerga in order to

ruined areas of Iraq will take a

training centre6. Before Covid shut

provide more logistical support to

long time, and in the interim there

them down, the centres had

the peshmerga. So we won't have

is fertile ground for recruitment

trained 40,000 peshmerga in a

KTCC any more, we will have

and caches of weapons, explosives

variety of skills, including train the

OCAT North.

and potentially chemicals for the

trainer in CBRN. The plan was to include greater


Though Daesh doesn’t hold any

recruits to use. Daesh is the latest

physical ground in Iraq, it is not

incarnation that started with Al

oversight and monitoring of the

dead, it is just sleeping. Brig Gen

Qaeda in Iraq, and there is every

KTCC, but even before Covid hit

Ismail is keen to point out that the

expectation that a new variant will

the coalition decided to have

ideology is the threat, it provides a

be just as unpleasant - Brig Gen

three operations central advisory

siren song to elements of the

Ismail uses the word ‘evil’ - as the

teams7. One of these is OCAT

Sunni population and former

last. It will take a strong unified

North, and this is in Erbil. As Brig

Ba’ath party members. In addition,

government to defeat Daesh, and

Gen Ismail explained: “These are

there are the various foreign

that is likely to take a generation8.

Thoughts following the 5th International CBRN Safety and Security Conference

Only sleeping

Brig Gen Ismail explained: “We

The coalition is still very active

“It was too early for prime

always say Daesh are defeated

in helping the Iraq military forces

minister Haider al-Abadi to

but not destroyed. They still exist

and the peshmerga forces defeat

announce the defeat of ISIS in

and are active in some areas like

Daesh. In addition to combat

2017, because even then they still

Kirkuk, Hamreen, Makhmoor,

operations they are equipping four

existed. The Iraqi army would

Diyala, and the disputed

peshmerga brigades and are also

enter the cities and control the

territories. We used to have a

looking to equip more peshmerga

main roads, but they never went

joint security mechanism between

and Iraqi army brigades for the

to some of the open areas or

the ministry of peshmerga and

Mosul area. Included within this

mopped up ISIS villages like

Iraqi ministry of defence, but we

will be chemical protection and

Hawaeeia and the Hamreen

don’t have that now. Instead,

detection devices. Even if there is

mountains or other places close to

there’s dialogue and negotiations

no actual attack, there is still the

the Iraq/Syria border.”

with the Iraqi army and support

likelihood that Iraqi forces will

from the coalition forces in the

come across chemical weapon

Gen Ismail, the Kurdistan region

disputed territories. We are

agents and explosive caches in the

doesn’t have to rely on the

working to rebuild or restart the

north. Daesh had a habit of

peshmerga alone. In addition to

joint security mission, joint

putting everything with a hazard

the Iraqi civil defence units, they

checkpoints, joint forces, and joint

sticker together in one site,

have now built up some of their

operations against Daesh. Right

regardless of any cross-reactivity

own civilian units that can deal

now we have a Kurdistan defence

or what the storage conditions

with threats from Al Mishraq or

line and an Iraqi defence line, and

might be like. In some cases this

any other hazmat situation. He

in some places there is a big gap,

could be a task for civilian forces,

explained the plan for the force.

hence the disputed territories. ISIS

but dependent on the situation

“We have firefighter units that are

takes advantage of this gap,

the peshmerga CBRN could well

now building CBRN units under

which can be 5-40 km wide, and

have to deal with it.

the ministry of the interior in the

uses this vacuum to grow. ISIS

Brigadier Ismail explained: “One

Unlike when I first spoke to Brig

Kurdistan region. We saw the need

remains a threat, and whenever

of the problems with fighting ISIS,

for them in the past, when they

they are a threat so are chemical

and why they are still around, is

were needed to deal with civilian

weapons against the Kurdish and

because they make so many

accidents, like when Daesh

Iraqi people.

tunnels. Some are underground

attacked at Kirkuk. So while we

and others are in caves in the

plan to build a regiment for

terrorist caliphate, when they

mountains. We are concerned, as

peshmerga CBRN there is also a

controlled major cities and large

maybe they buried some chemical

plan within the ministry of the

areas in Syria and Iraq. Now they

equipment or chemical agent in

interior for their own CBRN unit.

are forced back into attacking as

tunnels or caves and they are

It will be based in Erbil. A centre

small terrorist groups, like guerrilla

really difficult places to infiltrate.

has been opened for them, many

warfare. They lost their leaders,

Coalition forces are still trying to

of them have been trained outside

with many of them killed,

bomb them and shelling their

the country, and they have been

particularly Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi,

tunnels, but they have so many

supplied with good equipment

but they remain a threat, not only

long distance tunnels and we

from the US.”

in Iraq but also Syria. The border

don't know where they could be in

between the two countries is not

the Hamrin mountains or in the

years has been the relationship

fully controlled, so they can easily

disputed territories like Hwaeeia

with national CBRN units outside

slip between the two.”

or Qarachoog.

the Kurdistan region. Due to the

“In the past ISIS had their own

Another improvement in recent

Thoughts following the 5th International CBRN Safety and Security Conference


Only sleeping

Iraqi and Kurdish CBRN forces are learning to fight together ©Ismail nature of the warfighting, and the

Prohibition of Chemical Weapons,

shortage of assets, that

to view the situation on the

relationship had initially been

ground. They came, saw the

this relationship in the coming

fractious, but in the current

situation, the mortars and rockets

years. The expected economic

breathing space they have moved

and interviewed injured

downturn post-Covid is going to

ahead together. “We are looking

peshmerga. During our fight with

have a negative impact on their

forward to further improving the

ISIS, we had significant casualties,

plans to develop and grow the

relationship between peshmerga

out of a total 10,000 injured

CBRN team, though Brig Gen

CBRN and Iraqi CBRN. We have

peshmerga 400 were affected by

Ismail is convinced they will have

worked together successfully in

chemical weapons. We're looking

their regiment, as well as increased

the past as they provided us with

forward to cooperation with the

local tension. Such tension will

training, support, advice and some

Iraqi CBRN units.”

swell Daesh’s ranks and prompt

equipment. Especially when we


strengthen relations at all levels. Kurdistan will need to leverage

This close cooperation paid

further misinformation about how

were first attacked with chemical

dividends when Covid hit, the

Baghdad is not looking after youth

weapons in 2015 the first team to

Kurdistan health and peshmerga

in the regions, and this is likely to

assist was the Iraqi CBRN unit,

CBRN as well as other Iraqi

create problems for peshmerga

who came and did a survey of

agencies have been working

and CBRN too. Additionally, there

what ISIS had attacked and what

together for the citizens. In

is the cost of the clean up from

the danger was when ISIS used

addition to training peshmerga

decades of strife. Not only those

gas against us. We also had

CBRN unit and health care staff

areas that were targeted by Daesh,

cooperation from the Iraqi

they have also gone into cities to

but also places like Halabjah,

government when we asked the

decontaminate them and educate

which is still not being dealt with

UN and the Organisation for the

the public. The whole process has

over 40 years later.








8 Thoughts following the 5th International CBRN Safety and Security Conference

A strong Center

A strong Center Tristan Simonart, European Commission Director General for International cooperation and development, EU CBRN CoE, Gulf and Central Asia, talks to Gwyn Winfield about the wider Center of Excellence family

GW: Could I ask you to give a

member states. They are split into

top down description of what

different regions, three in Africa.

the European Union (EU)

one for the western part of the

Centres of Excellence (CoE) are

Middle East, one for the Gulf

doing, have done and will do in

region, one in Central Asia, one in

the next few years?

Southeast Asia, and yet another

TS: The CBRN CoE network is a

for the very important area that

very strong, robust, resilient

encompasses Eastern Europe, the

network developed over 10 years

Balkans and the Caucasus.

that will open doors to other

National “customers” or

synergistic programmes in the

authorities benefit from regional

coming years.

funding for projects, which might

When the CBRN CoE was

be for training, supplies,

launched 10 years ago, it needed

equipment or field exercises. They

to convince countries to join and

are also provided with confidential

establish regional secretariats.

methodology to assess their CBRN

Today there are 62 partner

gaps and needs, and to build and

countries besides the 28/27 EU

develop national CBRN action

The global impact from Covid has meant that some COE activities have been delayed ©Davide Costanzo Thoughts following the 5th International CBRN Safety and Security Conference


A strong Center

plans. These are shared for free

Institute in Dakar, helping it

TS: There are things that always

with partners and they either use

become the fully-fledged training

need to be consolidated and

them alone or they can activate

and research and reach-back

maintained because the

our EU technical support. In the

centre for Africa on the epidemic

international and local contexts

latter case, we would organise

intelligence, preparedness,

are changing. The programme has

missions to these countries to look

response and recovery.

contributed to enabling countries

at their gaps and risks, or build

The network is quite robust and

comprehensive all hazard systems

resilient. Each of the host

new challenges and Covid has

or dual-use export control regimes

countries in the eight regions has

been one of them. But in parallel,

and developments.

an acting regional director, who is

I've seen the quality of the

appointed by the host country’s

network and the trust building up.

difficult indeed in many places,

government. They are supported by

Now, several regions are working

but the networks have been

a full time UN regional

on developing regional action

activated in all regional centres. A

coordinator (UNICRI) and full time

plans, which is something we

series of webinars/exchanges on

international onsite assistance

would probably never have heard

lessons learnt on Covid, have been

experts who will work in these

of 10 years ago! Two years ago the

organised, and additional funding

regions to support the programme

Central Asia country

was provided for Covid supplies,

technically or scientifically on a

representatives asked for the

equipment and special online

permanent basis. The regions are

programme to look at building,

training. This has kept up the

quite autonomous and proactive in

starting, designing and developing

momentum by maintaining active

taking ownership and promoting

regional action plans for CBRN,

networks and contacts with and

new programmes. They work at

based on their national action

between partner countries.

different speeds, so it's difficult to

plans, need assessments and

compare the Middle East with

focused on the UN SCR 1540

programme relies on an entry

North Africa, Sahel and Central

resolution requirements. This is

point appointed by each

Asia, for example. But each region

now ready at the technical level, it

government, the national focal

has its own dynamic, and contact

was shared during the last Central

point, which is in charge of

is maintained two to three times a

Asia regional table in October and

coordinating an interagency/inter-

year through regional round tables

is being considered by each

ministerial approach to do the

between partner countries, the

country. They will make their own

work for that country. It’s a

European Commission, the UN,

decisions, but there is potential to

bottom up programme, but also

partners and experts involved in

move forward on a regional action

trying to achieve intra/inter-

the programme.

plan for CBRN matters. It might

Covid has made things very

On the structure, the CBRN CoE

country silos to enable the

take years, it might take months,

participating countries to have a

GW: Have you seen the CoEs

and there will be some strong

better view on any situation. We

change and evolve since they

challenges as it could become

focused on some flagship actions,

first started out? Initially the

political, but it is something that

focus was on each country

has been built and is now on the

Africa to build a fleet of five

having a national action plan and

table. In the near future we will

mobile labs that are fully equipped

developing interoperability. Can

continue in this kind of regional

and fully integrated in the

you claim mission success on that

action plan preparation in

regional architecture. That was

bit and move on to something

different regions. The Middle East

signed off last summer with

else, or is it never ending and

COE also has a draft to be further

Preasens Care and the Pasteur

just about getting better?

elaborated on.

including a €10m project in


to be better be prepared to face

Thoughts following the 5th International CBRN Safety and Security Conference

A strong Center

Another direction for the future is enabling the network to organise or connect to crossborder field exercises involving various CBRN stakeholders from different countries. A further dimension that will be continued is strengthening the connection with international bilateral and multilateral programmes, activities, networks and interactions that are in progress. With Covid, we even see more of these opportunities best way of adding value when

Additional funding was provided for Covid supplies, equipment and special online training ©CBRNe World

approaching outside countries for

TS: The starting point is to share

exchanging information and

possible partnering is to invite

the vision with each country, then

deciding on co-funding of

them to consider establishing a

it's in their hands. Besides, the EU

activities linked to export control,

single entry point and a national

has strong connections with the

security, science and CBRN in

CBRN team across ministries.

US, with DTRA, and the

particular. That’s another great

This would enable them to reach

departments of energy, state etc.

example of interaction with other

a point where they can have a

Currently, due to Covid, face to

global partners.

valid overview on all interactions,

face meetings are not taking place

avoid internal duplication and

, the last physical one took place

interaction with Interpol, Europol,

find synergies.

in 2019, but I am sure it will be

UN agencies and the World

reconvened soon between the US

Health Organisation (WHO) in

partnership and other systems

and EU CBRN partners. This has

many parts of Africa and Central

that map approaches, matrices

been very useful in some countries

Asia. I would come back to the

etc, but it will only work if it's in

in Central Asia, like Uzbekistan,

initial principle of the CBRN CoE,

the hands of each country. We

where we have been able to

which is to stimulate the

cannot do partnership and

identify potential overlap or

thinking. National teams should

efficiency for them, they have to

competition between Russia, the

include all their CBRN

do it though we can contribute.

US and Europe. The EU is also part

stakeholders as representatives;

of the International Science and

that means their 1540 focal

GW: In terms of global legacies,

Technology Centre, hosted in

point, their WHO international

how do you work with other

Kazakhstan, where the US,

health regulation focal or contact

multinational partners, such as

Canada, the EU as a body, Japan,

point or officials who represent

Interpol, the US state

South Korea and additional

the country externally. This

department, or the Defense

regional partners, share activity

delivers not only inter-

Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA)

and projects as well as funding for

ministerially, but also a cross-

to ensure that you're neither

specific activities. This was

cutting national team or network

providing training that runs

initiated after the Cold war and is

to include everyone interacting

contrary to theirs or is just

now an intergovernmental science

with internal and external CBRN


and technology platform for

stakeholders. This way they can

and sometimes duplication. The

We can dream of global

There is also regular, systematic

Thoughts following the 5th International CBRN Safety and Security Conference


A strong Center

filter and collect all information from all external bodies. GW: Has a disaster like Covid, for all the human loss, allowed member countries to see the benefit of a whole of government approach by forcing cooperation between government departments? Also there's an understanding that emerging infectious diseases are like bio-weapons and other CBRN-type incidents and they need to work together far more closely than in the past Have you seen feedback from any CoE nations suggesting that there

The COE can introduce partner countries to international experts and exercises, like this one in Belgium ©CBRNe World

have been breakthroughs?

lessons learned, but there will be

systems are not working well for

TS: Definitely. Although I cannot

a need for a wider discussion and

any reason, then good procedures,

share examples from all 62

far away from the daily stress

protocols and people won’t help if

countries as I do not have specific

and work.

something happens.

overviews of each of them! I've been engaged in the results from

GW: How do the CoEs ensure

multilateralism is the efficient

Africa, the Gulf and Central Asia,

they don't ‘fight the last war' so

way to share best practice. You

especially this year with Covid. In

we end up with an excellent

can’t close a discussion with a

the UAE, for example, they have

emerging infectious disease

fixed and final solution, nothing

been facing this crisis with a lot of

system but not a very good chem

is the best technology for

proactivity and engagement. They

system, for example? How do

everyone. Sometimes the best

have been able to take quick

you try and raise awareness that

compromise is the way to save

decisions and apply them across

even though what is happening

lives. Most important is the

the whole country, taking some

now will seem as if it’s going to

interaction and exchange of

direct technical and scientific

be important forever, other

experience and then, with top up

advice from the CBRN programme

crises will come along?

funding, to help bring out the

and its regional experts. A regional

TS: I think they know this. If we

substance on the ground. You

CBRN Hub was inaugurated in

just consider what happened in

need to have awareness of the

November in the Abu Dhabi.

Lebanon in August, it's a clear

interactions that are taking place

demonstration that if your

inside a nation or ministry and

sufficiently well prepared to face

chemical safety and security

this is how such a programme

and react quickly to such an event.

governance is inappropriate it

can contribute as it's always the

Our systems have suffered, and we

needs some major attention.

country that is responsible. It's

have not reacted as efficiently as

Equally there’s the question of

about creating a place that

we could have. Easier to say than

command and control, you may

contributes to multilateralism

implement! There are some big

have well trained people but if the

and international partnership.

Even in Europe, we were not


International cooperation and

Thoughts following the 5th International CBRN Safety and Security Conference

A Culture of CBRN

A Culture of CBRN Nasser bin Nasser, Managing Director of MESIS, gives his opinion to Gwyn Winfield on what is working well at the CBRN COE in the Middle East

Of all the regions around the

During discussions about what

world that need CBRN Centre of

this regional secretariat could look

excellence it would be hard to find

like, both sides recognised that

one where it’s more necessary

there was already an organisation

than the Middle East. If the CW

working like a centre of

usage wasn’t bad enough there

excellence, which was MESIS, and

have been tens of wars there,

able to host a secretariat, so there

involving one neighbour/faction or

was no need to reinvent the

another, resulting in extended


periods of instability and weak

The COE mission is to: “mitigate

government further bedevilling

risks and strengthen an all-

rebuilding and capability

hazards security governance in


partner countries of the EU

A variety of factors influenced

following a voluntary and

the location of the European

demand-driven approach. Under

Commission’s CBRN Centre of

the responsibility of CBRN

Excellence (COE), but the fact that

national focal points and their

Jordan has a strong and well

inter-ministerial CBRN national

respected government and hasn’t

teams, EU support is provided to

been in a conflict with any

implement a wide range of CBRN

neighbours since 1973 has to be

risk mitigation activities including

significant. Nasser bin Nasser

needs and risk assessments,

explained how it came about: “The

national and regional action plans,

Middle East Scientific Institute for

training, train the trainer modules,

Security (MESIS) was established

table top and real time (including

in 2002. Around 2010, given

cross-border) field exercises, in all

Jordan's multi-dimensional role in

partner countries and regional

regional security, the European


Commission requested that

The Middle East is a compact

Jordan, as a credible, reliable

COE, with Jordan, Iraq and

partner, host the regional

Lebanon, and MESIS is its home.

secretariat for the Middle East.

MESIS’ mission is: “mitigating

Thoughts following the 5th International CBRN Safety and Security Conference


A Culture of CBRN

CBRN risks in a region facing

whole of government approach

regular unrest… advocat[ing] a

and that's why the region

innovative approaches to building

networked approach to foster

struggles in countering other

capacity, including gamified

robust partnerships and

hybrid threats like violent

simulation-based training. We

collaborations in the face of the

extremism, or CBRN, because they

think the PowerPoint eight hour

threats of an ever-changing

require all of government in

workshop model is becoming

security landscape. MESIS believes

partnership. CBRN threats can be

obsolete, and we want to infuse

that a deep understanding of

addressed with a solereliance on

our very traditional sector with

culture is essential for developing

the guns, gates and guards

some new thinking when it comes

successful approaches to reducing


to capacity building and the

threats. [They] design and

learning sciences. We attempt to

implement culturally-relevant,

to create some regional

measure our impact and quality,

engaging, and sustainable

cooperation on these threats and

and not just look at some of the

capacity building programmes in

risks as they're cross border by

more quantifiable metrics that

addition to being a driver for

nature. Our third aim is to

policymakers are caught up with:

policymaking and legislation

promote what role there is for

how many workshops, participants

development in areas related to

civil society, and there are very

or nationalities. We act as a driver

few civil society organisations

for policy making in the region

working on security issues in our

and hope to carve out a role for

above statement would be true

region. Typically, relations between

civil society to help shape the

throughout the COEs and the 61

authorities and civil society are

discussion. That's pretty much

nations involved, but the one that

complex here. So, we try to sort of

how we see our role in the

jumps out is culturally-relevant.

promote that positive working


MESIS isn’t interested in a tick-

relationship in the security sphere.

When it comes to a whole of

box exercise where individuals

“On a more granular level that

government approach it’s hard to

lecture busy people without

translates to helping identify what

find a better example than Covid.

regard for whether knowledge is

the emerging needs are in the

While it is an emerging infectious

actually being transferred or

region, so there's a two-way street

disease it gives a massive insight

retained in a sustainable manner.

between the region and the

into how a real biological attack

Under its tutelage, the COE has

international community, as

would look. All arms of the

been looking for local solutions to

opposed to having the

government from education and

local problems. Nasser explained

international community dictate

health through to the military and

the vision further: “We do three

to us what we need to work on.

law enforcement have had to

things at a very high level. One is

We localise and culturalise

come together, first to understand

that we try to promote a whole of

international best practices and

the problem, and then to start

government approach in dealing

this is probably the most

orientating themselves to deal

with CBRN risks, because there's a

important thing we do. We can't

with it. There is no single

tendency across our region to

technically compete with the

approach but it is fair to say that

have an over-reliance on security

international community’s

centralised states capable of

institutions like hard security,

expertise on these risk mitigation ,

forcing different departments to

military and intelligence agencies

but by virtue of being from the

work together have done better

that will deal with anything that

region, we can design and

than those that have not.

has a security dimension.

implement sustainable solutions

Likewise, it is fair to say that

to some of the regional needs.

states that enjoy higher levels of


CBRN risk mitigation .” Many of the ambitions in the

“But these hybrid threats need a 36

“The second thing we do is try

“We're increasingly offering

Thoughts following the 5th International CBRN Safety and Security Conference

A Culture of CBRN

trust among their citizens have also faired better. Covid has worked not only as an educational tool for CBRN, but also a warning as to why some of the things that CBRN professionals have been talking about for decades are important. Nasser agreed that it had its positives, but capturing all these lessons will be a big task. “It's a bit of a mixed bag. Covid has been a wake-up call in emphasising the need for all parts of government to work together. But what tends

Mesis has been working on radiation training ©MESIS

to happen with the way the

turning to the private sector to

international community engages

deal with the very complex supply

the international community will

this sector is that they prioritize

chains that are needed to receive

be in looking at countries that did

and invest in hard security,

and administer the vaccine to

well during Covid and trying to

focussing on bio-terrorism, even

populations. We are seeing these

see what will work elsewhere. The

though bio-terrorism might not be

dynamics but the question is, will

stance that Vietnam took, for

a priority for the region. Investing

we retain these lessons going

example, cannot just be

in public health capacity on the

forward? Are we actually ushering

transplanted to France. For a

other hand, inadvertently builds

in a new phase with a very strong

centre focussed on culturally-

capacity to deal with weaponised

partnership between different

relevant solutions it will be

viruses and bio-terrorism. That

communities of stakeholders, or is

interesting to see which out of the

capacity building approach needs

it just a one-off case in a crisis?

huge palette of options MESIS and

to be revisited. “The public health system

“Currently, governments across

One of the big challenges for

its partners select, as the ones

the region are rightly preoccupied

that might fit for future response.

should be invested in as heavily as

with managing the crisis, but I do

Nasser explained what he meant

those parts of government that

believe that some people are

by culturally-relevant. “Every

tend to get priority because

thinking more long-term about

country, region, even an

they're combating terrorism, or

how we ensure these changes are

organisation has its unique values,

involved in things that the

sustained going forward. We can't

national psyche, organisational

international community thinks

find ourselves in another situation

culture that dictates its behaviour,

should be a priority. We mustn’t

like this in the future and given

action, performance within the

lose the positives, such as the way

the anthropogenic stresses we're

system that it’s operating. If we

governments have tapped into

putting on the environment, we’ll

look at the corporate sector, why

universities, research institutions,

be here again soon enough. The

did VW lie about emissions tests a

or even the private sector for

question is whether we can build

few years ago? What was it about

diagnostics, research and

resilient and sufficiently adaptive

the organisational culture of the

leveraging their wealth of data to

systems, to be in a better position

system it operated in that

make data-informed decisions.

to deal with the next crisis when,

allowed for that? Or Boeing with

rather than if, it happens.”

the 737 Max crashes, what is it

“We're looking at governments

Thoughts following the 5th International CBRN Safety and Security Conference


A Culture of CBRN

about that organisational culture

bottom-up approach. I'll give you

with its partner nations and set

that prevents it from taking

a few specific examples.

its risk priorities for the next

responsibility over this? After

three to five years, when Covid is

years of accumulated neglect,

forensics, because it's topical.

reduced to innumerable

Covid is an excellent example of

Everybody's interested in forensics

Powerpoints! Does Nasser have

how countries are responding.

and there's lots of funding. But

any idea what they might be?

When we talk about culture, we're

you can't do forensics without

not talking about cultural tourism,

proper quality control in your labs

what could happen in the next

or being able to greet someone in

and any investment in forensics is

three to five years in my region,

their native language, but

misplaced unless there’s prior

I'd be a very wealthy man! We

understanding the deep rooted

investment in the underlying

can't find ourselves in another

factors that shape success.

foundational blocks. Another

situation like this in the coming

example is that my organisation

years and given the

a tendency for organisations and

does a lot of Arabic language text

anthropogenic stresses that we're

subject matter experts from

development for the IAEA and we

putting on the environment, we're

outside the region to parachute in

develop the Arabic best practice

probably going to be there before

solutions and implement top-

guidelines for the World Institute

long. The question is, is whether

down approaches that lack the

for Nuclear Security (WINS). That's

we're able to build resilient and

foundation blocks for success. You

not because there's any shortage

responsive systems to be in a

need to develop programmes that

of Arabic language translators in

better position to deal with the

reflect local priorities and

Vienna, but because both

next crisis when it happens. From

attitudes, but also the

organisations realise that there's a

my personal perspective, some of

administrative realities, which will

big difference between the literal

the biggest threats including

be key to their eventual

translation of something and

cyber risks which have been made

acceptance and success. I'm very

indigenising it. That's what we do.

more pronounced by rapid

skeptical about a contractor

We work a lot on trustworthiness.

digitization caused by Covid.

model where you fly in experts to

Trustworthiness, and human

Likewise, there are continued

magically solve the problem in a

reliability require such a delicate

threats posed by ungoverned

week. For example, there's a rush

cultural approach that I don't

spaces and their relation with

towards among the international

think anybody from outside the

non-state actors, whether

community to want to get our

given region can meaningfully

criminal or terrorist. Increasingly

region to develop strategies or

inform this issue.”

blurred lines between terrorists

“Working in our sphere, there's

legislation to address particular


“There's a big interest in nuclear

“If I could really effectively tell

There’s concern that Covid will

and criminal organisations is also

issues. That takes up so much

loom so large that itcould obscure

something to be concerned about.

time and effort, but most of the

any other threats. The job of the

In the most immediate term, the

time those strategies end up

COEs is to focus on the medium-

biggest priority across the globe

collecting dust on the officials’

to-longer term risk as they relate

will be dealing with the

shelves because they're

to their specific regions, rather

repercussions of Covid, namely

unimplementable. As an

than what the rest of the world

the socioeconomic damage it has

organization, we prefer instead to

might be fixated on. At some

created and potential that it

look at how we can build that

point the COE will have to work

could lead to social unrest.”


2 Thoughts following the 5th International CBRN Safety and Security Conference

Crimping the terrorist threat

Crimping the terrorist threat Gwyn Winfield looks at Project CRIMP, Interpol’s project to combat potential chemical terrorists in Iraq

Since 2010 Interpol’s CBRN sub

officer and is staffed with other

directorate has been working

law enforcement individuals and

around the world with specialist

subject matter experts. A UK law

law enforcement officers to try

enforcement officer, David

and combat individuals that would

Hargreaves, is a chemical and

use weapons of mass destruction

explosive prevention lead, who

for criminal or terrorist acts. The

gave a presentation on Project

nexus of global criminality, spread

CRIMP at the 5th CBRN Safety and

of foreign fighters, the accessibility

Security Conference in Baghdad.

of CBRNE materials and the need

The chemical risk identification

for complex cross-governmental

and mitigation programme

approaches to any CBRN attacks

(CRIMP) is part of a stable of

means that there is a serious issue

projects within Interpol’s sub

to grapple with. The sub

directorate. These include:

directorate revolves around three

Oleander (coordination table top

distinct teams dealing with the

exercise); Sapphire (biological

prevention of bioterrorism,

threat assessment); BRC (current

radiological and nuclear terrorism,

bio threats); Petrichor (cross

and chemical and explosive

border bio attacks); Chasm

terrorism. Each unit has a current

(chemically contaminated crime

or retired senior law enforcement

scenes); CCC (chemical security

Interpol works internationally to help eradicate organised crime and terrorism ©Interpol Thoughts following the 5th International CBRN Safety and Security Conference


Crimping the terrorist threat

for top officials), Rhino (West

smuggling radioactive materials.

African project for improved

While Crimp is available to

programme that has three aims.

coordination for bio attacks),

many nations, Mr Hargreaves and

These are to identify chemicals

Chase (chemical smuggling) and

his team ran it in Iraq in March

most likely to cause risk to a

Litmus (early warning of chemical

2018 and 2019. He explained to

country, to establish multiagency

attacks). In addition to these they

the audience, about the work that

working groups and to propose

hold a wide variety of training and

Interpol does and how it

sustainable countermeasures to

other workshops, as well as open

coordinates with Iraq. “Interpol is

support existing security practices

source monitoring on CBRNE, a

the only global international

to reduce risk. It is designed to

monthly digest of incidents, the

policing body, we are not secret

add to existing security regimes.

Geiger and Watchmaker

agents! Our whole aim is to

Despite excellent work in Iraq we

databases for radiological and

encourage mutually beneficial

know that terrorists exploit

bomb making activities. All this is

relationships between law

vulnerabilities, so it is only

done in conjunction with the

enforcement agencies and bring to

right that we review what we

local partner’s law enforcement

justice those that wish us harm.

do and implement international

community. Interpol does not tell,

Among the benefits is that each

best practice.

or mandate, what training needs

member country is connected by a

to be done, but makes it available

national centre bureau, usually

first two phases of Crimp to a

to all partners, and if a nation

run by that country’s federal

broad mix of delegates. We had

decides that it’s needed, Interpol

policing body, which in Iraq is the

the national centre bureau, huge

can provide it as long as

Iraqi police service. They are the

supporters of Interpol, and we

resources allow.

link between the police officers in

both provided a huge amount of

the field, and the information that

two-way resources and support.

Interpol can, on request, provide

comes back from investigations

The ministries of environment and

operational support to any of its

and terrorists, who do not respect

the interior, the commission of

194 member countries. On

boundaries. Crimes are often

customs, Brigadier Delli’s team in

occasion it has helped with

transnational. We share that

civil defence (see page 22), the

proactive operations targeting the

information and connect all

directorates of explosive controls

illicit trafficking of CBRNE

member countries via a secure

and criminal evidence, the federal

materials across borders, supplied

network to progress investigations.

intelligence and investigations

an Interpol response team or the

We have a significant number of

agency, security services and the

addition of CBRNE expertise to a

databases including on individuals,

Iraq national monitoring agency

pre-planned Interpol major event

biometric forensic data like

(INMA) all took part over the two

support team. For example, in

fingerprints and DNA, high quality

phases. In 2018 I also ran two

2014, Interpol coordinated and

photographs for ID,

specialist investigation courses

supported an operation conducted

documentation on works of art

dealing with contaminated crime

by the Moldovan authorities

and foreign terrorist fighters.

scenes (Chasm) and crimes that

which resulted in the interception

Those are the ones that I consider

cross international boundaries. We

and seizure of 200gr (0.44lbs) of

relevant for law enforcement

had many of the same agencies

bodies in Iraq. We have 100m

involved in both courses, this was

the black market. The successful

police records and do 19m

important as it allowed us to build

operation led to the arrest of

searches a day.

trust and confidence. We look at

At the pointy end of the spear

enriched uranium worth €1.6m on

seven members of an organised criminal group who specialised in 40

multiphase chemical security

“During 2018 we delivered the

“I run the chemical security

the chemicals of most concern to

programme and Crimp. This is a

a country, and while all chemicals

Thoughts following the 5th International CBRN Safety and Security Conference

Crimping the terrorist threat

In rare cases Interpol can deploy assets into country to deal with a major incident ©Interpol are dangerous a focus is necessary. “The Chemical Weapons

possesses? More importantly

Sadly the local situation

what are you seeing threat

precluded Interpol from flying into

Convention (CWC) specifies 43

actors use in Iraq? We should

Iraq to do the presentations locally.

CWA and their precursors plus

focus the bulk of our endeavours

Instead both phases had to be done

some discrete chemicals, like

on those chemicals that cause

in a neighbouring country, Jordan,

fluorine, that we should monitor.

most risk to Iraqi nationals.”

with the first phase taking place in

Iraq as a signatory to the CWC

It’s an important consideration.

the port of Aqaba and the second

will already be monitoring them.

Nations less touched by war and

in the capital, Amman. While there

Other law enforcement groups

widespread terrorism don’t provide

is a certain amount of ‘getting to

monitor additional databases. For

the same opportunities for

know you’ in Crimp workshops the

example, the Australia group,

terrorist chemical activity that

desire is for the Interpol team to

which has 87 CW precursors. The

Iraq does. When chemicals are

understand what the problems and

Environmental Protection Act in

safely locked up and monitored

issues are, and to get different

Canada has 151 chemicals that

then the net has to be widened to

groups to discuss them. Mr

they consider dangerous, India’s

find more exotic chemicals for

Hargreaves explained in his

pollution control board monitors

nefarious purposes. If on the other

presentation how they do it: “We

708 chemicals, whereas the US

hand, there is a super abundance

bring together a wide group of

monitors 86,000 chemicals under

of a dangerous chemical, why look

government, law enforcement,

its toxic substance control act!

further? By focussing on local

academic, industry and other

That is all great, and these lists

threats Crimp can strip out the

stakeholders to develop a

are detailed and comprehensive,

things that might happen, and

comprehensive picture of chemical

but are they relevant to what

instead drill into things that ‘will’

risks and possible mitigation

Iraq uses, distributes or

happen unless steps are taken.

measures. One of the activities on

Thoughts following the 5th International CBRN Safety and Security Conference


Crimping the terrorist threat

day one is to get each agency to

people like General Delli they

stand up, and in turn say what they

well so I can share it with other

started working together and are

do, what their roles are in the field

member countries, and in Iraq we

now well equipped to deal with

of chemical security and incident

found that some chemicals have

such incidents. We also worked on

management. Often one agency

security escorts, which is really

test purchasing, where I go into a

will explain what they do, and then

good, as some of the chemicals

hardware store to see if I can

a second and third will chime up

that bad actors want are exported.

purchase chemicals that if mixed

and say, ‘we do that as well!’ We

This is good practice! Iraq also has

correctly would make a good

saw it in Iraq and elsewhere.

a review of high hazard chemicals,

explosive. Often you need to

Because some agencies don’t talk

and the multi ministry group, led

educate the people working in

to each other there is a lot of

by the INMA. Not all countries

these stores as they might not

duplication and wasted effort.”

have these, so we can share the

know these things.”

In addition to the classroom element in phase one there was a field trip to the port at Aqaba to


“I look at what a customer does

experience and ask, why aren’t you doing this? “All representatives are tasked

As was evident from many of the other presentations given at the conference, Iraq has a wide

walk through the facility and see

with identifying vulnerabilities,

variety of chemical safety and

the security and how they dealt

and what can be done to reduce

security problems and some are

with hazmat cargoes. Once Mr

them. One example mentioned

significant. Working with partners

Hargreaves’ team has finished

was that in most places around

like Interpol helps deal with some

phase one they then put together

the world fire and civil defence

of them and following the Crimp

a bespoke package for phase two,

provide schoolchildren with fire

work the Iraqi government moved

in which they focus their efforts

awareness training, while in Iraq

to enhance those elements where

on the lessons from the first phase.

they add a bit about chemical

there was best practice, like the

Mr Hargreaves explained further:

security and counter-

school visits. It is not the case

“Where possible we brought in the

radicalisation. It is a great way to

that having done this work

same participants for phase two

make the youth of Iraq aware. We

Interpol moves on. There are other

and talked about how we could

also did awareness raising on who

projects in the explosive,

further implement some of the

does what, and this included

biological and radiological

best practices we had identified,

things like why decontaminating

portfolios that could also help. A

which agencies could take charge

people before they go into

positive for Mr Hargreaves’ wider

and whether legislation existed

hospital is important. I sat with

team is that there are likely to be

that would make it work better.

the directorate of explosive

some of the same staff working on

We brought in subject matter

control and someone from the

those projects, meaning a cadre of

experts from places like the FBI,

CBRN unit and we discussed

officers that have a better

and took people to see the

homemade mortars with a CWA

understanding of how they can

Jordanian police forensic lab,

fill that had been used. We learnt

apply best practice. He suggested

especially the ballistics and

that the explosive ordnance

that it was important these

chemical analysis unit. At the time

disposal guys deal with the

lessons were taken on board:

we did that Jordan’s previous head

explosive but not the chemical

“Daesh is not dead, they’re merely

of counter terrorism had been

and the CBRN guys deal with the

sleeping, we must remain vigilant

assassinated and everything we

chemical and not the explosives. I

and [trust] that the mitigation

saw was being used to identify the

suggested that they get together

measures we put in place are not

DNA and ballistic residue on the

which seemed sinister at first, but

forgotten, instead they are

bullet that killed him.

because of the leadership from

reviewed and refreshed.”

Thoughts following the 5th International CBRN Safety and Security Conference

Being responsible

Being responsible Caner Zanbak, Environmental Coordinator at the Turkish Miners Association, talks to Zoe Rutherford about careful management of chemicals

ZR: What is your role within

get a ‘whole of government’

Turkish Chemical

approach to this?

Manufacturers’ Association

CZ: There's no need to encourage

(TKSD)? In the ‘league table’ of

countries to work better on

responsible countries, where

chemical safety, they have to work

does Turkey sit?

on it, and they are. All EU

CZ: I was environmental advisor to

applicable regulations and others

the Turkish Chemical

are in place, and all EU countries,

Manufacturers’ Association from

including Turkey, fulfil those

1994 to 2018. I was in charge of

requirements. In Turkey the

the Responsible Care coordination

regulations are harmonised, even

in Turkey and also liaison with the

though in some other member

European Chemical Industry

states they are not fully

Council (CEFIC) and other

implemented. Therefore, the issue is

government entities here in Turkey,

the enforcement, management, and

and in neighbouring countries.

follow-up. How to encourage the

In terms of a lead country, a

companies within countries is the

league table, it is hard to say with

question. Enforcement is good, but

the exception of five or six in

Responsible Care1 somewhat

Europe but knowing CEFIC and

provides that, not enforcement.

activities that are going on in the

Responsible Care is a voluntary

industry, I would say that Turkey

initiative and is in some ways

is probably in the upper-mid level

better than government regulations

in such a league list.

because it requires fulfilment of all the legal requirements, plus

ZR: How do we encourage

additional ones such as sustainable

countries to work better within

development, and talking and

chemical safety? Often rules

harmonising activities with the

and laws can be set, but they

community and such.

require government

Another good voluntary tool is

departments to respect and

the ISO standards, for example.

enforce them too. How do we

Companies go for ISO standards

Thoughts following the 5th International CBRN Safety and Security Conference


Being responsible

because they use them as an

associations or trade associations,

ZR: What can be done to

incentive over their competitors in

and the number of member

encourage greater enthusiasm

the global chemical market. Even

companies signed up to it is very

for chemical safety in countries

countries like China, the giant, are

small. All the big companies, of

that aren’t there yet? How do

getting in line with voluntary

course, the global ones operating

we encourage industry to get

requirements, although they may

in many countries, employ the

together and form associations

not be applying them internally.

principles of Responsible Care.

such as the Turkish Chemical

But its effectiveness is

Manufacturers Association and

questionable on country basis.

ultimately become a part of the

Exports companies have to fulfil all the safety requirements and will. In the EU for example this is registration, evaluation,

ZR: Traditionally the users of

Chemical Associations? Some

authorisation and restriction of

chemical products, and

countries, such as India,

chemicals (Reach). There are five

sometimes the chemical

experienced a lot of chemical

or six different major Reach type

industry too, prefer a ‘light

related explosions in 2020.

applications, and almost every

touch’ that allows them to be

CZ: Unfortunately, the global

country has its own. Reach

competitive and not need

market is putting a lot of pressure

provides the necessary incentives

expensive chemical safety and

on the companies, including the

or enforcement tools in the

surety regulations. What can be

internationals and multinationals.

documentation and such.

done to educate governments

Even though the headquarters

and industry on how best to

may be tough on overseeing the

ZR: Can you see CEFIC and

cooperate with their opposite

activities of their overseas units

Responsible Care, or things like

numbers to promote a sense of

very closely, the locals are under

them, being undertaken around

unity and mutual respect,

pressure to look good for

the world? What do you think it

towards each other, the citizens,

headquarters, so, there are

would take to achieve this?

and the environment?

mishaps. Also, there’s global

CZ: Responsible Care started in

CZ: Encouraging governments is

competition and price changes.

1984, coinciding with the year of

really a very hard thing to do. If

Some countries manufacture

Bhopal. It is well spread now,

you talk to any government

some very hard-to-manage

around the world almost.

authority or any officer in the

chemicals at low cost, but if it is

Currently, I believe there are

government, they say: ’Well, of

low cost, that means they’re likely

around 68 countries using it. I

course. Our laws and regulations

lacking on safety and

don't know if they are fulfilling all

are very strict to protect the

environmental protection .

of the requirements, but they are

safety of our people and the

at least signing up to much of it.

environment.’ But when it comes

chemicals are like naughty kids.

The problem is, within countries

to the effectiveness of those

They need to be trained! They need

not all chemical companies are

enforcement issues, they are not

to be managed properly otherwise

signing up for Responsible Care. A

that strong. That's my feeling,

if that’s overlooked, if not enough

country may say: ‘We are

especially in developing countries.

attention is paid to the immediate

Industry people, in any country,

safety precautions, then chemicals

employing Responsible Care


International Council of

Safety is the main issue because

principles,’ but if you ask them,

even developing countries, are

behave unexpectedly, or expectedly,

how many companies are

aware of the need to work on the

but in a manner that’s unwelcome!

members, you find that

safety and security of chemicals.

Responsible Care is actually

But the way they handle it differs

ZR: In your presentation, you

managed by the chemical industry

very significantly...

talked about adopting a more

Thoughts following the 5th International CBRN Safety and Security Conference

Being responsible

integrated risk management

think they can be overcome in

to talk to them, should trust

approach. Chemical safety and

the coming decade?

them, should make them feel

chemical security are two sides

CZ: The challenges for Iraq have

liable for the industry’s behaviour.

of the same coin. So how can

to be overcome not in 10 years

The industry, by the way is not

we get people to work together

but sooner than that. I have been

only about manufacturing but

and recognise that?

in several seminars and

also trade in chemicals. The

CZ: Safety is the fundamentals of

workshops for Iraqi people, and

production and the trade people

providing good control of

there was almost no private

should get together and establish

chemical management. Security

chemical manufacturers or

a good association and then

involves the illicit use of

recognised chemical trade

consider the principles of

chemicals by people intent on

association, but it was decided to

Responsible Care. Even if they

unpleasant behaviour. Any very

establish one. This syndicate, as it

cannot fulfil all the requirements

dangerous chemical in good

is called, wants to be accepted by

of Responsible Care, they can

hands can be managed properly

government entities and establish

follow the guidelines and

under safety requirements, but

a line of communication.

principles. They have laws for

the same chemical in somebody else's hand may become a

That's the biggest challenge.

chemical management, and also

The government, besides agreeing

hazardous waste regulations and

security risk. The simplest example is sulphuric acid, a very potent chemical. In the right hands sulphuric acid is a very useful chemical that can be managed safely. In the wrong hands it is very destructive. The difference between safety and security can be difficult to convey in languages other than English, as in lot of other languages the words for safety and security are the same. You may be talking to someone about chemical security, but the meaning is confused as the word is the same for safety. It’s even confusing in Turkish, we mix them, and too often we use them interchangeably as if they have the same meaning or use one when we mean the other. ZR: In your opinion what are the biggest challenges facing Iraq in terms of hazardous waste management? Do you

Turkey has been improving its hazmat response agency, AFAD, in the past five years ©CBRNe World

Thoughts following the 5th International CBRN Safety and Security Conference


Being responsible

the government wants to enforce

want to throw away is considered

waste too, all those small

them, but on the other hand, they

waste. During the conference I

companies are generating lots of

don't know how and who should

was following discussions and the

waste which is not good for the

enforce them effectively.

only hazardous waste being

environment because they have to

talked about was the waste from

throw it away. There's no

ZR: In terms of best practice,

universities and some government

designated place for it to go.

what do you think is the most

institutes like laboratories. But

valuable piece of guidance you

there are a lot of other sources of

the government needs to first

could pass on in terms of

hazardous waste in Iraq, like in

establish the existence of the

hazardous waste management? Is

any country.

waste producers, how many

To manage the waste effectively

it communication and

One big issue is that there is

cooperation, or is there

nowhere for hazardous waste to

they, what do they generate, how

something else you would advise?

go, it’ll either go to landfills or

is the waste collected and disposed

CZ: Totally, communication and

dump sites, or into the rivers. If

of? Then they can begin to work

cooperation are key, especially

this waste is recognised as

together to manage the problem.

with hazardous waste issues.

hazardous, they will act

Generally waste management

differently. The definition of

ZR: Are there comparable

should start with recognition of

hazardous waste has to be

standards between Iraq and

the waste. It’s necessary to

understood, it is not only certain

Pakistan in terms of the

recognise the existence of

types of waste from laboratories

training you have been involved

hazardous wastes and what they

or certain lines of manufacturing.

with on the benefits of

are, otherwise, anything they

People are generating hazardous

voluntary safety, security and

companies are there, where are

environmental standards? CZ:I would say yes, there are. But the way standards and such are managed or employed, are quite different. It varies from country to country, especially for very heavily populated countries, and those below certain income levels. For developing and underdeveloped countries, it is really hard to enforce or fulfil the regulations’ requirements. I'm sure every country has copycat waste management regulations, a copy/paste version of REACH, but is it manageable? ZR: So, for countries like this, and those with lax chemical safety, do you think the incident in Beirut created Once waste is recognised as hazardous people treat it differently ©CBRNe World 46

shockwaves in governments, or do you think that it was of

Thoughts following the 5th International CBRN Safety and Security Conference

Being responsible

passing interest for them and

value came down last year from

keeping people safe. So,

not enough to make them

two years ago. Now, they are

communication is the biggest

change their ways?

distributing under tighter security.

hurdle here.

CZ: The Beirut thing…Who would

A terrorist doesn’t necessarily

keep that much of one type of

need tonnes of ammonium nitrate

about customs duties and

commodity material for over a

for a bad act, so it's not the

taxation, the private sector is

year, two years even, in one area

quantity, it’s accessibility. We

concerned about its marketing

just because of unresolved

should cut the accessibility, that's

network. If the government

commercial or legal issues, and

the most vulnerable area we are

restricts or bans imports, exports,

especially if it is fertiliser? You

facing in chemical security,

or the production of something,

can't put all your eggs in one

especially in this region.

then availability of chemicals

basket in terms of safety, same

Government authorities worry

becomes a problem for the

for security, and you don't let

ZR: What do you see as the

private sector, which cannot

anybody with a sledgehammer

major challenges for chemical

survive, therefore, they have to

come near that basket.

safety and security in the next

come together. The government

two to three years, and how

will lose money if they ban

ZR: After Beirut we saw quite a

can countries orientate

certain things because nothing

lot of scrambling, with people

themselves to face them? How

will be manufactured from the

checking what sort of stocks of

can we encourage both the

things that would have been

ANFO they have lying around.

private and public sectors to

imported commodities. Also,

But do you think that was a gut

enter into voluntary

there is the issue of human

reaction, they did a little bit,

partnerships to tackle chemical

safety, as banning something will

looked good, but don’t intend

security matters together?

lead to smuggling and

to actually do anything about it

CZ: The main issue is to open up

uncontrolled trading. For

in the long-term?

communication line between the

narcotics, for example, there is

CZ: Well, I'm sure they are doing

government and the private

good international understanding

something, it's a security issue.

sector, especially in the area of

and cooperation between

It's also an issue of accessibility

security. For safety, it is just to

governments and companies, but

with certain types of commodity

enforce the laws there are and

for some everyday chemicals,

materials, such as ammonium

keep good track of certain

there are problems.

nitrate. It is a common

chemicals, especially the dual-use

commodity, unless you mix it with

chemicals, and establish a know-

realising that there's a problem

fuel oil and find the right igniter,

your-customer arrangement, be

for both the government side and

then it becomes an explosive.

aware of who is buying what and

private sector, then

Farmers are really suffering

establish a reporting scheme. In

communication. Good governance

because of the nonsense

developing countries these issues

is the most important.

restrictions that governments are

are usually run by the ministry of

Governance doesn't just mean

enforcing on the distribution of

the interior. It's not enough

setting up regulations or

ammonium nitrate. In Turkey, for

because those people do not

copycatting them, but making

example, they stopped selling it to

necessarily know anything about

them doable, workable,

cooperatives. What do people say?

chemical security and safety, they

enforceable, manageable, and

Nothing. Because of that the crop

know policing security and

allowing infrastructure for it.


The major challenges are first, Thoughts following the 5th International CBRN Safety and Security Conference


Pollution Solution

Pollution Solution Mr. Luay Al-Mukhtar, National focal point, from the Iraq Ministry of Health and Environment, discusses pollution and chemical safety in Iraq with Zoe Rutherford

In a country such as Iraq, the

to experience difficulties because

world’s sixth largest oil producer,

of the political situations

and therefore the sixth largest

resulting from the Iran/Iraq war,

consumer of chemicals for

and the First Gulf war. These

petroleum production, the task of

conflicts also damaged Iraq’s

trying to map the chemical

infrastructure, left the country

industry can be difficult. it

isolated from the international

encompasses massive

community, and financially and

multinational oil producers, small

socially drained. Because of these

private companies, and public

difficulties some of Iraq’s

sector organisations that are using

industries collapsed entirely.

different chemicals for various purposes. The first thing to do is

particularly after 2003, Iraq’s

to carefully consider the system

chemical industry was very weak,

changes that have occurred in Iraq

with less development and

over the years.

investment than it had seen in

In the 1970s Iraq’s chemical

preceding decades. As these issues

industry was well-developed and

took their toll on both the

heavily invested in, with the main

government and industry, you

players being from the public

might think it would be difficult

sector and including the ministries

to keep track of all the country’s

of industries, oil and power. The

chemical operations, and know

private sector was there but in a

exactly what was there and what

limited way. By 1980 Iraq had the

they were doing. Companies were

second largest economy in the

monitored, the funding

Arab world, after Saudi Arabia,

mechanism that was then in place

and the third largest in the Middle

for this industry was the issue.

East. It had developed a complex,

Prior to 2003 the system in Iraq

centrally planned economy, which

was very different, the

was dominated by the state.

government subsidised industry’s

Later in the 1980s and 1990s however, industry in Iraq began 48

As we entered the 2000s, and

expenses and covered them when money was lost. After 2003, this

Thoughts following the 5th International CBRN Safety and Security Conference

Pollution Solution

The Shatt al Arab has been a problem for years ©Raymond Bucko process had to be carefully

monitoring and controlling

licence before it can happen.

reviewed, this subsidy system was

chemicals. An environmental

Companies have to complete an

unsustainable. Many of the old

agreement is important for each

environmental assessment report,

government related companies

chemical imported into Iraq. We

and these explain all of the

began to seek financial investment

have a yearly database delineating

environmental impacts of an

elsewhere. The government also

what types of chemicals are

activity before premises can be

began to look for outside, private

coming in, where they are from,

built and the activity begun.

investment for these industries,

and what they will be used for.”

which they could then turn into

Plenty of data is held, but work

also monitors every activity

more development.

remains to be done on the detail

wherever it is in Iraq, that is the

of the data as it relates to the

law, though there are issues. “I

security of chemical management.

think the implementation is not

Iraq is now seeing new industrial investment, particularly the petrochemical industry, insofar as the

The ministry of environment

If a facility falls outside the

yet efficient enough. It needs for

production of oil, and their

ministry of environment’s purview

example, more techniques, more

refineries, are the main consumers

how can they know what

technologies, and more

of chemicals. With superior raw

contaminants/chemicals may be

cooperation with the stakeholders

materials in Iraq, it is hoped that

present on a site, and how can

concerned over sharing their data

renewed investment will continue

they manage the potential threat

and careful self-monitoring,” said

to bolster the private sector and

to civilians if they are not made

Mr al-Mokhtar.Renewed

lead to further development.

privy to the information? Iraq, like

investment, development and

other countries, has regulations,

monitoring is of course a good

has Iraq’s ability to map its

and environmental laws to assist

thing, but one major issue that

chemical industry and monitor the

with this, said Mr al-Mokhtar. “We

remains to be tackled, is pollution.

materials used and produced. Luay

have an environmental protection

Luay al-Mokhtar stated that there

al-Mokhtar, director of the

law, number 27, published in

are some clear reasons for this.

ministry of environment’s

2008. This is not the first

“When it comes to the chemical

chemical monitoring and site

environmental law, but it is a new

industry there is a huge pollution

assessment department, said: “In

one.” Under this law any new

problem, largely because a lot of

Iraq we now have good tools for

activity needs an environmental

the old industrial sites are

As industry has rebounded, so

Thoughts following the 5th International CBRN Safety and Security Conference


Pollution Solution

contaminated. We have to look

safely, Iraq now has a directorate

fully operational sewage

carefully at oil production, oil

within the ministry of science and

collection and treatment system,

refineries, and new petrochemical

technology whose sole purpose is

and maybe less than 20%, of the

projects, as well as others, like

the careful management of the

wastewater is treated. A lot of

cement projects, in terms of

country’s hazardous wastes.

water treatment projects were

emissions and environmental

started before Daesh, but they

risks.… As the ministry of

together at Basra to form the

stopped during the troubles and

environment, we need to consider

Shatt Al-Arab, and the water

until the oil price settled down.

how the private and government

pollution problems here usually

“This was very sad, and very

sectors can work together to

stem from sewage, not industry.

tragic, especially for Basra” says

control releases and emissions

Approximately 6m cubic meters of

Mr al-Mokhtar.

into the environment. We also

wastewater is delivered to the

need to look very carefully at

rivers every day, most of it

sewage treatment, as 12 rivers

chemical and hazardous waste

untreated. “This is a very big

flow from the Shatt Al-Arab and

management, because knowledge

problem” stated Mr al-Mokhtar.

return into it. If these were clean

in that field is still limited.”

To understand these issues, we

Basra has a major problem with

the city could become a very

It is not just emissions that

first need some understanding of

beautiful place - the Venice of the

cause industrial pollution in Iraq,

the water situation in Iraq. When

East, as it was once called.

another is the way in which waste

we look at the river system the

Unfortunately, people throw their

is dumped. This has been a

main sources of the water coming

sewage into these rivers and

perennial problem, with industrial

into Iraq are Turkey, Syria, and

create a very bad situation. Mr al-

and agricultural wastewater being

Iran. Some of these countries have

Mokhtar stated: “We encouraged

discharged into the Shatt Al-Arab

built dams on their rivers over the

the government of Basra, and the

for more than a decade, and many

years, which has caused issues

ministry of municipalities to

oil spillages occurring on

with floodwaters coming into Iraq

continue working on a project to

industrial sites.

from neighbouring countries. The

fix the problem, but unfortunately

incoming waters are often

that was stopped some time ago.

As an environmental specialist Mr al-Mokhtar, divides waste into

polluted with sewage and crude

Iraq is now addressing the

three or four categories. “In the

oil, and some believe the dams

situation with new wastewater

first instance, we are only talking

have caused the water quality in

projects. “There is a fantastic

about solid wastes and emissions

Iraq to worsen because they

project in Kerbala, which amounts

and releases into the environment,

reduce the natural dilution effect

to complete wastewater

that is emissions into water and

of waters that are allowed to flow

treatment,” stated Mr al-Mokhtar.

the air. Solid waste can be divided

naturally. Preventing these dams is

This new wastewater project could

into hazardous and municipal

not the solution for pollution

cover all of Kerbala for the next

wastes. Medical waste has special

though, says Mr al-Mokhtar, “The

20 years, which is good news, and

regulations. When we talk about

solution is to manage our water

it is to be hoped that this will

dumping waste, we have to know

and wastewater carefully; we have

happen in every city in Iraq.

clearly there is no dumping of

to treat it and use these water

waste in Iraq on official or

sources carefully in development.

long term solutions and

unofficial sites, whether

We haven't depended on the

programmes around capacity

hazardous, medical or municipal

dilution process; this is not

building, as well as the provision

waste.” To control hazardous

enough,” he added.

of technical assistance to all

waste, and ensure it is treated 50

The Euphrates and Tigris come

At present no Iraqi city has a

Iraq’s pollution issues require

stakeholders, enabling them to be

Thoughts following the 5th International CBRN Safety and Security Conference

Pollution Solution

more engaged, and to understand

assessed for the effect on public

pages to document environmental

how to carefully manage wastes

health and environment.”

incidents. Does Mr al-Mokhtar

and hazardous chemicals. One

With such hazardous tasks,

issue that is often raised when

assistance from international

enough by those in power in order

talking about Iraq, chemicals and

organisations is often needed to

to rectify the situation. “Actually,

pollution, is the north of the

help clear up sites like Mosul and

I'm one of them,” he says, “I'm one

country. This region was targeted

Halabja. As Mr al-Mokhtar

of the people who is raising the

by terrorist groups for a long time,

explained, UNEP has a good

problems using social media,

leaving a legacy of contamination,

approach. “The previous executive

especially Facebook, usually trying

with places like Halabja being

director of UNEP visited Mosul

to alert the government.”

particularly damaged.

after Daesh. We worked together

In working with the ministry of

think this is taken seriously

Although working within the

closely to assess that area, and I

government, Mr al-Mokhtar

environment’s chemical

think there were discussions and

believes the people sometimes

monitoring and site assessment

agreements about how to fix some

have to send a clear message to

department, Luay al-Mokhtar

of the environmental problems.

the politicians, to make them

assisted the ministry of defence at

What happened, was actually very

listen and push them into action.

Halabja, when the government of

sad, it was disaster for the

“Sometimes that results in

Kurdistan sought help in moving

environment and the people.

positive government action,” he

the remains of people who died

Sometimes we couldn't do more

said “sometimes not.” Action can

through previous regime’s use of

than try to fix things after they

be hindered as there are a lot of

mustard gas. As part of this work

had happened.”

gaps in the regime itself because

Mr al-Mokhtar and his team checked the environmental levels,

In recent years more and more Iraqis have created social media

of political failure and corruption, gaps in management

and he commented: “We couldn't say that there is [still] mustard contamination. As you know mustard gas can be persistent in the environment, but it's limited and there is no clear evidence that the pollution continues.” Iraq's environment ministry has also worked with the UN environment programme (UNEP), on post-conflict assessments after Daesh, and there is an ongoing project to remove waste from buildings in the old city of Mosul. Mr Al-Mokhtar has visited these sites and made reports with UNEP about the contamination. “In Mosul, in particular, there were many fires and sulphur, as well as fires in the oil fields. These sites were thoroughly

The North of Iraq has been particularly hard hit, with a wide variety of contaminants ©US Army

Thoughts following the 5th International CBRN Safety and Security Conference


Pollution Solution

of the government, how to

prioritise them, before going to the

transportation to establish stores

manage resources, the money,

sources of the problems and trying

far away from ports. Sometimes

and how to plan best for the

to fix them.

that takes a long time in cost

future. “As an individual, I am

terms, or testing of chemicals, is

trying to make my country better,

unique to Iraq. With such a large

dangerous for the port and the

I hope that we attend to these

chemical industry, and a major

people. Hopefully, we now have a

very important actions for the

exporter, it is only reasonable to

resolution, and will be working on

people, they need a better future

wonder if the August 2020

it very fast and very soon.”

and a better environment, and we

explosion in Beirut caused Iraq’s

have to do our best to help them

legislators to sit up and take

problems of pollution, conflict

to live in a better environment,”

notice? Have they decided if this

contamination, and chemical

said Mr al-Mokhtar.

is a port or ANFO problem, and

responsibility for some time, but

that if those criteria are not met

will the current generation be the

government departments are still

then they don’t need to worry? Or

last to have to deal with these

facing many challenges cleaning

have they realised that this could

issues or are there quite a few

these up. The contaminated sites

be any chemical in any city in

decades of work ahead of them?

often mean that there is a lots of

Iraq. According to Mr al -

Ongoing projects to improve

pollution, and certain types are

Mokhtar: “The explosion in Beirut

wastewater treatment are hoping

distributed and dispersed in

should be an emergency warning

to prevent issues such as over

various locations. In order to begin

to everybody”.

11,000 people getting sick from

In terms of contaminated sites,

the clean up there many factors to

Iraq has been working on its

Iraq’s ministry of environment

polluted water in 2018. More still

consider. There needs to be risk

and health heads something called

remains to be done as a majority

assessments of the different types

the 92S committee which is a

of Iraq’s water treatment plants

of contamination, and what

high level committee for applying

are only partially functional.

different areas they are affecting,

chemical policy in Iraq." The

such as the environment and/or

different sectors on the committee

efforts to clean up and monitor

the people. “Then we need to try

have been working to produce this

the conflict contamination in the

to rehabilitate or remediate that

policy since 2015, and to build it up

north of Iraq, and as Mr al-

pollution,” said Mr al-Mokhtar,

using the strategic approach to

Mokhtar commented, monitoring

“We have limited experience in

international chemical management

has shown that it is perhaps not

that area and have worked in some

(SAICM). Mr al-Mokhtar said: “The

as bad as has been reported in the

places in Iraq trying to fix the

main ideas from SAICM and also

west. What timescale can be put

contaminated soil. We are now

from CBRN, should be applied by

on the clean up efforts, is 10 years

thinking about oil contamination

this committee, which is headed by

too little out too much for getting

of the soil, for example, and how

the ministry. The committee met in

those sites completely clean? “In

to use biological or physical

September 2020 and discussed the

terms of damage and what

treatment methods to fix that.”

issue of the Beirut explosion.”

happened to them 10 years is long

Iraq is working hard to resolve


Chemical pollution is not

Iraq has to resolve the situation

There have also been major

enough for people to turn and

these problems, but the

in its ports, because, said Mr al-

forget,” says Mr al-Mokhtar. “They

contaminated sites are very costly

Mokhtar: “We think that it's not

have to return to their cities and

and difficult to remediate. In order

right to put chemical stores near

good memories not the bad ones.

to address the matter effectively

ports. This is an important lesson

We have to help them go back,

the present process is to identify

from what happened in Beirut.

and we hope that 10 years will be

the critical contaminated sites and

[We must] tell the ministry of

enough to fix everything.”

Thoughts following the 5th International CBRN Safety and Security Conference

An improving situation

An improving situation Colonel Jeff Brodeur (ret.), CBRN subject matter expert, and Dr Laima Warnecke, talk with Gwyn Winfield about the challenges of chemical security and radiological safety in Iraq, tracing the current situation’s origins through the past few decades

John F Kennedy, paraphrasing the

off has never been properly

first century historian Tacitus,

addressed. In 2018 Human Rights

said: “Victory has 100 fathers,

Watch reported that 118,000

failure is an orphan”. Ironically the

people in the Basra region had

parlous state of chemical,

been hospitalised owing to

biological and radiological waste

waterborne issues, from viruses,

in Iraq, specifically in the north,

parasites and bacteria, through to

has many fathers. Prior to the

sewage, agricultural waste and

1990 invasion of Kuwait, Iraq was

industrial pollution . Dealing with

a world-leading country for

run-off is clearly an endemic

education and certainly a leader

problem too large to be tackled

in the Middle East. For 20 years it

wholesale, and so the country

offered free education up to post-

lives on bottled water. When this

doctorate level, encouraged

mitigation becomes accepted as a

female education and encouraged

norm, there is less pressure on

literacy . Following the destruction

infrastructure, health, and

caused by the first gulf war came

industrial authorities to correct

13 years of international sanctions

shortfalls that allow chemical or

which decimated its economy.

biological waste from academia or

After the overthrow of the Ba’ath

industry to enter the water table..

party came instability and finally

Just because the problem is

terrorist insurrection. These 30

large, doesn’t mean it can’t be

years have all contributed to a

tackled, however. Jeff Brodeur and

situation where elements of the

Dr Laima Warnecke were part of a

chemical safety and security

US government nonproliferation

regime that should have been

campaign to remove or secure

upgraded have not been, and

potentially hazardous chemical

practices that would have been

sources from theft and nefarious

deemed dubious 30 years ago, are

use. They received an initial call in

now regarded as highly dangerous.

December 2017, requiring IB3

Drinking water in Iraq was a

Global Solutions to deploy CBRN

source of tension during the

expertise immediately and embed

sanctions , and perhaps because of

with Department of State

this, investment in pipes,

Sponsored Explosive hazard

treatment plants and waste run

clearance teams. The objective

Thoughts following the 5th International CBRN Safety and Security Conference


An improving situation

were to develop force protection

academic labs, the team also

neighbourhood then that is a

techniques in the event of an

chanced upon a government

problem we have to address

explosive ordnance disposal

facility that handled bulk chemical

immediately, the same is true if we

operation unexpectedly coming

supplies and repackaging for the

can weaponise something. The first

into contact with toxic chemicals

region. Among the harmless

part of the solution is gates,

and a second task of identifying

chemicals there was a significant

guards and guns, to secure it, to

and mapping toxic chemical

stash of dual-use items, including

make sure it's not reused, and then

surveys in former ISIS occupied

approximately 348,260l

to figure out how to dispose of it

territories so that the government

(92,000gal) of glycerin, an

properly. It's a phased approach.

might inform families and

explosive precursor, and

“An example of a priority one

businesses of the hazards and

approximately 95,250kg

issue is the University of Mosul.

allow time for remediation.

(210,000lbs) of other chemicals in

This is an overarching term for

both powder and granular forms

about 12 different universities.

programme focused on university

remained as part of the inventory.

There's the medical school, a

chemical laboratories and related,

In addition the damaged state of

college of arts and sciences, a

in the greater Mosul area. ISIS had

the building let the weather in and

dental school, pharmacy etc and

been in charge there for three

caused havoc with some of the

all under the overarching term

years, and in addition to their

items. The vast facility was also

University of Mosul. They have a

nefarious activities there was a

insecure with a high chance of bad

central chemical storage facility.

great deal of war damage to all

actors being able to get access.

So when inventory from an

The first part of the survey

buildings. The university alone had

outside vendor reaches the gate, it

420 labs and in the first survey of

Dr Warnecke was, how much else

goes straight to a chemical

the area the team only managed

is there that they had not

warehouse. They have good

to see 42 of them, mainly due to

discovered? The facility itself was

inventory practices, checking for

their deplorable condition.

found because of a chance remark

authorization and appropriate use

Equipment had been stolen,

by one of the academics along the

and then they disperse the

buildings had been set on fire, and

lines of ‘well if you think this is

chemicals from that central

the team had to contend with a

bad, you should take a look at…'

warehouse to the university, med

variety of improvised explosive

Mr Brodeur stated that good

school, pharmacy etc. This means

devices. Despite this, work was

things were happening, but slowly.

that there is low inventory in the

still going on in some of the labs!

Due to the security situation in

school itself, leaving the central

the north there was only so much

chemical warehouse with the bulk.

2018 and saw the team return to

the Iraqi government could do and

Unfortunately these products have

the university laboratories and

a lot of it takes time.

a shelf life.

The second rotation was in mid-

start looking at the medical and

“Our priority was what is a risk

“The infrastructure they built to

industrial sites that fed them.

to public health and what is a risk

deal with expired products is a

While the team was trying to look

for reuse and weaponisation? If

large pipe in the basement and

at sites and ensure that they were

we’re in the western desert then

chemicals are just poured into it.

safe, a re-building campaign was

this encourages the mindset that

This pipe runs into an open sewer

going on, so the time to survey,

we've got time and the space to

system and chemicals literally run

mark and secure sources was

delay and work on that problem

downhill into an adjacent

hampered by bulldozer drivers

later: it’s a problem for a different

residential neighbourhood. Then

who lacked CBRN awareness!

day. When there’s an immediate

when it rains in Iraq it often

threat to a residential

floods, so these chemicals go

In addition to the medical and 54

The concern for Mr Brodeur and

Thoughts following the 5th International CBRN Safety and Security Conference

An improving situation

everywhere. This is a problem that

wouldn't get away with if they

I would address immediately. It’s

were in Europe or the US.

“It's not healthy. All we can do is study the problem and help

an infrastructure problem and not

“An example of that would be

a hard solution. It would provide a

in one of the laboratory storage

applying a size and scale to it.

big bang for your buck as it would

facilities we walked through. As

Academics who were educated in

have an immediate impact on 12

soon as I walked in there was a

Europe and the US will see those

or more different universities and

horrible stench, which was

reports published and be the

the surrounding community. We

because ISIS had just ransacked

megaphone inside the country to

could then showcase the

the facility and there were

fix the problem. Then when we get

University of Mosul as a trophy

chemicals all over the floor. They

to the point where we can bring

example of what right looks like

said that I should wear a

the solution into the country, we'll

and the other universities would

respirator and yet there was a

have a better idea of what the

have to get into line with that.”

lady texting in there who looked

workload is and how extensive the

about eight months pregnant,

problem is.”

Mr Brodeur also felt optimistic

them see it for themselves by

that when change comes it will

working with no mask, no gloves.

come quickly. The problem was

I looked at Laima and I scratched

however, Dr Warnecke found

disconnecting the current mindset

my head and the same doctor

similar problems with control of

to allow it to start. “My

who knew what right looked like

radioactive sources and hazards.

experience from dealing with the

saw it too. As the threat to life

The damage sustained during the

doctors and professors is that

and security decreases you

conflict was extensive, but that

they're largely educated in

become comfortable with a new

didn’t stop people getting cancer

Western Europe or the US, so they

normal. So if you used to walk

and needing treatment. Dr

know what right looks like. They're

through a minefield to get to

Warnecke explained: “We visited

just living with one of their

work but someone clears a path

the oncology hospital in Mosul. The

country’s everyday problems. They

through it, then you're happy to

hospital was hardly accessible from

do things in their country that

live with that minefield even

outside and inside there was major

they know are wrong and they

though the threat remains.

structural damage. We carried

It isn’t just the chemical side,

radiation detection meters and found minor levels throughout the hospital. Eventually we came to the room where we found the device that was causing heightened levels of radiation and we needed to evacuate everyone who had accompanied us from that space. The room was locked with a lead door, and we were told that the equipment generating a high radiation count was stored in there. “We were there with a health ministry delegation and their main concern was how to remove the The damaged state of some of the buildings has let weather in which has caused havoc with some items ©J. Brodeur

radiation generating equipment and rebuild the hospital since

Thoughts following the 5th International CBRN Safety and Security Conference


An improving situation

cancer patients couldn’t get

properly dispose of their

departments. If a case can be

treatment. [As a first step the]

chemicals, the waste from a

made that they have all the tools

Iraqi government should be

biology lab won't go down the

available to solve a problem, it is

responsible for removing radiation

trough and cause staphylococcus

just a matter of helping them see

equipment from shattered

of the mouth because it has been

why it is important. Mr Brodeur

hospitals, chemicals from

floating through an open sewer

also felt that the chances of

shattered pharmaceutical plants,

system waiting for somebody to

things happening quickly once

secure university chemical

play in it and get infected. That’s

they become priorities were good.

laboratories and remove and sort

phase one. Phase two is

“When a project like that begins,

chemicals that could react

uncovering what is under the sand

there will be reconstruction envy

dangerously with each other.

and could have been there for

from the rest of the government.

“The remediation of

years or even generations.

If that has something to do with

radiological and chemical

“There was already an

chemicals, I would anticipate that

remnants, is under the purview of

aggressive reconstruction

people in industry and

the ministry of health. Individual

programme in Mosul on the

government who understand the

healthcare providers and

Eastern, “Right Bank” side of the

situation they are responsible for,

academic leaders should provide

river, the Western, “Left Bank”

will be more than happy to come

more specific and accurate

side, nobody touched and was

and tell you the size and scale of

information, statistics should be

extensively battle damaged. I

the problem and escort you to it.”

collected and published so that

don't know if it's written into

the government and world would

their constitution but it was my

elsewhere in this magazine, the

know and be concerned about

impression that the minister of

first problem will be: ‘What is

these issues. Based on discussions

higher education had almost

waste?’ When everything is waste,

with healthcare providers and

sovereign authority over

nothing is and it can go into

research from what few available

university campuses and nobody

landfills and rivers. As the tedious

publications there are, the number

could walk onto a campus

work is done on the regulations,

of cancer cases is increasing

without his approval or

categorizing different waste types

drastically through the state.”

invitation. The same applied to

and how they should be treated

laboratory issues, these were not

and disposed of, then the problem

greater audience for the problems

community or city matters, but a

can be measured. Once the

would help, but outside assistance

problem to be resourced by the

problem can be identified and

would be complicated by the

minister of higher education. It'll

recognized then the various

security situation in Iraq. As such

take a little bit of diplomacy to

ministries can start allocating

he suggested that improvements

get that done.”

funds to deal with it. The work of

would probably happen in the

The advantage of having one

people like Mr Brodeur and Dr

medium term. “In three to five

individual with supreme authority

Warnecke is vital to this, shedding

years, we can start to put the

is that they can make problems

light on the problem and allowing

infrastructure in place so we no

disappear quite quickly, rather

those who are working on the

longer contribute to the existing

than having to seek approval or

legislation to know that this

problem. Universities will then

resources from a whole list of

sector needs to be a priority.

Mr Brodeur also felt that a





As has been mentioned

Thoughts following the 5th International CBRN Safety and Security Conference

Profile for The Critical Mass LLC

Iraq 5th International CBRN Safety and Security Conference (#CBRNIraq2020) Magazine  


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