Published December 11, 2013 | By Jacob Grunberger
On Friday March 11, 2011 at 2:45 pm JST, an earthquake registered as a 9.0 on the Richter Scale occurred near the east coast of Honshu, Japan. The earthquake was comparable in its magnitude to the earthquake that hit Sumatra in 2004, roughly the equivalent of 23,000 Nagasaki bombs being simultaneously detonated. The earthquake and ensuing tsunami destroyed towns and infrastructure, ultimately ending in billions of dollars worth of damage and the confirmed loss of about 16,000 lives. Located on the northeast coast of Japan, 219 kilometers from Tokyo, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant run by the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) felt the first effects of the event.
Published October 25, 2013 | By Jacob Grunberger
The details of the destruction of the Syrian government’s one thousand tons of chemical agents are still being finalized by the United States, Russia, and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the implementing body of the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). In addition to the negotiations, however, another question looms large pertaining to the chemical disarmament in Syria. Namely, how should the international community react if Syria or any other States Party to the CWC does not comply with the agreed upon framework?
Published October 11, 2013 | Patricia Taft and Jacob Grunberger
This morning the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). This decision seems to be consistent with last year’s decision-making calculus to award the prize to an institution for the purpose of boosting its notoriety and to lend legitimacy to future endeavors.
Published September 20, 2013 | By Patricia Taft, Jacob Grunberger
With dueling opinion pieces gracing the pages of the American and Russian press by presidents and senators, and months of strategizing, vacillating, and handwringing, the crisis over the use of chemical weapons in Syria is a problem that seems to be going nowhere meaningful fast. The genesis of the latest crisis was the August 21, 2013 series of missile strikes on the Damascus suburb of Ghouta, a neighborhood suspected of harboring militant forces opposed to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. Soon after, videos and images began to surface depicting dead civilians, including children, who appeared to bear no signs of injuries resulting from explosives or conventional weapons fire.
Published September 19, 2013 | By Jacob Grunberger
The advent of chemical weapons, originally in the forms of chlorine and mustard gasses, is often attributed to being a direct byproduct of the industrialized nature of World War I. The first major use of this technology occurred on April 22, 1915 by the German military at Leper, Belgium. After witnessing the destructive capabilities of poison gas on entrenched soldiers, the European powers began to combine chemical weapons with long-range artillery, ultimately accounting for over one million casualties by the signing of the Treaty of Versailles.
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