Biological Warfare in the 21st Century: Biotechnology and the Proliferation of Biological Weapons

Proflieration, Threats

Biological Warfare in the 21st Century: Biotechnology and the Proliferation of Biological Weapons

The discovery that Iraq had an offensive biological weapons programme prior to the 1991 Gulf War, and that the Soviet Union had continued its work on such weapons throughout the 1980s has provoked widespread public concern over these weapons of mass destruction. Official concern amongst Western states, for example, over the anthrax outbreak at Sverdlovsk, has been of long standing, and recent US statements have indicated that at least five and perhaps eight states have such weapons. It is also now known that during and after World War II, Britain, the US and Japan had major offensive biological weapons programmes. The problem of controlling the further proliferation of bioligical weapons is compounded by the weakness of the Biological Weapons Convention, and the revolution curently underway in biotechnology.

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