Consequences of chemical weapons still felt by victims 34 years after the attack on Halabja, Northern Iraq

The 16th of March 2022 marks the 34th anniversary of the despicable attack on Halabja by the forces of Saddam Hussain on the Kurdish population of Northern Iraq. The population was targeted with what experts later concluded to be “a lethal cocktail of mustard gas, and the nerve agents Tabun, Sarin and VX.”

Mustard gas is a blistering agent that can cause severe burning on direct contact with the skin and nerve agents have a devastating impact on neurological functioning. While thousands succumbed to the gruesome effects of the attack, many survivors are still suffering with the long term consequences.

In order to observe the 34th anniversary of one of the worst chemical weapons attacks in the region, we interviewed Khder Kareem, former mayor of the city of Halabja about the impacts on the people and the effects that remain until today.

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METO at St Andrew’s University

On February 16th, METO and the University of St. Andrews Foreign Affairs Society hosted a roadshow discussion on the future of Weapons of Mass Destruction in Global Politics. Emad Kiyaei joined via Zoom to talk to many St. Andrews students interested in futures in diplomacy and disarmament. Britt Gronemeyer, a member of METO’s university network moderated the event.

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In solidarity and support: a statement on Ukraine

Support for victims of the Ukraine Conflict from the Middle East Treaty Organization

In light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Middle East Treaty Organization stands in solidarity with those affected by this conflict, and condemns the war, the bloodshed, and the fighting. We extend our solidarity and support to the people of both Ukraine and Russia, especially to those brave individuals of the peace movement on the streets protesting against war, and to all those around the world who are in fear of what lies ahead. Our thoughts are with those on the ground, who have been caught up in the painful and unpredictable chaos that has resulted from certain world leaders who have decided, in their delusion, that warmongering is the appropriate path to peace.

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In The Zone – Episode 16 – Sharon Dolev & Leonardo Bandarra

In episode 16 of In The Zone, which was recorded in the week before the 2nd session of the UN conference to negotiate a weapons-of-mass-destruction-free-zone in the Middle East in November 2021, Paul Ingram and Anahita Parsa talk with METO’s Draft Treaty writers, Sharon Dolev and Leonardo Bandarra about the latest version of the Draft Treaty. In this interview, Sharon and Leonardo talk about the objectives and challenges in writing a WMD treaty, the lessons learned from nuclear weapon free zones in other regions of the planet, and the pros and cons of Israel not attending this November conference, among other things.

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Reorienting Western perspectives on WMD disarmament in the Middle East

On the 12th of February, METO and Influencing Corridors of Power (ICOP) co-hosted a hybrid event ‘Reorienting Western perspectives on WMD disarmament in the Middle East’, which took place at SOAS University of London. The event was moderated by Alice Filiberto and Zemal Sheerani, who are both members of METO University Network, and introduced by METO programme associate, Anahita Parsa.

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METO launches our Student Journal

The METO Student Journal of WMD Disarmament and Security in the Middle East is a compilation of the best papers submitted by students following METO’s 9-session summer course which took place in July and August 2021. The course provided students with a thorough understanding of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) proliferation across the Middle East and North Africa region and efforts to strengthen international non-proliferation regimes. Through class discussion and guest speakers from academia and practitioners in WMD non-proliferation, the course provided students with the ability to analyse challenges, revisit past efforts to achieve the zone and identify future scenarios to rid the region of all WMDs.

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In The Zone – Episode 15 – Christina Kelly

In episode 15 of In The Zone, Anahita Parsa and Jacob Allard interview Christina Kelly from Youth for TPNW. In this interview, Christina talks about this new youth network, the importance of youth representation, the challenges that young people face to have their voices heard, how they can get involved, how organizations should attempt to create spaces for transversal youth participation, and how to deal with the TPNW’s detractors, among many other interesting things.

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METO Treaty Writing Workshop

On Monday, 20th December, METO’s very own Dr. Leonardo Bandarra hosted an educational workshop on Treaty writing and the METO Draft Treaty for members of our University Network and alumni of our Summer Course. Participants learnt about the who, what, why and how of Treaties, the norms and rules which surround them, and their importance in International Law.

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METO in New York

The USA is not an easy place to enter at the last minute if you’re a Middle Easterner. You can’t just decide one day that you’re going to go. There are interviews to go through, paperwork to submit, and waiting to be done. So when METO decided that it would be really useful to have someone in New York during the November Conference [the annual conference at the UN convened for states of the region to negotiate a treaty to eliminate weapons of mass destruction] despite the UN not allowing civil society representatives in the building, and when the funding opportunity appeared, we sent Tony Robinson, our operations director.

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UN Conference on a WMD Free Zone in the Middle East

On Tuesday, 23rd of November, Atomic Reporters, the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, the International Physicians for the prevention of Nuclear War, the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation in New York and METO, hosted an online panel discussion on the upcoming second session of the November Conference at the UN on the subject of the Middle East WMD free zone.

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