(CNN) — Throughout much of the 1990s, U.N. weapons inspectors criss-crossed Iraq in search of Saddam Hussein’s stocks of chemical weapons. It was a game of cat and mouse, as inspectors tried to reconcile what the Iraqi regime was telling them with conflicting intelligence from western governments.
In total, the inspectors of the U.N. Special Commission supervised the destruction of more than 40,000 chemical munitions, some 500,000 liters of chemical agents, 1.8 million liters of chemical precursors and delivery systems including ballistic missile warheads.
That experience may provide a glimpse of the obstacles to securing and removing or destroying Syria’s massive stocks of the precursors that make chemical weapons. According to a new study by the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism in Israel, “Syria has accumulated since the 1980s a stockpile of approximately 1,000 tons of chemical weapons, stored in some 50 different sites.”
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