Report: Germany classified list of companies that helped build Syria’s CW stockpile

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The weekly Der Spiegel said Berlin received the list from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons that was assigned the destruction of the CW stockpile and facilities of President Bashar Assad in 2013. About 1,400 Syrians were said to have been killed in Assad’s CW attacks.

“Berlin immediately classified the list and has since kept it under lock and key,” Der Spiegel said. “The government says that releasing the names would ‘significantly impair foreign policy interests and thus the welfare of the Federal Republic of Germany.’”

In a report on Jan. 23, Der Spiegel asserted that successive German governments ignored decades of help by private contractors for Assad’s CW program. Today, Syria was said to have one of the largest stockpiles of CW in the world, including VX, sarin and mustard gas.

The German-funded Institute for Contemporary History has published suspected German contractors to Syria’s CW program as 1984. The list, cited in a 1984 memorandum, included Schott, which produces laboratory equipment, Kolb, a technology supplier, and Riedel-de Haen, a pharmaceutical firm. Kolb was also said to have helped Saddam Hussein’s CW program in neighboring Iraq.

“German companies, for example, provided equipment for the manufacture of methylphosphonyl difluoride, which can be combined with isopropanol for the production of sarin,” Der Spiegel said. “German intelligence knew about such shipments in 1983. But nothing happened.

“The issue is not only that of unscrupulous German companies,” Der Spiegel said. “Rather, it also exposes the hypocrisy of a number of German chancellors, particularly that of Helmut Kohl, the father of reunification and long-time head of the Christian Democrats, the party currently led by Angela Merkel. Kohl was the chancellor of West Germany in 1983 when the issue of chemical weapons arose.”

Full article: Report: Germany classified list of companies that helped build Syria’s CW stockpile (World Tribune)

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