Iraqi army trains in biological, chemical weapons removal

Soldiers with the Iraqi Army Chemical Defense Company have been training near Taji, Iraq, to remove suspected weapons of mass destruction, including biological and chemical weapon. 

The Chemical Defense Company was recently involved in a series of exercises that took place both outside and inside an abandoned building, War On Terror News reports. In the scenarios, citizens had unearthed aging chemical artillery shells. After members of the Iraqi Army Explosive Ordinance Disposal unit disarmed the shells, the CDC practiced plugging and covering the shells in plaster, the same kind used to mend a broken limb. Once sealed, the shells were then unable to leak any potentially harmful fumes.

Once the dangerous munitions are stabilized, according to War On Terror News, the CDC will remove them to where the Iraqi national government, including Iraqi National Monitor Directorate and several ministries, has decided they will go. It is hoped that the CDC will be fully operational in January 2010.

"It is exciting to see how far our platoon has come along in the past few months," Iraqi Army Sgt. 1st Class Adnan Abdul-Zahraa Jewad, the platoon sergeant for 1st Platoon, said. "There have been times it has been very difficult, but we are making it."

There are no reliable figures for the amount of unexploded ordinance located in Iraq, let alone those that may contain degraded but still dangerous substances, such as sarin nerve gas or mustard gas. In 2006, the U.S. House of Representatives declared that some 500 rounds containing degraded chemical weapons had been found and removed by Coalition Forces since 2003. The IA is being trained to carry on this dangerous but necessary task.

"Coalition Forces from the 22nd Chemical Battalion are currently training the CDC on the elimination process for chemical munitions," U.S. Army Capt. Clifford Latting, an IA chemical senior advisor, told War On Terror News. "The CDC is the unit that will eliminate chemical weapons found in Iraqi and will help provide a safe future for the Iraqi citizens."