Friday Water Cooler

US, German Officials Claim ISIS Has Used Chemical Weapons According to American officials, ISIS likely used the chemical weapons against Kurdish forces in Iraq this week, the Wall Street Journal’s Adam Entous reports It’s the first indication that the group got its hands on banned chemicals. German officials have also charged that ISIS has used chemical weapons against Kurdish forces fighting the terrorist group, reports The Guardian. These officials said that the terror group could have obtained the weapons in Syria, a country that admitted to having stockpiles of the agent when President Bashar al-Assad agreed to give them up in 2013. The Assad regime also had sarin and VX, which are far more dangerous, but there is no evidence that ISIS has those chemical weapons.

Is Space The Final Frontier Or The Next Frontier For War?
In Scientific American, Lee Billings writes that Russia and China, worried about the number of US, space-based military programs, are beginning to build up programs themselves in a growing space war. “The prospect of war in space is not new. Fearing Soviet nuclear weapons launched from orbit, the U.S. began testing anti-satellite weaponry in the late 1950s. It even tested nuclear bombs in space before orbital weapons of mass destruction were banned through the United Nations’ Outer Space Treaty of 1967,” he argues. The greatest threat, however, comes from “space junk” more than anything else.

UN Faces Charges Of Rape, Murder Among Peacekeeping Forces
The United Nations mission in the Central African Republic has initiated a probe into allegations its soldiers raped a 12-year-old girl after Amnesty International accused UN peacekeepers of shooting dead a 16-year-old boy and his father earlier this month.

“Amnesty International interviewed 15 witnesses in the immediate aftermath of both incidents, as well as the girl and members of her family. A nurse who examined the girl found medical evidence consistent with sexual assault.

“The girl had been hiding in a bathroom during a house search at approximately 2am on 2 August. A man allegedly wearing the blue helmet and vest of the UN peacekeeping forces took her outside and raped her behind a truck,” said Amnesty’s press release.

The allegations are the latest in a troubling trend of charges of sexual abuse perpetrated by UN peacekeepers, reports Lauren Wolfe of Foreign Policy magazine.

“There has been an epidemic of sexualized violence accompanying U.N. peacekeeping missions around the world, particularly in CAR, which has seen accusations against at least 14 peacekeepers during the country’s nearly three-year crisis. In total, according to an Aug. 12 statement by Stéphane Dujarric, spokesman for the U.N. secretary-general, there have been 57 allegations of possible misconduct in CAR since the beginning of the mission in April 2014, including 11 cases of ‘possible sexual abuse,'” says Wolfe.




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