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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Ethiopia Special Weapons

Ethiopia's history with chemical weapons began with Italy's use of mustard gas during the 1935-1936 war in which Italy invaded Abyssinia (Ethiopia). In 2001 Ethiopia charged that Italy had left stocks of chemical weapons in Ethiopia from the conflict. Italy has denied leaving any stocks of chemical weapons in Ethiopia. (If Italy admits to leaving stocks in Ethiopia, under the CWC it will be responsible for destroying the material.)

In addition, Ethiopia has long been suspected of an in-house chemical weapons program. Unsubstantiated allegations have been made that Ethiopia used chemical agents against Eritrea in the 1970s and 1980s. Ethiopia was termed a "probable" chemical weapons possessor by Rear Admiral Thomas Brooks, Director of Naval Intelligence, in a statement before the House Committee on Armed Services, Subcommittee on Sea Power, Strategic and Critical Materials, March 7, 1991. More recently the Congressional Research Service, "Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Weapons and Missiles: The Current Situation and Trends," Aug. 10, 2001, continues to list Ethiopia as a likely owner of chemical weapons (this report seems to again be citing Rear Admiral Thomas Brooks statement from 1991). Ethiopia signed the CWC in 1993 and ratified it in 1996.

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