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Syria and the Chemical Weapons TabooExploiting the Forbidden$
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Michelle Bentley

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781526104717

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781526104717.001.0001

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Chemical weapons and false hierarchies

Chemical weapons and false hierarchies

(p.101) 5 Chemical weapons and false hierarchies
Syria and the Chemical Weapons Taboo

Michelle Bentley

Manchester University Press

Chapter 5 analyses the ways in which the taboo has had a detrimental impact on the Syrian conflict. In particular, it focuses on the how specific weapons are perceived within a conflict, where the taboo causes chemical armaments to be prioritised over others via inappropriate hierarchies of threat. The way in which the taboo has dominated understanding of Syria has seen other threats ignored – notably the vast numbers being massacred with conventional devices, but also the significant biowarfare threat that exists in the country. This means that policymakers have focused on the wrong issues in respect to Syria, a situation that precludes ever finding workable solutions to the crisis. Simply put, policymakers are not seeing the real problems. The taboo blinds them; or rather, applies a lens through which they can only see the chemical threat and none of the other issues driving this conflict.

Keywords:   Chemical taboo, Conventional weapons, Biological weapons, Threat perception, Syria

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