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About Bob Rigg

Bob Rigg is former senior editor with the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and a former chair of the New Zealand National Consultative Committee on Disarmament. He is a freelance researcher and writer specialising in nuclear issues, the Middle East, Central Asia, and US foreign policy.

Articles by Bob Rigg

This week’s front page editor


Francesc Badia i Dalmases is Editor and Director of democraciaAbierta.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

If ISIS uses chemical weapons, the west will be partly responsible

How can the international community respond effectively and promptly to this growing threat, not just to the Middle East region, but to the world?

Bernie Sanders has morphed into a serious contender

Democratic socialism does not resonate positively in an America still overshadowed by decades of anti-communism, but Sanders is tapping into deeply-rooted popular frustration with inauthentic politicians.

Iran’s nuclear deal reconsidered

Business delegations are flying in daily, making the most of this opportunity to establish themselves in Iran when Republican opposition to the deal is compromising US prospects at this critical early stage.

When will Islamic State use its chemical weapons?

The west turned a blind eye to the possible use of chemical weapons by militant Islamists allied against the Assad regime in Syria. Now that Islamic State almost certainly possesses them, the chickens are coming home to roost.

Obama, Netanyahu, Iran, Congress and the Republican Party

An intense political battle is going on over Iran on Capitol Hill. Insular Republicans underestimate at their peril international pressures driven by global security concerns.

In Ukraine, NATO has ceased to be an instrument of US foreign policy

In the renewed cold war over Ukraine, while Russia’s economy has been weakened by European sanctions, the US is no longer the hegemon it once was—and NATO is under strain.

Obama's dysfunctional coalition of the unwilling

The US call for "the broadest coalition of nations" to fight ISIS is simply an invocation of past moral crusades. But other states' willingness to commit to war is much changed from 2003. 

Nuclear standoff between the Arab League and the west

For decades the west has covertly supported Israel’s nuclear programme while pretending to support a nuclear weapons-free Middle East. Exasperated by this, the Arab League is spearheading a major international move to challenge the west’s double standards.

Ebola: between public health and private profit

Known to the international community since 1976, why has the world dragged its feet for decades to find a vaccine for Ebolaand where has the money gone for public health research? 

The enduring spectre of chemical weapons in Iraq

The US's failure to destroy the remnants of Iraq's chemical weapons stock, along with many others, haunts as ISIS continues its advance - now with access to this dangerous and unstable arsenal. 

US position over Iran’s ambassador generates confrontation with UN

If the UN does not act to reject this precedent, it will contribute to an international erosion of faith in its own integrity and independence -precisely the kind of behaviour which the carefully crafted ‘headquarters agreement’ was designed to prevent.

Syria's chemical weapons: is the UN exceeding its mandate?

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons should be a technical agency of the UN. But it has arguably become a piece in a geo-political chess game dominated by the US, invited into Syria to act in contravention of its remit. 

Syria: return to the Middle Ages

If the US decides to unilaterally attack Syria, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif’s recent observations on the subject will be fulfilled: "If any country attacks another when it wants, that is like the Middle Ages."

Questioning the intelligence: Obama's decision to supply arms to Syria

The red line threshold has finally been crossed – but on unverified intelligence, encouraged by appetites for military intervention. It is Iraq all over again.

Chemical weapons, the Middle East, the UN Security Council and now, Syria

In a region with a long history of nuclear and chemical weapons, when is a red line a red line?

Fractured justice: the UN Secretary-General's Gaza flotilla enquiry

The UN Secretary General has promised to investigate the Gaza flotilla incident in a manner which is "prompt, impartial, credible and transparent" and "conforming to international standards". But it looks as if politics is triumphing over justice

The evisceration of a disarmament body

The chemical-weapons convention came into force on 29 April 1997. But the political manipulation of its lead organisation makes it hard for Bob Rigg, a former insider, to celebrate.

International law or US hegemony: from chemical weapons to Iraq

A former official at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons describes how an effective international system to reduce the threat from weapons of mass destruction was sabotaged by the US government.
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