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If Russian Cyber attack to manipulate the US Presidential elections in 2016, was not enough, the nerve agent attack on 4th March 2018, opened up a Pandora’s box; as to how devastating Russia can be. The March 4th nerve agent attack on Sergie V. Skripal, ex informant to the British foreign intelligence service & his daughter, Yulia in Salisbury has opened up unknown dimensions of war & diplomacy. UK is still to come to grips with this reality, as a Damocles sword hangs over the rest of the world.

”Nerve agents are a class of organic chemicals that disrupt the mechanisms by which nerves transfers message to organs.” The nervous system is attacked, first symptoms appear within seconds of such exposure. In minutes in can lead to death by asphyxiation or cardiac arrest. The history of such nerve agents dates back to 1995. It was the 1995 terrorist arrack in which Aum Shinrikyo group released sarin into the Tokyo subway system. This gas was used again in a 2013 attack on Ghouta in the Syrian Civil War.

UK is not new to this nature of attack. Russian agents, way back in 2006, poisoned a former MI6 agent with a rare isotope of polonium 210. Counter measures taken then were feeble. The world thought that the false alarm of the chemical & biological weapons leading to the Iraq war would be the end of the story. That didn’t happen. The enemy is always perfecting weapons from the chemical to the Cyber. Weapons don’t matter, the purpose does. We can never be caught off guard. Think of a terrorist organisations able to lay their hands on nerve agents.

It is a state of war. It’s better to define the rules of the game, rogues states notwithstanding. UN can have a sobering role by way of using it’s inspectors. The diplomatic war is hotting up. The British premier is facing the heat like never before. The deadline for the Russian response is ending fast,ie, Tuesday. Nobody knows how the story would unfold. The world in the interegnum is moving from one crisis to the other.


Sanjay Sahay

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