Organized within the framework of the European Union Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear (CBRN) Centres of Excellence (CoE) Initiative [https://cbrn-risk-mitigation.network.europa.eu/index_en], ARZ 2021 was a field exercise held in Beirut, Lebanon, in December 2021, which focused on countering CBRN terrorism. The exercise was carried out under the leadership of the CBRN National Coordinator of Lebanon, Dr Bilal Nsouli, and was supported by UNICRI in collaboration with the International Science and Technology Center (ISCT), Fondazione SAFE and the on-site assistance expert of the EU CBRN CoE.
The four-day, interagency exercise was funded by the Directorate General Foreign Policy Instrument of the European Commission through the EU CBRN CoE Initiative.
Objectives and activities
ARZ 2021 aimed to test the capacities of relevant stakeholders and promote interagency coordination and cooperation to prevent, detect and counter CBRN terrorism at the national level through the organization of an inter-agency field exercise. The exercise was observed and evaluated by international partners including experts from Italy, France, the Belgium Nuclear Research Centre, the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the League of Arab States, the ISCT and the NATO School and representatives of other Member States.
The participants included representatives from different sectors, institutions and agencies, including the Beirut Fire Fighters, the Civil Defence, the Internal Security Forces, the Lebanese Atomic Energy Commission, the Lebanese Armed Forces and the Red Cross. Each participant played a specific role in the simulation of real incidents, showing the different phases of a terrorism emergency involving chemical, radiological and nuclear materials. The two scenarios of the exercise simulated the following situations:
- Scenario 1: Illicit hazardous material storage and terrorist laboratory to produce chemical and biological warfare agents, dirty bombs and explosive devices.
- Scenario 2: Attack on a VIP convoy using chemical materials and explosive devices.
For general information concerning the implementation of these projects, please consult the related news articles below.
Freedom From Fear Magazine, issue 16, page 32-39
https://unicri.it/sites/default/files/2021-12/05_exercise.pdf and https://f3magazine.unicri.it/?p=2231