More recently, and in relation to Syria, it was discovered that between 2004 and 2010, Britain had issued five licences for the export of sodium fluoride which can be used to make sarin, the most potent of nerve agents, used in the chemical weapons attacks in Syria in 2013. Further such licences were granted in 2012.
The agreement brokered between the USA and Russia on the transfer and destruction of Syria's chemical weapons by mid 2014 is not just ambitious, but almost certainly unachievable... The logistical challenge of disarming a regime of chemical weapons whilst it is fighting a brutal civil war are extremely daunting.
Another mass shooting, more panic on the streets of America. The images we witnessed are all too familiar. There were heroic first responders, crouching and crawling with their rifles. We saw unfurling police tape and flashing blue lights and terror stricken civilians fleeing the since. And now in the aftermath, the discussions into the gunman's motives are being exhaustively debated.
As the drums of war beat once more for yet another strike on a Middle Eastern capital, one cannot help but be reminded of similar events exactly a decade ago that heralded the US invasion of Iraq. However, this time we have learnt from experience to ask the right questions and not to repeat the same mistakes... Haven't we?