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Bibi’s ‘ready’ to secure Syria’s WMDs

Folks, it’s a full court press on Syria’s wmds, here’s Bibi’s latest lies…

Israel would “have to act” if the Syrian regime collapses and there’s a risk Syria’s chemical weapons and missiles could fall into the hands of militant groups, Israel’s prime minister warned Sunday… {…}

…Netanyahu said preventing Syria’s weapons from falling into the wrong hands is key to Israeli security.

“Could you imagine Hezbollah, the people who are conducting with Iran all these terror attacks around the world — could you imagine them having chemical weapons? It would be like al-Qaida having chemical weapons,” he said. “It’s something that is not acceptable to us, not acceptable to the United States and to any peaceable country in the world.”

“So I think that this is something we’ll have to act to stop if the need arises. And the need might arise if there’s a regime collapse, but not a regime change,” he said.

When asked whether Israel was prepared to act alone, Netanyahu said Syria’s stockpile was a “common concern” and that “we’d have to see if there was a common action to address that concern.”

The CSM had the fairest headline of the Lame Stream media with: Syria holds out threat of chemical weapons against ‘exterior aggression’

The embattled Assad regime pledges not to use chemical weapons against Syrian civilians ‘no matter how the crisis evolves,’ but leaves the option open against foreign powers who intervene in Syria.

Btw, this one was the worst of the lot… Syria threatens attacks on any foreign force

I suppose they’re supposed to greet the IDF with warm embraces and kisses, eh…?

Here’s Syria’s FM Maqdisi’s actual response…

Now, check out the written testimony of the Heritage Foundation’s Steven Bucci, to the Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade, held Friday July 19th…

Maintaining Situational Awareness

Syria’s Baathist dictatorship developed and stockpiled a lethal arsenal of chemical weapons including blister agents such as mustard gas and even more dangerous nerve agents (VX and Sarin), according to chemical weapons experts.[1] These chemical munitions can be delivered by artillery, rocket launchers, Scud ballistic missiles, and aircraft. Damascus also cooperated with North Korea (and probably Iran) to develop a covert nuclear program, which Israel partially destroyed in a 2007 air strike.[2] Radioactive materials from this program could become ingredients for a “dirty bomb” if they fall into the hands of terrorists.

While little is known about the status of Syria’s nuclear facilities, U.S. officials believe that there are at least 50 chemical weapon production and storage facilities inside Syria.[3] In February of this year,. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testified before Congress that the Syrian regime has maintained security at these sites, many of which are located in rural areas away from the urban areas that have seen the bulk of the fighting. Pentagon officials reportedly assess that the regime has shown no sign that it is considering the use of chemical weapons, nor has it relaxed its guard over WMD assets, which are the crown jewels of the regime’s arsenal.[4]

As the situation inside Syria deteriorates, however, there is a growing possibility that the regime could lose control over facilities as its chain of command breaks down and weapons or dangerous materials fall into the hands of defectors, looters, various rival opposition groups, or terrorists.

Those initially at risk would probably be local populations exposed to the haphazard handling of hazardous materials. The most significant danger for the U.S. and its allies is that these materials might be removed from the country and fashioned into improvised explosive devices in the United States, Israel, Afghanistan, or elsewhere. Many believe that would require a degree of organization and infrastructure normally found in a nation-state, but some non-state actors could also leverage these materials. Iran already has the means and capability to do this, using Revolutionary Guards from the Quds Force or Hezbollah, its Lebanese terrorist surrogate. Al-Qaeda, which has a front inside Syria, and an expressed interest in conducting these kinds of attacks, could seek materials in Syria as well.

This threat is not analogous to concerns during the run-up to the Iraq War. Then, the primary concern was that Saddam Hussein’s regime would use weapons against another country or deliberately transfer them to a terrorist group. Further, it was suspected at the time that Iraq might have far greater WMD capabilities and means to employ them than Syria currently has. The Syrian threat is different, and the U.S. response needs to be calculated according to a different set of risks and U.S. interests. Here, the principal danger is that the regime might lose control of materials and that they could find their way to terrorists if the regime were to collapse.

The potential worst-case scenario is more like that which occurred in Libya, where the Qadhafi regime lost control of mustard gas supplies and huge stockpiles of modern weapons. While the mustard gas, stored in bulk containers, reportedly was secured, large numbers of arms, including Man-Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS), were seized by many different groups. Some reportedly may have been smuggled out of the country and could pose a threat to civil aviation.[5]

Can you find all the Neo/Ziocon half-truths and outright lies in that clap-trap, and did you notice the admission of failure in Libya…?

Now, to add further fuel to the fire, here’s Foggy Bottom’s Victoria Nuland at today’s(Mon. Jul 23rd) presser, and, straight out of the gate the Syrian WMD lies were questioned…

QUESTION: Can we start with Syria? What do you make of this threat to possibly use chemical weapons in the event of a foreign attack?

MS. NULAND: I’m not sure what you’re referring to. Are you referring to —

QUESTION: Syrian —

MS. NULAND: — some of the Foreign Minister’s statements or –

QUESTION: I think it was the Foreign Ministry, yes.

MS. NULAND: Well, I mean, one can read that one way or another. I think we’ve been absolutely clear where we stand on this issue, which is that any possible use of these kinds of weapons would be completely unacceptable. We’ve been making our position clear for many, many days now, and we’ve also been working with all of our allies and partners to monitor the situation, to compare information, and to send the same messages.

QUESTION: Have you had any interaction directly with the Syrian Government pertaining to this issue?

MS. NULAND: I think there is no question that the Syrian Government knows where we stand. We’ve been absolutely clear, including out of the President’s mouth recently.

QUESTION: But have you – have officials spoken from this government with that government regarding this issue?

MS. NULAND: To my knowledge we’ve not had those contacts, but they are not necessary in this case, because we’ve been absolutely clear publicly.

QUESTION: And just lastly, because last week there were statements by various officials stressing the need for Syria’s authorities to safeguard whatever they have, have you spoken with the opposition as well regarding this and maybe stress to them the need not to go after these things?

MS. NULAND: Absolutely. The warnings that we have given with regard to responsibility to safeguard this kind of absolutely horrific and dangerous weapon have been made to regime, to opposition, to anybody who might get their hands on them.

QUESTION: Just on that last point, are those warnings – particularly to the opposition, since I gather your direct communication with the regime is slim to none – but particularly with the opposition, have those warnings been increased in the last week, say, since the bombing that killed the three security aides and the situation became more unstable there?

MS. NULAND: Look, we’ve been absolutely clear with all parties in Syria, outside of Syria, how we feel about the importance of safeguarding these weapons. I don’t think there can be any question of that.

QUESTION: But I’m asking about specific messages to the opposition in the last week.

She promptly moved onto the next question, please read the transcript or watch/listen to the 45 min. presser…

Now, As I’d noted way back in May about Eager Lion…

The generals addressed topics ranging from the number of countries participating to the exercise’s focus on irregular warfare.

They also clarified that the exercise has no connection with any real-world events, including the unrest in Syria.

“This exercise does not target anyone – none of the neighboring or world countries,” Edwan said.

To be sure, as Barbara Starr breathlessly reported at the time…

…The exercise is part of the overall U.S. military strategy to support Jordan as that country grows increasingly concerned about the unrest across its northern border with Syria. Jordanian officials are especially concerned about the potential for Syria to forces tens of thousands of its Palestinian refugees into Jordan, as well as Syrians escaping the fighting.

There is concern in a worst case scenario that the Syrian regime could lose control of some of its chemical or biological weapons stocks and they could somehow illicitly come into Jordan.

So a major portion of the exercise will also be devoted to training together on dealing with refugee flows and managing a chemical or biological weapons crisis.

But publicly, Jordanian officials say the exercise is not about their neighbor to the north.

“This has nothing to do with Syria. We respect the sovereignty of Syria. There is no tension between the Syrians and us. Our objectives are clear.” Major General. Awni el-Edwan, Chief of staff of the Jordanian Operations and Training Armed Forces. “No forces will be deployed north of the 32nd parallel. The exercise is not connected to any real world event.”

Officials quietly acknowledge all U.S. military training in the region now could be useful in the event of action against Iran. But officials strongly say Eager Lion is not aimed at either country, only at “realistic threats” in the region as one Pentagon official described it to CNN…

*wink* *wink* *nod* Speaking of the real threat to the region… Bibi’s Twofer: Bulgaria Bombing Allows Him to Flay Hezbollah, Iran, Possibly Go to War

…Finally, let’s reiterate a message I’ve stated here countless times (and it was Arad’s too): terror isn’t born ex nihilo. It comes from a context. The context here is that Israel’s acts of vengeance (for example, its launch of all-out war against Leabanon in response to the death of several of her soldiers) have spurred retaliation from the other side. If the U.S. and/or Israel believe that their own acts of terror can bring Iran to heel or force it to do anything it refuses to do (like end its nuclear program), it will pay dearly for the presumption.

To be clear, this is not justification for Iranian or Hezbollah terror. It is a factual, realistic prognosis of what will happen if each side continues to believe it can bomb the other into submission. Blood is blood. It doesn’t matter if it’s Israeli or Iranian or Lebanese. If you shed their blood they’ll shed yours. Should we get to the point where we have to measure which side has the most blood to spare, and can thereby outlast the others? If that’s the case we might as well abandon our pretence of being a civilization and resort to primal wars of conquest and extermination of the sort recounted in the Old Testament. Or better yet, to quote Randy Newman, “Let’s drop the Big One now.”

One final article, from inside of Syria…Syria’s Bashar al-Assad: Not everyone’s villain

Ramadan Kareem…!

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