July 28, 2012

The embattled regime of Bashar Asad just managed to shoot itself in both feet, provide ammunition to Syria’s enemies, and give them yet another excuse to intervene in its raging civil war.

A senior Syrian government spokesman just confirmed his nation did indeed possess chemical weapons, and might employ them against a “foreign aggressor.”

Western governments and media that have become cheerleaders for Syria’s rebels went into full trumpet mode, issuing dire warnings of Syria’s “threat of weapons of mass destruction.” Israeli and the US officials warned they might have to seize Syria’s chemical arsenal lest it fall into the hands of Lebanon’s Hezbullah. Shades of Iraq and Saddam Hussein’s wmd’s.

The bumbling Damascus regime was too inept to explain that Syria had acquired a limited arsenal of chemical weapons over the past twenty years as a counter-force to Israel’s tactical nuclear weapons. Western media barely mentioned this important point.

During the 1973 Arab-Israel War, Moscow informed Damascus that Israel was readying tactical nuclear-armed missiles, land mines, and bombs to halt what looked like a Syrian armored breakthrough on the Golan Heights. Damascus was also targeted by Israeli nuclear weapons. Syria determined to obtain a limited deterrent to forestall any future such nuclear threats.

Syria’s arsenal of mustard, cyanide, and nerve gas is loaded into bombs, short-ranged Scud or SS-21 missiles, or short-ranged artillery shells. Chemical weapons are not weapons of mass destruction. They have limited killing power, unreliable, and are subject to weather conditions.

The cries of alarm by western media simply ignored this fact. As they did the point that lightly armed Hezbullah would likely be unable to obtain or employ such weapons even if it had them and decided to risk suicide.

In the kind of urban warfare now going on in Syria, chemical weapons would have little use. Far more effective and deadly would be the thermobaric fuel air explosives employed by Russia, US, and Israel that rip apart the lungs of soldiers fighting from cover in ruined buildings or bunkers. Israel has the Mideast’s largest arsenal of chemical and biological weapons.

Israel’s military establishment and righwing parties have made no secret of their yearning for revenge against Hezbullah, which inflicted a sharp defeat on Israel’s army in southern Lebanon in 2006. Nor have Israel’s expansionist rightists given up the ambition of former leader Ariel Sharon (who remains alive but in deep coma) of turning Lebanon into an Israeli protectorate ruled by Maronite Christian rightists. And diverting southern Lebanon’s water to Israel.

As fighting raged in Syria, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak disclosed that he had asked the military to prepare for a possible attack on targets in Syria to secure strategic weapons in the event the Asad regime collapses. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a similar threat to attack Syria.

Israeli officials also threatened to occupy what’s left of Syria’s Golan Heights to supposedly prevent them from turning into a “terrorist haven.” Today, Israeli heavy artillery on Golan is only 30 km from Damascus.

Is Washington giving Israel a green light to attack Syria as a consolation prize for delaying an attack against Iran? Certainly, overthrowing the Asad government has become an obsession in Washington. The road to Tehran runs through Damascus, chant US neoconservatives and many bellicose Republicans.

Further raising the temperature, Turkey is threatening to occupy a heavily Kurdish chunk of northern Syria which it claims is being used to launch attacks into Turkey. Why Turkey is thinking about acquiring more rebellious Kurds when it can’t handle its own remains unclear. But formerly neutral Turkey is getting more deeply involved each day in Syria, arming and supplying anti-Asad rebels and now rumbling about “security zones” on the border. Ankara’s machinations in Syria threaten to undo the success of its previous “no problems” policy with its neighbors.

The US, France, Turkey and Israel have all finalized plans for attacking Syria. The biggest winner in such a scenario would be Israel, as it was in the US war against Iraq. Sending Syria into turmoil would eliminate the most important supporter of the Palestinians resistance, cut off Hezbullah, leave it vulnerable to a final assault, isolate Iran, and cement Israel’s annexation of Syria’s Golan Heights.

copyright Eric S. Margolis 2012

This post is in: Israel, Mideast, Military and Security Affairs, USA

13 Responses to “SYRIA’S WMD?”

  1. George Rizk says:

    I am 100% against Iran, and it’s mullahs, but, I have a problem telling an independent nation not to do R&D to generate electricity. People will answer me WELL, THEY ARE BUILDING NUCLEAR WEAPONS NOT NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS? I answer: I am not sure if that is correct, and even if that was the case, why we were not going crazy over Pakistan doing the same UNDER OUR NOSE?

    • solum temptare possumus says:

      Canada built the first nuclear reactor in India and Pakistan. The CANDU, or Canadian Deuterium Uranium Pressurized Heavy Water Reactor was sanctioned by the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency), because it was a design that did not allow the spent fuel to be easily reprocessed into weapons grade material for an atomic bomb. Both countries spent many years before they had an adequate supply of spent fuel, and then build the infrastructure needed to separate the Plutonium for their atomic bomb testing. The sale, building, and running of the CANDU’s was done with the US Atomic Energy Commission’s blessing.
      The PLWR or Pressurized Light Water Reactor that Westihghouse Corp. built, was rejected for the initial sale to India and Pakistan, because the reactor could be turned into a Breeder Reactor, used to produce more Uranium 235 or Plutonium 239, than what was initially loaded into the reactor. The reaction was controlled to “breed” the fissionable isotopes of Uranium and Plutonium. This type of reactor could produce energy for decades if the spent fuel was reprocessed to use in a thermal type reactor to produce electricity.
      President Carter made the final decision during his term in office to turn the United States away from building Breeder reactors. He was qualified to make that decision because he has a Ph.D. in Nuclear Engineering from the US Naval Academy. His concern was security of these reactors, and the possibility of nuclear material being stolen and falling into the hands of terrorists. He made this decision in the latter half oh the 1970’s, just as the CIA was beginning to help the mujaheddin fight a guerilla war against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Islamic warriors were a good thing back then.
      ad iudicium

  2. George Rizk says:

    During our first gulf war, we used spent uranium shells against Iraqi tanks. There were a little reporting about the radioactive contamination, and long term cancerous effect on the population of Iraq. No one ever followed up on the damage, or the effect? No one ever talked about the morality or legality of using such weapons?

    Now, we are openly talking about Assad and his chemical weapons, and the Iranians and their nuclear materials? As if bombing any of these facilities does no environmental damage. Even worst, no one in the media ever asks such obvious question? Which is more dangerous, having WMD under locks, or bombing the WMD facilities and releasing catastrophic environmental damage for hundreds of years, just because we ASSUME that our enemy MAY use such weapons?

    Yet, the only nation that used WMD was the USA during WWII, and our friend Israel admitted to have loaded its nuclear bombs on planes ready to bomb Egypt during the Yom Kepor war. Such irresponsible overreaction was never debated in public to condemn Israel as irresponsible nation to be allowed to hold such weapons?

    The only conclusion is when you control the media, you control the debate. You decide who is right and who is wrong selectively!

    • I am surprised, that your reaction is actually out here. Not that you asked the wrong questions or made untrue statements, on the contrary, but for less strong expressions, mine was cancelled.

      • George Rizk says:

        I agree with lots of Eric’s points and disagree with some once in a while.

        Eric is one of the most knowledgable journalists about the crazy middle east, but you have to remember the unwritten rules under which our journalists must operate.

        I encourage you to write freely what you think, and be proud of our free expression. Don’t be muzzled! We are a free nation regardless of the neocons attempts to install fear in our ranks.

        • solum temptare possumus says:

          As long as the Internet is free. Who knows when that will change; under the guise of “National Security”
          Do you really believe that “they” can’t find out who you are, if “they” want to?
          President Obama signed into law a bill that allows US citizen’s to be arrested without due process.
          Civil Liberties? What’s that? says your grandchildren in the year 2040, or thereabouts.
          Do you think I’m joking?
          cuo bono (who stands to benefit)

  3. sakandari says:

    when Bush-le-petit was in office they were talking about armageddon but it was a failure in Iraq, now the real armageddon has begun, and I think it will be the last wars of america in arab world… america’s final collapse is too close!

  4. from the BBC and in the same vein, “In a speech in Israel, US Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney says the US has a “moral imperative” to prevent Iran developing nuclear weapons.”

    foolishness at the forefront…

  5. very informative!!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.