Worried About Damascus

That may surprise you. Why would anyone worry about Damascus?

Well, first of all, Israel is worried about Damascus. And when the Israelis start worrying about ANYTHING, it’s time for YOU to start worrying. Unfortunately, they aren’t worried about anything normal such as all out war. They’re worried about something far worse – stock piles of nerve gas, mustard gas and other WMDs. They’re also worried that, as Bashar Assad goes down, Syria will use those stock piles on her own people – and on Israel.

Syria has done something like this before, when Bashar’s father, Hafez, massacred the Syrian town of Hama. And, with the casualty count so far, it appears that Hafez’s little boy is quite ready to do it again. In fact, it appears likely that Bashar Assad will try to take everyone down with him.

It’s completely logical and understandable. Bashar is essentially forced to massacre everyone, because he’s not just fighting for his regime, he’s fighting for the tiny Alawite minority that will get massacred if the Assad regime falls. For Bashar and his family – and his community – it’s all, or nothing. So, you should feel really, really sorry for the poor guy who’s being forced to murder so many people. Really.

But, the story doesn’t end there.

If Assad attacks Israel with chemical, biological, or even radiological weapons, Israel will be forced to respond. And, if the number of Israeli dead and dying is large enough, Israel will be forced to use the only weapon guaranteed to stop the slaughter of Israelis – nuclear weapons.

Oh, and there’s one more thing. Damascus has never been destroyed. If you don’t think that’s relevant, then you need to read this.

THAT extra bit has me very, VERY worried indeed.

I would really, really appreciate it, if someone would prove me wrong. No, that’s not a hint. That is a direct request.

Don’t make me beg.

IDF fears Syria attack as pressure builds on Assad
By Yaakov Katz 02/16/2012 02:51, Jerusalem Post

Israel concern hones in on recent reports that Assad is using nerve gas against the new opposition.

Concern is mounting within the IDF over the possibility that Syria will attack Israel as pressure mounts on President Bashar Assad to step down. The move is seen as part of a potential effort by Damascus to deter Arab countries from dispatching military support to opposition forces.

The concern is still under the surface, but the IDF’s Northern Command has drawn up a number of operational responses to a range of scenarios that could evolve along the northern front.

Nevertheless, Israel fears that Assad, under pressure, could turn the military force – that he has been using in an attempt to quell the ongoing uprising against his regime – against Israel.

That is likely why the IDF Spokesman’s Office sent out pictures taken on Tuesday of OC Northern Command Maj.-Gen. Yair Golan and commander of the Northern Corps Maj.-Gen. Gershon Hacohen touring Mount Hermon and looking toward Syria – showing that the IDF is preparing for attacks along the border.

Israel’s concern hones in on recent reports that Assad is using nerve gas against the opposition. This has led Israel to reassess the possibility that Syria is might now be more willing to use chemical weapons against Israeli targets.

Read the rest of the article here.


Exclusive: State Department quietly warning region on Syrian WMDs
By Josh Rogin, February 24, 2012, The Cable at ForeignPolicy.com

The State Department has begun coordinating with Syria’s neighbors to prepare for the handling of President Bashar al-Assad’s extensive weapons of mass destruction if and when his regime collapses, The Cable has learned.

This week, the State Department sent a diplomatic demarche to Syria’s neighbors Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia, warning them about the possibility of Syria’s WMDs crossing their borders and offering U.S. government help in dealing with the problem, three Obama administration officials confirmed to The Cable. For concerned parties both inside and outside the U.S. government, the demarche signifies that the United States is increasingly developing plans to deal with the dangers of a post-Assad Syria — while simultaneously highlighting the lack of planning for how to directly bring about Assad’s downfall.

Syria is believed to have a substantial chemical weapons program, which includes mustard gas and sophisticated nerve agents, such as sarin gas, as well as biological weapons. Syria has also refused IAEA requests to make available facilities that were part of its nuclear weapons program and may still be in operation.

The State Department declined to provide access to any officials to discuss the private diplomatic communication on the record, such as the author of the demarche Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation Tom Countryman. In a meeting with reporters earlier this year, Countryman expressed confidence that the United States knows where Syria’s WMD stockpiles are, but warned that they could become a very serious security issue for Syria and the region going forward.

“We have ideas as to the quantity and we have ideas as to where they are,” Countryman said. “We wish some of the neighbors of Syria to be on the lookout… When you get a change of regime in Syria, it matters what are the conditions — chaotic or orderly.”

Today, in response to inquiries from The Cable, a State Department official offered the following statement:

“The U.S. and our allies are monitoring Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile. These weapons’ presence in Syria undermines peace and security in the Middle East, and we have long called on the Syrian government to destroy its chemicals weapons arsenal and join the Chemical Weapons Convention,” the State Department official said. “We believe Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile remains under Syrian government control, and we will continue to work closely with like-minded countries to prevent proliferation of Syria’s chemical weapons program.”

The demarche made four specific points, according to other U.S. officials who offered a fuller account to The Cable. It communicated the U.S. government’s recognition that there is a highly active chemical warfare program in Syria, which is complemented by ballistic-missile delivery capability. It further emphasized that that any potential political transition in Syria could raise serious questions about the regime’s control over proliferation-sensitive material.

Third, the State Department wanted Syria’s neighbors to know that should the Assad regime fall, the security of its WMD stockpile — as well as its control over conventional weapons like MANPADS (shoulder-fired rocket launchers) — could come into question and could pose a serious threat to regional security. Lastly, the demarche emphasized that the U.S. government stands ready to support neighboring countries to provide border-related security cooperation.

“It’s essentially a recognition of the danger to the regional and international community of the stockpiles that the regime possesses and the importance of working with countries, given the potential fall of the regime, to prevent the proliferation of these very sensitive weapons outside of Syria’s border,” one administration official said. “It’s an exponentially more dangerous program than Libya. We are talking about legitimate WMDs here — this isn’t Iraq. The administration is really concerned about loose WMDs. It’s one of the few things you could put on the agenda and do something about without planning the fall of the regime.”

Read the rest of the article here.