Iraq has captured a suspected Al Qaeda cell that planned to produce chemical poisons such as mustard gas to attack Iraqi forces and to ship overseas for attacks on Europe and the United States, the Iraqi government said.
Five men were caught before they could manufacture any gas or chemical weapons in makeshift factories in Baghdad and another province, Mohammed Al-Askari, a defence ministry spokesman told reporters. Continue reading
Major-General Adnan Sillu, who was reportedly participating in “top-level” talks about the use of chemical weapons on civilians and insurgents, told Al Arabiya that the Syrian government had stashed chemical weapons in various cities, specifically in Homs and Aleppo.
“Syria’s chemical arsenal has reached similar levels to Israel’s nuclear weapons,” he said in an interview to the Saudi-owned website. Continue reading
Syrian chemical weapons sites revealed as defector adds new details on regime’s plans to use nerve gas.
U.S. intelligence agencies recently reported on several chemical arms sites in Syria that were revealed in five YouTube videos uploaded to the Internet in July, according to officials familiar with the recordings.
The posting of the videos coincided with the defection in July of Maj. Gen. Adnan Sillu, head of Syria’s chemical arms forces, who told Britain’s Times of London newspaper that Assad will use the arms to stay in power and that his regime has discussed handing over some of the weapons to the Lebanese terrorist group Hezbollah.
One video reveals a major chemical weapons facility in the downtown area of the Syrian capital of Damascus located a short distance by underground tunnel from al-Mazzeh military airfield in southwestern Damascus.
The tunnel can accommodate tractor trailer-sized trucks and exits several buildings on the base. An Arabic-speaking narrator on the video shows the path of the tunnel leading to an underground storage area north and east of the airfield.
The narrator said the roof of the bunker includes 45 feet of reinforced concrete designed to withstand a strike from U.S. Tomahawk missiles. The facility is said to contain a variety of chemical weapons, from hand grenades filled with the blistering agent mustard to chemical weapons rockets of differing sizes.
A second video reveals what is believed to be the largest storage facility for Syria’s biological and chemical weapons, located in a residential area north of Damascus between Al-Tal and Aysh Wurur.
Roads are identified in the video that lead to tunnels built into mountains that stretch 1,500 feet inside the mountain and are hardened against attack.
The narrator of this video, identified as Abu Saqr, stated that he has been inside one of the tunnels that had separate storage rooms sealed with heavy metal doors.
Full article: A Tour of Syria’s Chemical Weapons (Washington Free Beacon)
This is precisely what Global Geopolitics has warned about in the Syria files for some time now. People unfamilliar with the situation might want to do some research on “American Hiroshima“. The threat is real as Iran is prepared — and has been waiting for a long time. America on the homeland is not prepared — and has been only been fixated on Kim Kardashian for a long time.
As everyone knows, the Iranians are refusing to give up their nuclear program. From all appearances, the six power talks, to be held in Moscow (June 18-19), will probably not achieve much. Iranian officials say their nuclear program is peaceful, and they insist that everyone accept and believe in this peacefulness. Those that know the regime best, like former Revolutionary Guardsman Reza Kahlili, say the regime in Tehran is the opposite of peaceful. According to Kahlili, Iran’s leaders want to ignite a nuclear war in order to facilitate an Islamic apocalypse. “The only true avenue to lasting peace in the Middle East,” says Kahlili, is to “help bring about a free and democratic Iran.” Of course, this is not going to happen. The West isn’t positioned for such a gamble. The Iranian government knows this, and that’s why they are becoming increasingly difficult to deal with. Last April the Iranian newspaper Kayhan, which is under the direct supervision of the Office of the Supreme Leader threatened: “If the U.S. strikes Iran with nuclear weapons, there are elements which will respond with nuclear blasts in the centers of America’s main cities.”
Tehran’s threat implies an Iranian nuclear capability. It also implies the possibility of nuclear terrorism, relying on Islamic terror networks. Of course, the statement is defensive in nature, and must be understood as such. Yet it acknowledges a nuclear capability. This is exactly the kind of capability the West would not like Iran to have. The Israeli’s, especially, are growing desperate about the possibility of a nuclear-armed Iran. Many are frightened by the prospect.
In a recent interview, Israeli vice premier and former IDF chief of staff Moshe Ya’alon said during an interview with Haaretz, “Let me say one thing to you in English, because it is very important for English speakers to understand it: We are not bluffing. If the political-economic pressure is played out … and Iran continues to hurtle toward a bomb, decisions will have to be made.” Ya’alon is under no illusion about Iran’s readiness to retaliate, especially against Isreal: “If anyone, no matter who, decides to take military action against Iran’s nuclear project, there is a high probability that Iran will react against us, too, and will fire missiles at Israel.” And those missiles might be armed with chemical or biological warheads. If Israel and Iran begin exchanging missiles, nobody knows how it would end – but we can guess. According to Jane’s Information Group, Israel has between 100 and 300 nuclear warheads. Some of these can be mounted on cruise missiles carried by Dolphin-class submarines. Israel’s land-based delivery system, the Jericho 3 missile, has a range of nearly 8,000 kilometers. If Iran started a biological/chemical missile war with Israel, the retaliation would be withering. One may doubt, indeed, the clerics’ readiness for martyrdom. Yet there is a crisis more immediate, which may soon eclipse the Iran crisis.
According to a June 16 DEBKAfile report, U.S. military intervention in the Syrian Civil War may be inevitable. The Americans want President Bashar al-Assad to step down. That happens to be a big problem for President Vladimir Putin of Russia. Putin favors the Assad government, a longtime client of Moscow and ally of Iran. As the chief arms supplier to Syria, the Russians have recently sent attack helicopters to the Assad regime. The United States strongly objected with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issuing a statement. “We have confronted the Russians about stopping their arms shipments to Syria,” said Clinton, who thinks the conflict could escalate “dramatically.”
Perhaps the most alarming report comes from Aaron Klein, who reports that the Russians are warning the Assad regime that if “the coming counterinsurgency … is not successful in the next 4-6 weeks, Syria should be prepared for war.” Although Klein admits confusion regarding the meaning of Russia’s warning, the language is clear enough. The DEBKAfile report (above) provides the answer: “The intervention [by Americans] will happen. It is not a question of ‘if’ but ‘when.’” Market watchers should take note. Intervention in Syria may be coming, and it isn’t likely to be a picnic. It has long been suspected that Syria manufactures Sarin, Tabun, VX and mustard gas. According to businessinsider.com, Syria is “loaded up on all kinds of missiles, weapons of mass destruction, a solid air force, and enough Cold War relics to fill a dozen Air-and-Space museums.” Then there is the question of what kind of support the Iranians or Russians might provide Syria.
It is surprising to hear Secretary of State Hillary Clinton calling on Moscow to cut ties with Assad. Clinton probably does not sympathize with Russia’s loyalty to a longtime ally. After all, Obama ditched Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Why shouldn’t Putin ditch Assad? It should be obvious by now that the Kremlin does not pick allies on the basis of their human rights records. Russia plays a strategic game, and if it suits Russia to defend Assad then Assad will be defended. In all probability, however, Assad is not important enough for Russia to risk a war on unfavorable terms. Russia’s game is a long game, requiring patience. Let the Americans squander their political capital and military resources on an Arab Spring that may bring radical Islamic regimes to power across the Middle East. If the Russians simply wait, together with their Chinese and Iranian friends, the regimes that come to power in Syria, Egypt and Libya might be more anti-Western than the regimes they replaced.
Full article: New Middle East for Old (JR Nyquist)
Regional war seems to be around the corner as the Assad regime will likely not go down without a fight to the end, causing as much widespread damage as possible everywhere in the region until his last grip on any sort of power/influence is lost. When the last bits of this power/influence are recognized to soon be lost, this is where the real trouble begins — especially so with Syria’s hatred of Israel. This fight to the end will very well include the use of WMDs such as chemical or biological weapons detailed within the article. Should they be used, all bets are off and one could expect a similar response in kind from Israel. Other countries within the region should be expected to retaliate as well, such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey and even European countries. Whether by conventional force, or even by nuclear means, Damascus will more than likely be razed and never hold power again.
The boiling point is being reached and Assad shows no signs of letting up against opposition forces, resorting to increasingly heavy-handed tactics as time goes by. On a daily basis, the prodding of the Assad regime continues through rebels and in response they up the ante another notch — rinse and repeat. Soon enough, things will escalate enough to where the dicator will have no choice but to go all-out — and that’s when the boiling point boils over. Make no mistake, this was the plan. Syria is only one of seven to be changed in five years. Iran is the grand prize, but the most difficult to topple, henceforth it must be first significantly weakened by being detached from the rest of its allies.
Several high-placed generals bolted Bashar Assad’s inner circle Sunday, July 17, including such key figures as two security services chiefs who were operations commanders of the Alawite Shabiha militia plus the former head of Syria’s chemical and biological administration who took six other generals with him. They all fled to Turkey and defected. A fourth senior general from another security service was assassinated in Aleppo. This is reported exclusively by debkafile’s military sources.
The loss of the generals orchestrating the pro-Assad paramilitary Shabiha’s savage crackdown on the opposition has seriously weakened Assad’s protective circle of trusties and reduced his military and security options.
Also today, the Syrian ruler was given a “last warning” through intelligence channels in the West to leave the warheads and shells loaded with mustard gas, sarin and cyanide where they are. If he dared move them out of the northern and central locations where he deployed them last week, they would be destroyed from the air.
Full article: Assad receives last warning to stop moving his WMD: Top generals defect (DEBKAfile)
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.
Full article: Exclusive: State Department quietly warning region on Syrian WMDs (Foreign Policy)