Syria stocks world’s biggest chemical weapons; can strike anywhere in Israel: army

Syria has the biggest chemical weapons stocks in the world and missiles and rockets that can reach any point in Israel, the Jewish state’s deputy military chief warned.

Maj. Gen. Yair Naveh said if Syria had the chance, it would “treat us the same way it treats its own people.”

Naveh’s remarks, made at a ceremony in Jerusalem commemorating fallen soldiers on Sunday night, were reported on Monday by Israeli radio stations, according to The Associated Press.

Syrian activists estimate more than 14,000 people have died since the uprising in Syria erupted 15 months ago.

Israel has been watching the carnage in neighboring Syria with increasing concern.

Israel has concerns that such weapons might fall into the hands of the Lebanese armed group of Hezbollah or terror organizations.

Two weeks ago, Israel’s daily Haaretz cited a top Syrian opposition figure, who was a former senior officer in the Syrian Army — on conditions of anonymity — as saying that once the regime of Assad collapses, the Syrian opposition plans to take control of the regime’s chemical weapons depots and secure them.

He told the Israeli daily that the large arsenal of chemical weapons held by the regime “is one of the matters the security committee has discussed.”

“We have divided the aftermath [of Assad’s fall] into four periods with different priorities for each day. The first period is the first day, the first hours after Assad’s control breaks down, and one of the priorities during those hours is taking control of the chemical weapons so they won’t fall into the hands of terrorists,” the former officer – now a top member of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) — was quoted by Haaretz as saying.

Comments by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday suggested that concerns about Iran may be starting to predominate in Israel’s calculations.

“This is a slaughter carried out not only by the Syrian government. It is being helped by Iran and Hezbollah,” he said in broadcast remarks to his cabinet. “The world should understand what kind of environment we live in.”

Netanyahu has steered clear of explicitly calling for military intervention in Syria, telling Bild newspaper last week: “That’s a decision for the leading powers who are now talking about it. The less I say as prime minister of Israel, the better.”

Full article: Syria stocks world’s biggest chemical weapons; can strike anywhere in Israel: army (Al Arabiya News)

Russian warships launch drill from Tartus versus US-Israeli-Greek naval exercise

Not 24 hours after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned that a pre-emptive strike (by the US and/or Israel) would violate international law, Moscow put muscle into his warning: Tuesday, April 3, the Russian guided missile destroyer Smetliviy arrived  in the Syrian port of Tartus from its Black Sea base for a naval exercise. The warship’s support group is on the way.

DEBKAfile’s military sources report that the Russian flotilla carried a threefold message for Washington:

1.  The Russian-Iranian strategy of propping up the Assad regime which has brought the Syrian ruler close to victory over his foes, will continue: Diplomacy will be propelled by military impetus.
2.  Russia is providing the Assad regime with defense systems capable of repelling foreign military intervention.
3.  Consigning the Smetliviy warship to Syria illustrates Moscow’s new rapid response policy: Russia is launching a naval exercise in the eastern Mediterranean to match the “Noble Dina” air and naval maneuver the US, Israel and Greece are conducting across a broad expanse of sea between Crete and the Israeli bases at Haifa and Ashdod.

Full article: Russian warships launch drill from Tartus versus US-Israeli-Greek naval exercise (DEBKAfile)

U.S. stops fighting, starts coordinating with Israeli plans for Iran strike

The coming war with Iran is inevitable. It’s been quite clear for some time now that Iran will not give up its nuclear ambitions and Israel will not sit idly while its existence is repeatedly threatened. The main question is, who will strike first and what will be the effect of war. Will it be Israel using a preemptive strike or Iran inducing the return of the 12th imam? Will the US assist Israel should it choose to strike first or will it only help should Israel get hit first? Will support be logistical or militarily? Either way, Iran is bent on destroying Israel and the US, and we could be seeing deadly terrorist attacks at home as they possess the capability and have sleeper cells within the country waiting for orders.

Furthermore, what will the role of Russia and China be? Will they sit idly or will they make good on their threats to protect both of their proxies at all costs, even WW3? In addition, being that Syria has a mutual defense pact with Iran, you can expect them to enter the fray — as well as their respective terrorist proxies such as Hezbollah. You can also expect strikes on countries such as Lebanon, Jordan or even on the Gaza strip as terrorist proxies are planted in each of those areas against Israel.

As you can see, an eventual war will open up a can of worms. One can be certain Israel likely won’t make a move until all aspects are covered and it’s fully prepared to withstand an assault on at least four fronts, its cost of war remains low, it’s shielded against retaliation and can complete its objective: The dismantling of Iran’s means of waging a nuclear war — at least for some time.

Western diplomatic sources said the administration of President Barack Obama has agreed to end open opposition to an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

They said the administration, which already reviewed military options against Iran, has instead focused on military and intelligence coordination with Israel as well as reducing dangers of a global oil crisis.

“Israel has to make its own decisions,” Anthony Blinken, a White House security official, said. “We are not in the business of telling our allies and partners what to do when it comes to their own national security.”

The diplomats said the administration’s new policy continued to caution publicly against any attack on Iran. But in private meetings, they said, U.S. officials and diplomats were discussing war scenarios on the assumption that Israel was prepared to destroy Iran’s nuclear infrastructure by the end of the year, Middle East Newsline reported.

Full article: U.S. stops fighting, starts coordinating with Israeli plans for Iran strike (World Tribune)