CIA bought Iraqi chemical weapons say US officials

The CIA, working with United States troops during the occupation of Iraq, repeatedly purchased nerve-agent rockets from a secretive Iraqi seller, part of a previously undisclosed effort to ensure that old chemical weapons remaining in Iraq did not fall into the hands of terrorists or militant groups, according to current and former US officials. Continue reading

Chemical warfare looms over Syria. Israel passes atropine to rebels

Every day, Damascus inches a little closer to fulfilling Isaiah 17:1.

As the Syrian civil way went into its third year this week, signs abounded of increasing readiness for the use of chemical weapons on both sides of the conflict.

Since February, the US, Israel, Ankara and Amman have been aware of Bashar Assad’s resolve to override their threats and resort to deadly poison gas if the rebels closed in on the heart of Damascus. On April 3, an unnamed Syrian army officer made the warning clear. By continuing to advancie on Damascus, he said, “the rebels and their leaders” were assured of “certain death.

At about the same time, debkafile reported exclusively that the Syrian ruler had ordered protective suits for chemical warfare and gas masks distributed to the 4th and 3rd Divisions defending the capital. Tank commanders were told to activate their filtering systems against chemical and biological agents. Continue reading

IDF to begin giving its medics chemical weapons antidote

The IDF has acquired tens of thousands of doses of a drug used to combat nerve agent chemical poisoning and will distribute them to all combat medics in the coming months, according to a report in the new issue of the army’s Bamahane weekly magazine.

The drug, diazepam, is an anti-convulsant, halting seizures caused by nerve agents such as VX and sarin. Until now, the IDF supplied all medics with atropine, a drug that counters attacks on the respiratory system, but diazepam, which protects the central nervous system, was available only in intravenous form and was distributed only to rear echelon battalion medical centers. Continue reading

Exclusive: State Department quietly warning region on Syrian WMDs

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)