Russia is the only key to end the bloodshed in Syria and to neutralize the chemical weapons threat without a foreign military intervention, according to a former Israeli Dense Ministry chemist who is considered perhaps the country’s best expert on chemical weapons in Syria.
It is totally inconceivable to bomb the chemical and biological weapons because an attack could cause exactly the horrid result that everyone outside of Syria wants to prevent – a large scale humanitarian disaster, retired Lt. Col Dr. Dany Shoham told The Jewish Press Sunday. He is a former macro-biologist and chemist for the Defense Ministry and specialized in chemical and biological warfare in the Middle East.
There are two ways to make sure their chemical and biological weapons will not be used – either by foreign military intervention, which would entail getting rid of Assad and replacing him temporarily with a non-Syrian; or ending the bloody civil war by diplomacy, an approach that is virtually impossible without Russia’s cooperation, he said.
There is no doubt that chemical weapons have been used in Syria, and it is “99 percent certain” that it is Assad and not the rebels who have committed a war crime by unleashing them, in violation of the Geneva Convention and all rules of war, Dr. Shoham stated. “In my opinion, there is only the slightest chance that rebels have used chemical weapons, but that doesn’t mean they won’t do so,” said the former macro-biologist for the Defense Ministry.
Syria is manufacturing the chemical and biological weapons within Syria, but Russia may be assisting Syria, he added.
As for the military option, he pointed out that the United States is “planning and practicing for an operation” in Jordan, using its own officers and soldiers as well as Jordanians.
“Whoever wants to prevent danger ideally should replace Syrian guards,” he said. Dr. Shoham did not say what would happen next, but it is clear that any foreign invader would be stuck with local resentment far worse than what the United States faced in Iraq after its invasion. A foreign takeover also would likely plant the seeds for an eventual radical Muslim regime that could make the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood look like bleeding heart liberals.
However, the invading force at least would be able to confiscate the chemical and biologic weapons, according to Dr. Shoham. “We know where most, but not all, of them can be found,” he said.
The diplomatic option so far has not taken hold for the simple reason that without Russia, it can’t happen.
“The solution has to come from Russia. Russia has to force Syria diplomatically,” he said, and “America knows it.”
How and when they might happen is conjecture, but Dr. Shoham pointed out that President Barack Obama will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in five weeks.
The two leaders spoke by phone last week, and the White House stated, “President Obama and President Putin reviewed the situation in Syria, with President Obama underscoring concern over Syrian chemical weapons,” and they agreed to “stay in close consultation” by instructing their foreign ministers to continue discussions on Syria.
President Obama and Putin are due to meet in June during the Group of Eight industrialized nations meet in Northern Ireland.
Moscow is invested up to its neck in the Syria military arsenal, and if it does not want to see it boomerang on itself by letting it fall in the wrong hands, Putin will have the opportunity to play the role as world leader and twist Assad’s arm – if it is not too late.