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April 25, 2014 / 25 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘wmds’

With Syria, at Least Israel Seems Ready

Monday, April 29th, 2013

Several websites have picked up on a UPI report that the Israeli Air Force attacked a chemical weapons site in the Damascus area on Saturday. (Here’s the original UPI report). The report is unconfirmed by any official source, but it is credible.  There are caveats, however.

The site in question, if it was struck, was probably the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC), long known to be a key facility in Assad’s chemical and biological weapons program.  (See here as well.)

The blogger, “Mossomo” at Flopping Aces put together an excellent timeline back in February on the events leading up to a previous unconfirmed report that the IAF had struck the SSRC.  This strike was reportedly conducted on 30 January 2013. Hours later, Israel targeted a truck convoy west of Damascus which was carrying sophisticated new surface-to-air missiles for Hezbollah in Lebanon.

I doubt the convoy’s cargo itself was related to the chemical weapons site; if Israel went after both targets in January, it was because they were close, geographically, and Israeli military authorities wanted to maximize the gain from a rare and dangerous penetration of Syrian air space.

But it’s not actually clear that the SSRC was hit at the end of January.  David Barnett at Long War Journal was among many who picked up a few days afterward on satellite imagery shown by Israel’s Channel 2, which seemed to show the SSRC completely unscathedafter the date of the reported attack.  Barnett concluded that the IAF probably meant to attack only the truck convoy, which was in a parking lot close to the SSRC at the time of the strike.

If the IAF actually attacked the SSRC on 28 April, the urgency of hitting it may relate to the battle being waged in its vicinity at this very moment.  According to the Lebanese Daily Star, Assad’s forces are engaged in an all-out assault to retake the area around the compound from the rebels.  Fighting in the immediate vicinity of the SSRC increases the danger that its inventory will fall into rebel hands – and thence into the hands of Islamist jihadists, including Hezbollah, Hamas, and al Qaeda.

It’s also possible that Israel attacked something near the SSRC on Saturday, but not the SSRC itself.  One factor arguing for that assessment is that attacking the SSRC would be a big job.  There’s a lot of industrial square footage to thump; the IAF would want to put more than a couple of strike fighters over the target.  Ideally, there would be sequential strikes; I would envision two strike-fighter pairs delivering an initial ordnance package, followed by another wave of pairs an hour later delivering a second one.  Additional restrikes could well be necessary – if, that is, the objective is to “k-kill” the installation, or destroy it completely so that it could not be reconstituted within a timeframe useful to the current civil war.

If that’s not the objective, it’s hard to think of one that would justify putting IAF aircraft in Syrian air space in order to strike the SSRC.  Either you go in to take it out for the duration of the civil war, or you don’t hit it at all.

So perhaps the IAF visits have been for other purposes, and the SSRC hasn’t been hit.  Assad’s forces hold the compound itself and they may well be using it to marshal other kinds of military equipment, which, like the truck convoy in January, can from time to time present a lucrative target for the IAF.

It’s hard to say, without any idea of how big the reported attack was on Saturday.  If the Israelis did attack the SSRC, however, it’s a good bet that they did whatever was necessary to achieve a useful effect.  In our brave new world, someone will put out satellite imagery in a few days, and then we’ll have a better idea.

Originally published at the Optimistic Conservative.

Bunny Snuff Vid Shows Syrian Rebels Have Chemical Weapons

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

According to a video reportedly posted by the Free Syrian Army, the Syrian rebels have their own chemical weapons to match Bashar Al-Assad’s – and you get to watch two rabbits die to prove it.

This link is to the video posted at YouTube.  But Breitbart has helpfully loaded the video to its post on the topic today, so you don’t have to sign in at YouTube to watch it.  Warning: extremely graphic content showing horrible suffering of animals.

After apparently setting off the chemical agent in a glass box containing the hapless rabbits, the speaker in the video issues this warning (translation cited at Breitbart):

You saw what happened?  This will be your fate, you infidel Alawites, I swear by ALLAH to make you die like these rabbits, one minute only after you inhale the gas.

Breitbart speculates that the chemical used on the rabbits is a nerve gas, due to its observable effects.  That’s a good guess.  The close-ups early in the video, of potassium chlorate and sodium nitrite containers, show explosive agents that could be used to disperse the toxic chemical.  This latter is actually interesting, as it seems to suggest that the rebels or their terrorist compadres have the capability to build their own chemical weapons.

They may not have to do that, however.  In the back-and-forth battles across Syria over the last year, it’s not impossible that the rebels have gotten hold of weapons from Assad’s own stash. They could also have weapons from Saddam’s Iraq that didn’t go to Syria before the 2003 invasion, but were taken by terrorists afterward, on an opportune basis.  (In the immediate aftermath of the invasion, there were numerous reports of chemical agents and weapons turning up fields and barns around central Iraq.  The likelihood of these items getting directly into terrorist hands is high).

It’s no apology for Assad, whose brutality is well-known, to observe that the Syrian rebels have had connections with terrorists from the beginning.  According to CNN this week, the State Department is planning to designate the Al-Nusra Front, a radical Islamist group associated with the Free Syrian Army, as a “foreign terrorist organization.”  Al-Nusra was responsible for a spate of attacks in Aleppo in October that killed dozens of civilians.

But Al-Nusra’s contribution goes well beyond that.  Daniel Greenfield points out at FrontPage that the Free Syrian Army “relies heavily on Al-Nusra, and a lot of FSA victories have really been Al-Nusra victories.”

Meanwhile, however, the “new opposition coalition” fighting for Syria, whose unity was solidified in mid-November, isn’t much of a step forward.  Its leader is Moaz al-Khatib, a Muslim Brotherhood member with a history of anti-Semitic, anti-Western statements, who has castigated as “revisionists” fellow Muslims (like Alawites) whose beliefs differ on the margins, and who believes that the bombing of Israelis is “evidence of God’s justice.”  Al-Khatib admires Yusuf al-Qaradawi, spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, who encourages Muslim nations to acquire nuclear weapons and “terrorize their enemies.”  Western media naturally refer to al-Khatib as a “moderate.”

With Al-Nusra and the new opposition coalition duking it out for Syria against Iran and Assad, Greenfield puts it this way: “Syria is coming down to a race between the Iranian allied Syrian government, the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda.”

That’s, er, a comforting thought – and one the Russians had a long time ago.  There is no such option as leaving the Syrians to their own devices.  There is only leaving them to the Muslim Brotherhood, to a cadre of Salafi terrorists, or to the brutal ministrations of Iran and Assad.  At least we can probably count on the Muslims Brotherhood to refrain from making bunny-snuff videos.

Originally published at Hot Air.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/j-e-dyer/bunny-snuff-vid-shows-syrian-rebels-have-chemical-weapons/2012/12/11/

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