Chemical Weapons Could Change the Game in Syria

(BESA Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University) Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Dany Shoham - On or about April 23, 2016, the Syrian regime launched a serious chemical attack against IS, probably including sarin nerve agent in aerial bombs. This attack marked the renewed use by the Syrian regime of chemical weapons that are far superior to the chlorine gas it usually employs, and Assad's decision to do so was tolerated by the international community. The attack proves that Assad still possesses chemical weapons of full military grade and his regime has dodged its commitment to dispose of them. The attack also highlights the weakened position of the U.S. in the Middle East. Red lines firmly posed by President Obama regarding the use of chemical weapons in Syria have been proven hollow. The full extent of the Syrian regime's residual chemical weapons arsenal is unknown, but the precise details do not really matter. Iran - which is heavily invested in the Syrian civil war on behalf of Assad - possesses a vast inventory of potent chemical weapons, including nerve agents. It may well prefer to supply some of that inventory to Assad rather than lose - together with Hizbullah - more and more military manpower on the Syrian front. The writer, a microbiologist and top expert on chemical and biological warfare in the Middle East, is a former senior IDF intelligence analyst.

2016-06-08 00:00:00

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