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David Bedein

Chemical weapons and missiles reaching Hezbollah: Israel’s chief concern

David Bedein, July 31, 2012

The eyes of the IDF Intelligence Branch are on Damascus, for three reasons.

The first involves the possible flow of chemical and biological weapons out of Syria into Hezbollah’s hands in

The second is if Islamic revolutionaries (whose presence and activity in Syria have recently intensified enormously) seize control of those stores of non conventional weapons.

The third is if these weapons are turned against Israel in any of those three scenarios, Israel will be forced to
make a decision.

And that decision is not going to be an easy one to make.

The consensus of thinking in Israeli intelligence is that if, indeed, a convoy of trucks crosses the border from Syria into Lebanon, transporting chemical weapons, this will provoke an immediate Israeli attack.

Israel is not only concerned about chemical weapons reaching Hezbollah, but also worried about  strategic weapons including long-range SCUD ground-to-ground missiles and advanced anti-aircraft missiles.

An Israeli intelligence source refers to such weapons as ‘tie breakers’, which could tip the balance of power between Hezbollah and Israel.

Israeli government ministers said publicly this week that Israel is considering direct intervention if this happens.

Israeli security sources affirm that they will have to calculate very carefully when and how to act so that Israel
does not get drawn into the internal Syrian conflict.

Israeli military options are either to bomb from the air or to send ground troops.

Israeli ground troops options would require thousands of troops and would be very difficult, especially for Israel.

The viability and success of Israeli aerial bombing option would require very high levels of intelligence.

Military planners would need to know the exact location of targets and that the threat of chemical fallout could be averted.

A further scenario that Israel’s security establishment is considering is that the Assad regime will take action against Israel as a last ditch strike before they fall, in a ‘Samson-like’ act.

Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak recently spoke about this threat publicly, and this possibility cannot be ruled out.

IDF Deputy Chief Maj. Gen. Yair Naveh also said June 11 that Israeli forces must be on alert because Syria’s military has “the largest chemical weapons arsenal in the region, which can reach any spot in Israel.”

Naveh expressed concerns that these weapons could “fall into the hands of the rebels or the terrorists.”

The Arab Al Jazeera TV network confirmed on June 8 that Syrian military aircraft has already dropped chemical bombs that poisoned people, and that Syrian government forces had distributed gas masks to troops 10 days earlier in preparation for the use of the weapons against northern areas of the country.


Concerning Syria’s chemical arsenal, Reuters has confirmed that Syrian President Assad has received a stern warning from Russia, Assad's current international ally, to put an end to speculation he might use chemical weaponry, reporting that that Moscow this past week issued a public warning to Assad not to use chemical weapons, which it said was barred by Syria's 1968 ratification of an international protocol against
using poison gas in war.

Reuters further confirmed that even though Russia has blunted Western efforts to condemn Assad at the UN, US intelligence sources report that the United States, Israel and Western powers have been holding sessions on how to deal with the eventuality of Assad will lose control and that his chemical weapons falling into the hands of militant groups - al-Qaeda style Sunni Jihadi insurgents or Assad's pro-Iranian Shi'ite Lebanese fighters from Hezbollah.

Some Western intelligence sources suggested that Hezbollah and Iran's Revolutionary Guards, close allies of Syria, have sent some special units to back Assad in his fight against Sunni insurgents and might get hold of the chemical weapons in the case of a total collapse of government authority.

The Global Security website, which collects published intelligence reports and other data, says there are four
suspected chemical weapons sites in Syria: north of Damascus, near Homs, in Hama, and near the Mediterranean port of Latakia.

A US State Department arms compliance report from 2010 stated that Syria is also believed to have an offensive biological weapons program in addition to the chemical arms.

The exact size of the Syrian chemical arsenal is not known.

The Center for Strategic and International Studies reported several years ago that Syria has stockpiled 500 to 1,000 metric tons of chemical agents. The weapons are said to include long-lasting VX nerve agent and less-persistent Sarin nerve agent, as well as mustard blister agents.

Meanwhile, Israeli troops in Northern Israel remain on the alert, with furloughs cancelled, while Israeli gas mask distribution in northern Israel is expected to escalate in the coming weeks.

Germany: Source of Syria Chemical Weapons Capability

The seminal report, “Weapons of Mass Destruction: The Cases of Iran, Syria, and Libya,” written in 1990 by  Kenneth Timmerman and published by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, first exposed Syria’s  import of   unconventional WMD (Weapons of Mass Destruction) technology provided by German owned US firms export that export WMD technology to Iraq, Syria and Libya.

Working as special Middle East CNN radio correspondent in 1991, I traveled to Germany and to cover the issue of German exports of WMD technology to the Middle East. .

At the German Bundestag Parliament in Bonn, then- German opposition leader Rudolf Dessler told CNN radio that German firms circumvent the ban on Germany exporting such lethal substances through a loophole which allows German firms to establish subsidiaries in the US, which quietly operate with the full knowledge and consent of the German government.

These firms work on contractual arrangements and with the clearance and authorization and confidentiality agreements signed with the US Department of Defense.

A case in point: Bayer AG, a German company, built a pesticide plant and continues to export lethal pesticide formulas through US subsidiary companies, with a packaging line for toxic substances and a toxic disposal unit. Such items are essential to making powerful chemical weapons.

Our news agency contacted Kenneth Timmerman, who this year is running as Republican candidate for Maryland’s Congressional Eighth District, to ask him about his perspective of Syria’s chemical weapons capability.

Timmerman’s response was:

“Internationally recognized experts such as Dr. Jill Dekker have revealed that Syria’s extensive and highly sophisticated biological weapons program includes production and chemical and storage facilities in Aleppo, site of fierce fighting between government troops and rebel forces. Given the mass casualties that would result from the release of weaponized biological agents, securing and destroying these stockpiles, which the Syrian regime acknowledged possessing on Monday, must become an international priority…Israel would be
justified in launching pre-emptive strikes on Syrian chemical weapons storage sites if they detect preparations to transfer these weapons to staging areas for use. Any transfer or imminent transfer of chemical or biological weapons to Hezbollah would be a grave escalation of the conflict and, I believe, would signal a desperate effort on the part of a dying Assad regime to internationalize the conflict…I witnessed Iran’s vicious attacks on Israeli civilians first hand in Kiryat Shemona during the 2006 Lebanon war, when more than 4,000 Hezbollah rockets crashed into Israel towns and villages”.

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