Good morning America. What every junior intelligence officer has known did not get into the oval office. While we in i-HLS again and again said, based on sources, that Syria has not destroyed its stockpile of deadly chemical weapons, the U.S praised the “completion of the mission”. The mission has not been completed and Assad is laughing his head off in his palace.
Now, all of a sudden the United States is concerned that the Islamic State group and other terrorists groups could get a hold of chemical weapons if Syria is hiding any stockpiles. If? Again this stupid question. It should be ’how much’ rather than ’if’.
The concerns were made public by the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations late last week.
Samantha Power spoke to reporters after the Security Council received a briefing from Sigrid Kaag, who heads the international effort to rid Syria of its chemical weapons.
The joint mission of the United Nations and the Organization for the prohibition of Chemical Weapons will end at the end of the month after destroying nearly all of Syria’s declared stockpile. But Kaag said the OPCW is still working with Syria to resolve discrepancies in its declaration, which she said range from outdated records to discrepancies on the volume of materials.
Power said the U.S. is concerned not only that President Bashar Assad’s regime still has chemical weapons but that any stockpiles left behind could end up in the hands of the Islamic State group, which has seized large swaths of Syria and Iraq.
Syria agreed to give up its chemical arsenal last year when President Barack Obama threatened missile strikes in retaliation for a chemical attack on a rebel-held suburb of Damascus, believed to have killed more than 1,000 people. Assad’s government had denied involvement in the attack, blaming the rebels.
The weapons, tons of them, were destroyed aboard the U.S. cargo vessel MV Cape Ray in international waters.
Kaag said 96 percent of Syria’s declared chemical weapons and related material has been destroyed, including 100 percent of the country’s “priority weapons.” Kaag said it will take five to six months to destroy 12 remaining production facilities.
But doubts shadow the Assad regimes statements. The main one is whether Assad is hiding undeclared poison gases and there is an investigation into reports of alleged chlorine gas use in some Syrian towns. Chorine is not specifically classified as a chemical weapon.
So here are the solid facts – Syria has not give up even a small portion of its chemical weapons. Assad is a master of deception and he found himself in front of a naive west that believed him.
Syria has one of the most advanced chemical warfare (CW) capabilities in the Middle East. The country’s initial CW capability was provided by Egypt prior to the October 1973 war against Israel. Since then, Syria appears to have acquired an indigenous capability to develop and produce chemical weapons agents, including mustard gas and Sarin, and possibly also VX nerve agent. Chemical weapons agents have allegedly been produced since the 1980s at facilities located near the Hama, Homs, and Al-Safira villages in the Aleppo region. However, Syria remains dependent on foreign sources for some dual-use equipment, and for the precursor chemicals critical to CW agent production. In recent years, Iran has been identified as a supplier of technical assistance and facilities for developing and producing CW-related precursors. Syria possesses Scud-B and Scud-C ballistic missiles, artillery shells, and rockets that are believed to be capable of delivering chemical warheads. Until recently, Syria had refused to become a member of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC)
Arie Egozi– Editor in chief, iHLS, past articles