Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Is Syria's Assad Thinking The Unthinkable?: Using Chemical Weapons

Weapons of War

An article in Ynet News, reported widely and quoting from Wired magazine, raises the very real possibility that Syria's President Bashar Assad is thinking about deploying chemical weapons—in particular sarin gas—against his citizens:
Wired explained that Sarin gas has two main chemical components - isopropanol, popularly known as rubbing alcohol, and methylphosphonyl difluoride. The Assad government has more than 500 metric tons of these precursors, which it ordinarily stores separately, in so-called "binary" form, in order to prevent an accidental release of nerve gas. Last week, according to the official, that changed as the Syrian military began combining some of the binaries. "They didn’t do it on the whole arsenal, just a modest quantity,” the official was quoted by Wired as saying. "We're not sure what's the intent."
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday that any use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime against the opposition "is a red line for the United States. "I am not going to telegraph in any specifics what we would do in the event of credible evidence that the Assad regime has resorted to using chemical weapons against their own people. But suffice it to say we are certainly planning to take action if that eventuality were to occur," she said.
Later on Monday, US President Barack Obama warned Syria that the use of chemical weapons would be "totally unacceptable" and that the country's leaders would be held accountable. Obama said that if Assad made the "tragic mistake" of deploying chemical weapons, there would be consequences. Obama stopped short of detailing those consequences.
President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton are both right and correct in their response to any real possibility of Syria's Assad doing the unthinkable. (Syria is a signatory of the 1925 Geneva Protocol banning chemical weapons in war.) The use of chemical weapons would inflame the region, and reluctantly but necessarily bring in other nations like the U.S., Israel, Jordan and Turkey to what has been until now a Syrian civil war.

On the part of the Syrian regime, its actions thus far have been both deplorable and despicable, and show signs of desperation, signalling that it will stop at nothing to remain in power, no matter the consequences. The sum total of its actions thus far have been horrific; this raises it to another level of depravity.

You can read the rest of the article at [Ynet News].