Home > Radical Islam, Wars and Rumors of War > Shhhh: State Department Quietly Warning Region About Syrian Weapons of Mass Destruction

Shhhh: State Department Quietly Warning Region About Syrian Weapons of Mass Destruction


By Josh Rogin – “The State Department has begun coordinating with Syria’s neighbors to prepare for the handling of President Bashar al-Assad’s extensive WMD assets if and when his regime collapses, The Cable has learned.

This week, the State Department sent a diplomatic demarche to Syria’s neighbors Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia, warning them about the possibility of Syria’s WMDs crossing their borders and offering U.S. government help in dealing with the problem, three Obama administration officials confirmed to The Cable. For concerned parties both inside and outside the U.S. government, the demarche signifies that the United States is increasingly developing plans to deal with the dangers of a post-Assad Syria — while simultaneously highlighting the lack of planning for how to directly bring about Assad’s downfall.

Syria is believed to have a substantial chemical weapons program, which includes mustard gas and sophisticated nerve agents, such as sarin gas, as well as biological weapons. Syria has also refused IAEA requests to make available facilities that were part of its nuclear weapons program and may still be in operation.

The State Department declined to provide access to any officials to discuss the private diplomatic communication on the record, such as the author of the demarche Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation Tom Countryman. In a meeting with reporters earlier this year, Countryman expressed confidence that the United States knows where Syria’s WMD stockpiles are, but warned that they could become a very serious security issue for Syria and the region going forward.” Read more.

Flashback: Hezbollah may be receiving weapons of mass destruction from Syria – “French newspaper Le Figaro reported on Saturday that Israel has asked Western countries to stop their diplomatic campaign against the Syrian regime for fear that the weapons of mass destruction of the Syrian regime will fall in the hands of Hezbollah and Hamas. The newspaper said the chief of military intelligence in the Israeli army, Major-General Aviv Kochavi has relayed the Israeli position during his visit to the United Nations headquarters in New York a few weeks ago. According to a French diplomat Kochavi warned that the Syrian arsenal of weapons will be directed at Israel if the regime of Bashar al-Assad falls.” Read more.

Flashback: Nasrallah: Next War with Israel Will Start in Tel Aviv, Says Hezbollah Has ‘Many Surprises’ That Will Change the Face of the Region in a Future War – “The next war with Israel will start in Tel Aviv, not on the northern border, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah warned on Friday, the Lebanese Al-Akhbar newspaper reported. ‘If Israel decided to wage a war against Lebanon, we will not only break the Israeli soldiers’ bones, we will smash them,’ Nasrallah was quoted as saying during a meeting with Hezbollah members. ‘The war would be waged without any red lines, and [Hezbollah] would in return commit to the new equations,’ Nasrallah said. ‘[Hezbollah] has many surprises that will change the face of the region,’ he added.” Read more.

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