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View Diary: Assad prepping chemical weapons (135 comments)

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  •  What if Assad does have "stockpiles" (5+ / 0-)

    of such weapons about to fall into the hands of one of the various opposition groups. Should he simply abandon them to whomever, endeavor to protect them, or move them to a more secure location? If he goes with the last option, would that be considered deployment and prompt a U.S./Israeli attack?

    Would we want such weapons to fall into the hands of one of the factions that posts boastful videos of the executions of unarmed prisoners on youtube? The Assad regime has had such weapons for decades as a deterrent against Israel, and Israel has the largest stockpiles of WMD in the region.

    The internationally induced chaos in Syria will have all sorts of unintended consequences that we will be living with for many years to come.

    Those who do not move, do not notice their chains. Rosa Luxemburg

    by chuckvw on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 05:50:16 PM PST

    •  The U.S. holds the largest stocks of WMD (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      corvo, JesseCW, protectspice

      on the planet, of course.

      Those who do not move, do not notice their chains. Rosa Luxemburg

      by chuckvw on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 05:56:51 PM PST

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    •  No, we've been watching him move the... (4+ / 0-)

      weapons around for a while now, and have made it clear that our government has no problem with attempts to further secure them. In fact, the security of those weapons has likely been a primary reason for deciding not to further escalate our involvement in the conflict.

      "The Democratic Party is not our friend: it is the only party we can negotiate with."

      by 2020adam on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 06:02:53 PM PST

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    •  Assad could simply have underlings separately (0+ / 0-)

      blow up and/or ignite the stores of the component chemicals that need to be mixed to generate the nerve gas.  Assad's chemical weapons component stocks are said to amount to a few hundred tons and this procedure is effective enough.

      If the U.S. had to deal with Syria militarily, one of the first American moves would be blow up all the nerve gas chemical storage containers that can be found from the air and ignite whatever volatile gases emerge with napalm or gas-air explosives.  Same result.

      Sure, that still makes an environmental mess of toxic chemicals- but these would be an awful lot less lethal than nerve gas, probably toxic mostly in the sense of noxious and carcinogenic.  Everyone keeps stores of nerve gas stuff in depots far away and definitely downwind from population centers, usually in deserts or on faraway islands.

      The U.S. destroyed all its nerve gas component stocks- (and the residual ones of several other countries, presumably)- tens of thousands of tons of nasty chemicals- by incineration on very remote Johnson Island in the Pacific in the 1990s.

      There will be 'chaos' in Syria if Assad falls, no matter who causes it. It's in the nature of dictatorships that when they fall, practically all the institutions supporting them fall too.  People start off with close to nothing and have to reinvent their government, laws, and standards when dictators topple.  But there is no other way.

      •  They won't start with nothing, unfortunately (0+ / 0-)

        There will be well-organized cadres of foreign fighters, salafists and other fundamentalists, not to mention the agents, spooks and mercenaries of several foreign powers. The idea that this war is simply between evil Assad and noble freedom fighters is nonsense. In "liberated" parts of Aleppo, it seems, women are already forbidden to drive and appear in public unaccompanied... in order "to protect their modesty" (although it is difficult to know what's actually happening given the fact that all sides lie)...

        Assad can't "simply" do anything. You know, what with the civil war and all.

        The U.S. has the largest nuclear arsenal and the most sophisticated multi-tiered array of "conventional" weaponry in the world. (Depleted uranium, for example, has lingering, severely toxic effects beyond its immediate lethality.) The U.S. simply didn't need its collection of decaying, 50-year-old chemical agents. They have a huge redundancy in mass destructive power without them.

        Those who do not move, do not notice their chains. Rosa Luxemburg

        by chuckvw on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 12:48:23 AM PST

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