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NATO votes to approve Patriot missile defensive positions at Turkey's border with Syria. While movements detected at Syrian chemical weapon depots. The Syrian civil war teeters on the brink of international conflict. Old players at new games. Will chemical war be waged in the Mideast? Will NATO and thus the US be dragged in another ground war to stop the madness of chemical warfare? Now that an adversary actually has WMD, what will be done or not done?

NATO approves Patriot missiles for Turkey but says no intention to intervene in Syria

The U.S. will help build a shield to protect Turkey from chemical weapons attacks or any incoming missile from Syria by providing Patriot Missile batteries within the next few weeks. Under NATO agreement, the U.S., Germany and the Netherlands will deploy the batteries and set them up inside of Turkey by the beginning of 2013. Syria is believed to have the world's third largest supply of chemical weapons after the U.S. and Russia.

AP:
"'We stand with Turkey in the spirit of strong solidarity,' NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters. 'To anyone who would want to attack Turkey, we say, "Don't even think about it!"'

"Fogh Rasmussen stressed that the deployment of the Patriot systems — which includes missiles, radar and other elements — would in no way support a no-fly zone over parts of Syria nor aid any offensive operation against the Arab state.

"But the decision to deploy the systems takes the United States and its European partners closer to the war, with the possibility of U.S.-made and alliance-operated hardware being used against the Assad regime for the first time."

Britain has told the Syrian government that any use of chemical weapons would have "serious consequences", British Foreign Secretary William Hague said.

U.S. President Barack Obama told Assad on Monday not to use chemical weapons, without saying how the United States might respond.

The United States has collected what has been described as highly classified intelligence information demonstrating that Syria is making what could be construed as preparations to use elements of its extensive chemical weapons arsenal, two U.S. government sources briefed on the issue said.

"Syria has dozens of chemical weapons sites spread around the country, and the latest intelligence shows there is activity at these sites, officials said, but not necessarily movement of the weapons.

"The White House issued a statement saying that any use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime would cross a red line that could prompt military action. For its part the Assad regime has said it would not use chemical weapons against its own people.

"In September, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the Syrians had moved some of their chemical weapons to better secure them."

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, in Prague for meetings with Czech officials, said she wouldn't outline any specifics.

"But suffice it to say, we are certainly planning to take action if that eventuality were to occur," Clinton said.

[...]

The warnings to Syria come after U.S. intelligence detected signs the Syrian regime was moving the chemical weapons components around within several of Syria's chemical weapons sites in recent days, according to a senior U.S. defense official and two U.S. officials speaking on Monday. The activities involved movement within the sites, rather than the transfer of components in or out of various sites, two of the officials said.

But they were activities they had not seen before, that bear further scrutiny, one said.

Another senior U.S. official described it as "indications of preparations" for a possible use of the chemical weapons. The U.S. still doesn't know whether the regime is planning to use them, but the official says there is greater concern because there is the sense that the Assad regime is under greater pressure now.

Exclusive: U.S. Sees Syria Prepping Chemical Weapons for Possible Attack

Engineers working for the Assad regime in Syria have begun combining the two chemical precursors needed to weaponize sarin gas, an American official with knowledge of the situation tells Danger Room. International observers are now more worried than they’ve even been that the Damascus government could use its nerve agent stockpile to slaughter its own people.

The U.S. doesn’t know why the Syrian military made the move, which began in the middle of last week and is taking place in central Syria. Nor are they sure why the Assad government is transferring some weapons to different locations within the country, as the New York Times reported on Monday.

All that’s certain is that the arms have now been prepped to be used, should Assad order it.

“Physically, they’ve gotten to the point where the can load it up on a plane and drop it,” the official adds.

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, that changed. The Syrian military began combining some of the binaries. “They didn’t do it on the whole arsenal, just a modest quantity,” the official says. “We’re not sure what’s the intent.”

If Assad does not fall quickly, the chances of a WMD standoff or a massacre increases by an order of magnitude. Regime change is a messy business... as a matter of foreign policy it's downright dangerous.

Cowen Thorne

Poll

Will Chemical Weapons Be Used?

42%16 votes
36%14 votes
21%8 votes

| 38 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Hopefully we can stop dancing around on this (8+ / 0-)

    in the international community. Chemical weapons are designed to do one thing -- terrorize your intended target. They are rather poor as a weapon, wind and weather hinder them, they can be countered by relatively simple measures (provided you haven't been exposed). But they are scary as hell. The threat of using them invokes horrible imagery. And thus the UN has to face up to it -- Assad is a terrorist. End of discussion.

    To me progress is not so much a goal as it is a process and I believe it will not follow a straight course. Remember, the drops of water that form the river may not take the shortest path but they will still reach the ocean.

    by ontheleftcoast on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 05:49:41 PM PST

    •  I Have One Question (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      johnny wurster

      why do we know he has them or even if he has the ability to deliver them?

      When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

      by webranding on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 06:04:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Shorter -- Is this another WMD scare ala Iraq? (3+ / 0-)

        Good question. Though the Assad regime itself has made it clear it has them. I know they've claimed they have them, here's an excerpt from the wikipedia article on chemical weapons.

        Syria is one of only 7 states which are not party to the Chemical Weapons Convention. However, it is party to the 1925 Geneva Protocol prohibiting the use of chemical weapons in war.

        Syrian officials have stated that they feel it appropriate to have some deterrent against Israel's similarly non-admitted nuclear weapons program when questioned about the topic, but only on July 23, 2012, the Syrian government acknowledged for the first time that it had chemical weapons.

        Independent assessments indicate that Syrian production could be up to a combined total of a few hundred tons of chemical agent per year. Syria reportedly manufactures Sarin, Tabun, VX, and mustard gas types of chemical weapons.

        To me progress is not so much a goal as it is a process and I believe it will not follow a straight course. Remember, the drops of water that form the river may not take the shortest path but they will still reach the ocean.

        by ontheleftcoast on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 06:09:36 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes That Is A Large Part Of My Concern (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ontheleftcoast

          With Syria we give them props for doing away with their nuclear program. So we let them keep a ton of chemical weapons?

          Now I know you know a Wikipedia link isn't fact, and if I was a puppet dictator of a small nation I'd say I have all kinds of shit, just wanting neither the US to NATO to drop the hammer on me.

          I just don't buy it.

          When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

          by webranding on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 06:12:26 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yeah, wiki ain't reality but think of it as cliff (4+ / 0-)

            notes for reality. I've seen more than a few reports over the last few months on chemical weapons in Syria (and some other places). The tricky part isn't making them. Hell, anyone that cooks meth can probably cook up Sarin. The real trick is the delivery system.

            Note that while Russia is saying the US and Turkey are over-reacting to Syria using chemcial weapons they're not saying Syria doesn't have them. Just that they won't use them on Turkey. Kind of damning with faint praise if you as me.

            To me progress is not so much a goal as it is a process and I believe it will not follow a straight course. Remember, the drops of water that form the river may not take the shortest path but they will still reach the ocean.

            by ontheleftcoast on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 06:18:45 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Syria has been known to have them for decades. (6+ / 0-)

            This isn't like Iraq, where a case was suddenly whipped up by the Bush administration.  We knew Syria had a chemical arsenal when they joined the anti-Iraq coalition in 1991.

            It's been even more of an open secret than the Israeli nuclear arsenal at least since the 70s.

            Art is the handmaid of human good.

            by joe from Lowell on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 06:51:29 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  One difference (6+ / 0-)

          Iraq was under major sanctions and had little chance of making them in any quantity under those circumstances (though they used to have them). Iraq had no real air force or tank corps to speak of let alone chemical weapons and a way of delivering them.

          Syria on the other hand has the resources to build practically anything they want.

          I didn't believe Iraq had them. It made no sense at the point Bush was claiming they had them. I do believe Syria has them even without their admission/threat.

          FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

          by mole333 on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 06:20:46 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Syria admits to having them (3+ / 0-)

        And has threatened to use them. Probably best to take them seriously since we have long suspected them of having them.

        FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

        by mole333 on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 06:17:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yeah And I Have A 14 Inch Penis (0+ / 0-)

          just cause somebody says something doesn't make it true.

          When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

          by webranding on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 06:19:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Ummm... (3+ / 0-)

            But if someone has a fully equipped military (unlike Iraq when Bush invaded) and openly admits to having chemical weapons and is threatening to use them, it is pretty smart to take it seriously and deploy the necessary defenses. Turkey is a NATO nation and there have been border conflicts with Syria already. Deploying the defense seems pretty much a must.

            As to your 14 inch penis...well don't think NATO needs to deploy defenses in Turkey against that.

            FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

            by mole333 on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 06:24:04 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  My Stance Is This (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mole333

              I don't think they have them nor an ability to deliver. But if I was a small nation, a despot, I'd say I have them to keep the US from bombing my nation into the stone age.

              It is why nations want a nuclear weapon.

              It is a trump card.

              When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

              by webranding on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 06:26:50 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I could see that (0+ / 0-)

                But I don't think it is a strategy that will work well in this case. Particularly when a NATO member (Turkey) is right next door and already having border incidents with Syria.

                Also it is perfectly likely that Syria has them and has the systems to deliver them. Russia has sold them almost anything they want and their military is pretty advanced. I see no reason to doubt him and there have been suspicions for a long time they have them. While I saw no reason to believe Iraq, after years of sanctions and barely a functioning military would have them, I'd put money that Syria does.

                FREEDOM ISN'T FREE: That's why we pay taxes. I Had A Thought

                by mole333 on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 06:35:47 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Do you have any reason for that stance... (0+ / 0-)

                except it's momentary convenience for your position on a political question?

                I mean, did you doubt Syria had chemical weapons five years ago, or twenty?

                Did you come across some evidence that they don't have such an arsenal?

                Because, unlike the supposed Iraqi arsenal, there really isn't a whole lot of doubt among the people who study these things that Syria has chemical weapons.

                Art is the handmaid of human good.

                by joe from Lowell on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 06:55:04 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Threat More Powerful Than the Application (0+ / 0-)

                What we should have learned from the Bush administration's invasion of Iraq is that the application of violence generally results in less discomfort than the threat of using violence.  The Syrians get more leverage from threatening to use WMD than actually deploying them.  From their perspective, their optimal situation over the last twenty years would have been to have invested in nothing more than a few PR releases and conferences for their WMD program, just as Saddam Hussein had implied before our invasion in 2003.  Once used, the weapons lose shock value and their ability to really leverage the opponent.  From our side, launching airstrikes against supposed WMD bases will never guarantee complete eradication of the threat, as we found in Iraq when even ground occupation did not resolve the issue of Iraq's possession of WMD.

                "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

                by PrahaPartizan on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 10:05:05 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  Oh My Penis Reference (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mole333, PeterHug

              I didn't mean that to be rude, but an illustration. People will say all kinds of things. Just cause they say them doesn't make them true.

              When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

              by webranding on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 06:29:00 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Threatened to use them (0+ / 0-)

          AGAINST FOREIGN INVADERS.

      •  I believe its because the Russians saved (0+ / 0-)

        the receipts.

        My understanding (which could well be wrong) is that they were supplied in decades past.

        As for the capacity to deliver, you'd have to ask a weapons expert that.

        Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

        by Mindful Nature on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 07:04:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  The Bush Admin guaranteed that in the future... (0+ / 0-)

        people would doubt any claims of WMD, because of his elaborate and bogus warnings about WMD in Iraq.

        As for proof of chemical weapons in Syria, it's going to be pretty hard for the Admin. to convince people here that there are WMD, because as we learned from the Bush Admin, their "intelligence" could well be wrong.  Yet, the conundrum is-the intel could also be correct.  

        FWIW, here is one report showing what is identified as a satellite picture of  "one of Syria's two dozen chemical weapons bases..."

        ...U.S. monitoring of these bases indicates the Assad regime has begun preparing chemical weapons use...

        One of Syria's chemical weapons bases can be spotted in commercial satellite photos. U.S. monitoring of roughly two dozen bases like this indicates the Assad regime has begun preparing its chemical weapons for use. Orders have been issued to bring together chemical ingredients which are normally stored separately for safety, but when combined, form the deadly nerve agent sarin.

        Throughout months of heavy fighting, intelligence analysts have said Assad remained confident he would defeat the uprising. But now the fighting has crept so close to Damascus that airliners are refusing to land. Syria experts say the regime may have pushed the panic button, although the Syrian foreign ministry repeated today that the Assad dictatorship would never use such weapons against its own people...

        ...but in that last sentence, the Syrian foreign ministry didn't actually deny that Assad had "such weapons"...
      •  Well, if they don't, (0+ / 0-)

        it's been a long-term deception. This from 1997 [PDF].

    •  Encourage you to read this (4+ / 0-)


      "Justice is a commodity"

      by joanneleon on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 06:18:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I pray that Asad (0+ / 0-)

    is only testing the resolve of the U.N. and does not actually use these weapons.

    To all my ancestors who have moved from "sense to soul", a mountain of gold could not repay you.

    by rubthorn on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 05:52:48 PM PST

  •  Umm.... (3+ / 0-)
    an American official with knowledge of the situation
    That really doesn't lend itself to credibility.

    They can't even tell us what agency?  Hell, what Cabinet department they're under?

    This place needs a PVP server.

    by JesseCW on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 05:56:00 PM PST

    •  SoS Clinton warned Syria about chemical weapons (4+ / 0-)

      yesterday. I don't think she did that just because it was a Monday. The US government has reason to believe something is up with Syria in regards to this. What their sources are and what agencies are involved would be nice to know but I don't think it calls the entire incident into question.

      To me progress is not so much a goal as it is a process and I believe it will not follow a straight course. Remember, the drops of water that form the river may not take the shortest path but they will still reach the ocean.

      by ontheleftcoast on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 06:06:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I Still Question He Has Them (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JesseCW

        or if he can deliver them.

        But I think many, Clinton included recalled what Saddam did with these weapons and I don't think we want that to happen again.

        When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

        by webranding on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 06:09:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's right (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          The Jester, PrahaPartizan

          if he has them, the warning is important
          If he doesn't, no harm making it clear he shouldn't use weapons he doesn't hve.

          For now, that's all the practical consequence, until they are used.  One thing Clinton isn't suggesting is invade on the supposition there are such weapons.

          My bigger concerns is how these weapons get secured afterwards.

          Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

          by Mindful Nature on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 07:08:05 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  So all the opposition needs to do (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JesseCW

            is a small false flag (and remember they are being armed by multiple players who also have access to chem weapons).

            And then Clinton will be ok with it.

            It's not like they haven't done it before *cough cough * Houla.

            •  What? (0+ / 0-)

              This seems very strange.  You are referring to the massacre launched by the Shabihha?

              Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

              by Mindful Nature on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 10:35:55 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Regardless of which side you believe was (0+ / 0-)

                responsible for killing the civilian government supporters in Houla, my point about a false flag still stands on many other examples which you can find with a quick Google.

                And then there's this very disturbing development, which everyone should check out.

                •  The main false flag efforts (0+ / 0-)

                  Are the utterly predictable efforts to pin blame on the people Assad wants to dominate

                  Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

                  by Mindful Nature on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 06:20:49 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  That doesn't even make sense man (0+ / 0-)

                    To what are you referring?  Civilian eyewitness accounts? Affiliations of the victims of massacres? 'Cause those are what will always tell the raw story, not the CNN/MSM("rebel") propaganda that never fails to turn reason and truth on its head in service of YET ANOTHER regime change achieved through state-sponsored terrorism.  

                    •  Well (0+ / 0-)

                      the eyewitnesses tell of government massacres, only countered by the stories pushed by the Assad regime.  Sure, some instances are highly ambiguos and examples of sectarian violence.  However, swallowing Assad regime propaganda credulously is the height of foolishness.

                      "state-sponsored terrorism"?  That's highly amusing, and bears little resemblence to the facts on the ground, unless you are spinning all manner of CT

                      Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

                      by Mindful Nature on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 08:24:40 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Well when "the facts on the ground" (0+ / 0-)

                        come from CNN, who's one the phone with some guy sitting in London, who's on the phone with foreign-armed rebels(some who are foreign themselves), I'll take the word of the Syrian victims of terror. But that's just me...and on this site only a handful of others, who've been following this since the beginnings of the unrest.

                        You can choose to believe these tenuous MSM "sources", but given their record I don't see why anyone would.

        •  Of course, Syria has chemical weapons! (0+ / 0-)

          How else are they going to defend themselves against Israel? They have no chance in going toe-to-toe with the Israeli military, so Syria says, "If you attack us, we will kill a million of your civilians in your cities." It is the same defense that North Korea uses against South Korea. The defense is only credible if you have the means of delivering the ordinance, so you can pretty much guarantee that Syria can deliver nerve gas both by long range missile and by airplane.

          Don't kid yourself about Saddam Hussein. He had chemical weapons and the means of delivering them during the first gulf war. It was only the inspectors and Bill Clinton's bombing that got rid of them.

          What possible motive would Assad have for disarming himself?

          No. The big question is what could Assad gain by deploying chemical weapons at this stage of the revolution? They won't be much help during street-to-street fighting in Damascus. You need a large concentration of enemy troops with no protection in order to cause significant military damage. I don't think that the rebels are going to give him that kind of target

          Being essentially terror weapons, chemical agents are really only effective against civilian targets. So whose civilians? Israeli, Saudi, Turkish or towns under rebel control inside of Syria?

      •  I have no doubt (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        protectspice

          that Syrian forces are very active at their chemical weapon sites - I'd be more worried if they weren't.  Those sites need to be secured.  

        A substantial portion of the rebel army consists of people who do not need to get their hands on sarin.

        What is questionable is the unnamed source that tells us they're preparing to use the weapons.  

        We've seen ridiculously false claims from the Iraqi National Congress, from the MEK, ect.   It's not a new game.

        This place needs a PVP server.

        by JesseCW on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 06:19:11 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Counting small blessings here. (3+ / 0-)

    Sarin is a non persistent nerve agent. Not that that means it's OK by any means.

    It starts degrading as soon as it is made.

  •  Old players at old games (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    webranding, protectspice

    Same old chemical weapons scare that has been done so many times before.

    This "premixing" stuff doesn't even make sense.

  •  Assad's forces are crumbling. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bear83

    Assad's forces are gradually losing ground across the country, especially in the north and east.   But in all-important Aleppo Assad's forces in the city are starting to look encircled.   The government hasn't had the momentum for awhile now, and their reinforcements to defend the airport in Damascus are going to cost them elsewhere.

    It's inevitable that if there are chemical weapons, something is going to happen to them.   Bases are being overrun because the government only has so many loyalists left and still so much territory to defend.   They can't reinforce anything.

    "Your diary is a pack of filthy lies." -bronte17

    by Setrak on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 08:03:15 PM PST

    •  Just wait (0+ / 0-)

      If chemical weapons are used, Assad will naturally blame the opposition. Given the state of his forces, it might even be true.

      Question is, what do we do then?

      Filibuster reform now. No more Gentleman's agreements.

      by bear83 on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 09:44:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Yeah qaddaffi was "ABOUT TO" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BigAlinWashSt

    commit genocide, too.

    Seems like people have conveniently forgotten the old term "pre-emptive war" when it applies to their side.

  •  What am I missing? Here we have ACTUAL WMD's.... (0+ / 0-)

    ... and we know where they are. How do you tear a country apart over fake WMD's and then sit around on your hands when someone has the real thing, proven and documented, and is on the verge of destabilizing in a civil war?

    One of the things not discussed, and a valid criticism of the President is, the weapons stores of Libya, that were not secured/destroyed during that civil war. The fear was those weapons falling in the wrong hands, months later we have suddenly improved range/accuracy rockets being used by Hamas in Israel.... duh.

    Give Assad the option to turn it all over to the UN now, period or.....

    We, wake, build up for a massive air strike, castrating the Syrian military AND neutralizing the WMD threat. The time to get off our ass... US, NATO, EU, Arab allies.... is now. Use convention bombs, use Fuel Air bombs, use baby nukes if required, but eliminate the threat... and for punishment all military capacity of the regime will be destroyed, leaving them helpless at the mercy of the rebels.

    How is this now not the most critical threat to AQ getting their hands on Sarin or VX and using it on EU or US targets?

    This should have already been settled. The moment the Assad regime was at risk, we needed to settle.... quietly, behind the scenes, the matter of the Syrian WMD's. It has been months, we should NOW have this settled within a week or two, prepare, place forces in range, prep the plan, and be ready to strike within minutes of the President giving the word.

    •  The most nervous folks around (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PrahaPartizan, The Jester

      have to be the Israelis, sitting right next door to the Syrian powderkeg, and hated by both the Assad regime and extremists across the Middle East who would love to get their hands on Assad's chemical weapons stores.

      What a freaking mess.

      Filibuster reform now. No more Gentleman's agreements.

      by bear83 on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 09:48:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Just Inviting Retaliation (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Jester

      Any direct threat to conduct air strikes against supposed Syrian WMD sites would merely prompt the Syrians to adopt a launch-on-threat posture.  Once a strike appears to be underway, the Syrians would know they're in a "use it or lose it" situation, which means they'll be launching against whomever they consider their most existential enemy.  The Sunni insurgents inside Syria would be the first target, followed by the Israelis.  Launching airstrikes against the Syrian bases suspected of housing WMD would be the absolute best way to spread the war across the Middle East and the misery it would bring in its wake.

      "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

      by PrahaPartizan on Tue Dec 04, 2012 at 09:57:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  ummm... (4+ / 0-)
      The time to get off our ass... US, NATO, EU, Arab allies.... is now. Use convention bombs, use Fuel Air bombs, use baby nukes if required, but eliminate the threat... and for punishment all military capacity of the regime will be destroyed, leaving them helpless at the mercy of the rebels.
      The advocating of the use of nukes was jarring.... until I saw your name. "The Case For Martial Law"  

      Let us not get ahead of ourselves, wild cries for nuking people aside, not one chemical shell has been launched or even loaded onto a delivery vehicle.

      It is very, very early to be making speculations about response avenues, let alone pronouncements.

      Atheistic Determinist and Contemplative Contrarian.

      by ShockandAwed on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 02:35:41 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree, but I think it is important.... (0+ / 0-)

        ... to have concerns over the security of the Syrian stockpiles. I believe it is a legitimate discussion to have.

        I'm less concerned about Assad's people going nutz and using the weapons than I am that some of the materials could be diverted to Jihadi elements within the rebel forces during the course of their activities.

        It becomes an open ended threat that an unknown quantity of materials could fall into unknown hands. From the US/EU position, our leaders as part of their due diligence need to be working to secure the materials and neutralize any threat they pose from anyone.

        To (currently) a lesser extent, we need to be concerned about Pakistani nukes and manufacturing as/if the government in Pakistan destabilizes, and have plans in place to capture or destroy those weapons and materials.

        On my mention of using nukes, I mean BABY nukes, weapons we haven't even built yet and should have, it is technically possible to make a fusion weapon with a magnetic-collapse trigger that can produce an explosion as small as a 500Lb bomb, but as hot as a fuel air bomb. A way of incinerating chem/bio weapons in a strike without the nuclear fallout of an atomic bomb or atomic bomb triggered fusion bomb. I don't mean using a Minuteman III warhead, I think one of those would pretty much wreck Syria.... it is a small country.

        •  ... (0+ / 0-)

          Though far more lucid, you are none-the-less advocating striking out directly, rather than by proxy as is currently the case via Qatar. Direct involvement is not advisable in yet another example of regime change in the real-world manifestation of the domino effect.

          I had assumed that by "baby nuke" you either meant a 3lb. plutonium sphere actual nuke or the comparatively less radioactive "bunker buster" consisting of a depleted uranium perpetrating nose cone and the powderized uranium-238 constituent to render the sites heavy metal, low-level radioactive inhospitable to scavengers and Syrian troops. Not for a moment, did I assume you to mean a theoretical solution in need of manufacture to a real-world problem currently in motion.

          Either way, anything more than providing comm. equipment and arming these people is an unnecessary complication to an already complicated situation. Their country, their war. If the Syrian gov chooses to use chemical weapons, of which I'm still not convinced, they would lose the only friends they have in the world, Russia and Iran, and their only hope for rearmament.

          If we were to respond, it would be via drones, plain and simple. The whirlwind of gaseous and solid contamination would provide plenty of disincentive for anyone to approach the sites.

          Atheistic Determinist and Contemplative Contrarian.

          by ShockandAwed on Thu Dec 06, 2012 at 02:20:31 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Did you seriously just argue we should use (0+ / 0-)

      nukes to prevent the use of weapons of mass destruction?

      Really?

      This place needs a PVP server.

      by JesseCW on Wed Dec 05, 2012 at 10:05:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Syrian opposition chemical weapon Youtube demo (0+ / 0-)

    http://www.moonofalabama.org/...

    a rough translation from the comments section :

    The video stars with the narrator saying:

    "he saw his mother and little brother being killed in front of his eyes and they told him do nothing.
    he saw his house being destroyed on his head and they told him do not say anything.
    he saw his father being brought to death and told him die in your rage.
    so the cub revolted and said it is the time of action not words."

    then a background a song

    "let me go i love to fight, give me weapons and ammunitions to fight, saladin
    i asked you to join the fight and destroy their fortification. O saladin we are coming back.The mother screams and the women are scared and the house was destroyed by rockets and the Sheikh in Al Aqsa telling us to hold on and people are mute.
    .....in our jihad we will destroy the rocks and with our unstoppable will we will destroy the tyrant and the apostates"

    Man appears kills the rabbits with the chemicals and says

    "takbeer, allah is great. This is what will happen to you, nusairies(=alawi) the enemies of God. It didn't take more than a minute and they died, this is exactly what will happen to you nussaries, enemies of God. This is what we will do to you with chemical and biological weapons. do you believe me?"
    then he addresses a group, i can't hear who it is, saying that we will not hit you yet we will negotiate but this is what will happen to people who support the nussairies and Bashar Assad. The he introduces his group as the "... chemical brigade" i could understand the first part.
    then " O enemies of God this is only a small sample of we can do. Do you believe us now? it only took a minute to kill them"

    as for the poster on the wall. My best guess is some koranic saying about cockroaches. But again i am no expert and i could not read it clearly.


    (my emphasis)

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