Monday, December 3, 2012
US Official Believes Syria Has Begun Preparing Deadly Nerve Gas
Despite the fact that Israel has accused just about every country it regards as an enemy of developing chemical and biological weapons, it has never acknowledged its own programs to develop weapons of mass destruction. Yet a biologist who once held a senior post in Israeli intelligence told Mahanimi, There is hardly a single known or unknown form of chemical or biological weapon which is not manufactured at the institute.
Gassing Palestinians: The Use of Lethal Gas in occupied Palestine
Reports suggest that the regime of Bashar Al-Assad has begun mixing the two chemicals needed to weaponize sarin gas.
An unnamed U.S. official told Noah Shachtman and Spencer Ackerman of Wired that some of Syria's chemical weapons have now been prepared for use should Assad order it.
“Physically, they’ve gotten to the point where they can load it up on a plane and drop it,” the official told Wired.
Sarin gas is one of the most dangerous and toxic chemicals known to man as it is about 500 times more deadly than cyanide. The nerve agent is a colorless and odorless gas that can spread quickly through the air.
The Assad government has more than 500 metric tons of the precursors – rubbing alcohol, and methylphosphonyl difluoride – and usually stores them separately to prevent accidentally triggering the deadly reaction. But that seems to have changed.
"We don't know if there is actual intent [to use them on the Syrian people]," a U.S. official told Barbara Starr of CNN Sunday. "This is worrisome. This is a step beyond moving them around."
An anonymous U.S. official now tells Starr that American intelligence revealed preparation of sarin gas. It is unclear whether it's the same source that spoke with Wired.
On Monday Syrian State TV reported that a Syrian Foreign Ministry official said the country would never use chemical weapons on its own people. Reuters then reported that Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi has defected.
Also on Monday Hillary Clinton said the use of chemical weapons by Assad would be "a red line for the United States," adding that the U.S. would act quickly if the threat appears imminent.