Egypt used chemical weapons in the 1960s; no one did anything then either:

August 25, 2013
Arabs, allied with Russia, kill hundreds of other Arabs with chemical weapons. A cover-up of chemical weapons use and angry denials, allowing Western nations stand by and do nothing for political reasons.

In 1967.

FromChemical and Biological Warfare: A Reference Handbook,by Albert J. Mauroni (2007):

The Yemeni Civil War (1962-1970) pitted the Yemeni royalists of the deposed imam against the Yemen republican forces in North Yemen, with Saudi Arabia and Jordan supporting the royalists and Egypt supporting the republican forces. This war was fought for five years until the two forces reached a stalemate in 1967. Although there had been occasional mentions of Egyptian military employment of mustard agent—filled bombs between 1963 and 1966, in 1967 these attacks became more frequent. International journalists began reporting that Ilyushin heavy bombers were dropping mustard-filled and phosgene-filled bombs on cities and rebel bases.

In January 1967, a gas attack near Sada killed more than 125 people. In May, two villages suffered 75 casualties from phosgene-filled bombs. Between 1967 and 1968, it is estimated that more than 1,000 Yemeni were killed as a result of exposure to CW agents. An International Red Cross mission sent doctors to assist the wounded, and the doctors testified to what they saw. Al-though they were careful to clarify that they did not see any evidence of actual attacks taking place, the signs and symptoms of the victims included burning eyes and trachea, pulmonary edema, internal thorax pain, extreme fatigue, and anorexia. Their findings were that in all probability these victims had inhaled toxic gases (Cookson and Nottingham 1969).The doctors were reluctant to identify the specific chemical warfare agents used, in part because they wanted to retain their neutrality and access to war victims. Although it appeared conclusive that mustard and phosgene had been used, a few cases suggested the use of nerve agent—filled bombs as well. The problem was how to prove the use of chemical warfare agents and who was responsible for using them. Because there were no arms control experts assigned to monitor or investigate these attacks, there was very little evidence other than eyewitness accounts from civilians and what could have been propaganda from the royalists. Although bodies and samples were sent to Saudi Arabia for more study, again, it was difficult to accuse any specific nation. Egypt claimed it had not used chemical weapons in Yemen, and, according to some sources, this may be true if Soviet air crews were manning the Egyptian-marked bombers that attacked those cities.

When Saudi Arabia and the royalists tried to get the United Nations to investigate, the UN’s secretary general, U Thant, declined. On March 1, 1967, he stated that he was “powerless” to investigate the issue, and that the facts were in sharp dispute. Although he almost certainly knew exactly what was going on in Yemen, he had made a political decision to stay out of the affair. The U.S. government, occupied with answering criticisms about the use of Agent Orange and riot control agents in Vietnam,chose not to get involved. The U.S. military decided that the chemical warfare attacks were an aberration and not reflective of any requirement to worry about future chemical warfare attacks (and in 1972, chose to disestablish the Chemical Corps). The United Kingdom was attempting to reestablish relations with Egypt at that time, so it chose not to say anything publicly against Egypt or Soviet affairs in the Middle East (Seagrave 1981, 124-125). The incident became a political nonevent, fodder for the arms control community but not much else.
This incident teaches several interesting lessons. The first is the failure of the world’s nations to react against the use of chemical weapons against civilians and military forces that were not similarly armed. This was not a clear violation of the Geneva Protocol of 1925, since Egypt was not then (and still is not) a signatory of the Geneva Protocol, unless it could be proven that Soviet crews were in those bombers. The reason that some military analysts believe there were Soviet crews in the bombers was twofold: First, they do not believe that the Soviet Union would have allowed Egypt to own or employ chemical weapons in 1967, Egypt having just started its interest in an offensive CW program. Second, the bombers dropped their munitions upwind of their targets for maximum effect, and in some cases, MiG fighter planes came back to drop high explosives or napalm on and near the targets to reduce or eliminate the evidence. These same tactics were seen years later when the Soviet air force attacked Afghani villages with chemical weapons. Because the attacks occurred in such remote locations and because post-mortem examinations took place days or weeks later, it was very difficult to directly attribute the cause of death to the bombing attacks.
This was the first instance of Arabs attacking Arabs with chemical weapons.

The second was the Iran-Iraq War, where some 45,000 are believed to have been killed by chemical weapons.

#Upated #Assad has transferred chemcial weapons to #Hezbullah

January 31, 2013
Reports from Israel conclude that this won’t escalate. I’m betting that this is not true and they are merely hoping that this won’t escalate. Assad needs to bring Israel into a war to survive.

(Carl) Israel Radio is reporting (9:00 am) that Kuwaiti daily al-Watan reported in Thursday’s editions that Syria has already transferred chemical weapons to Syria, including more than two tons of mustard gas. According to the report, Syria has also transferred missiles with a 300-kilometer range that are capable of delivering the chemical weapons. The use of the weapons is being supervised by high-ranking Syrian officers stationed in Lebanon.
There is no confirmation of the report from other sources.

(US officials say Israel notified them of Syrian attack, target was sophisticated SA-17 anti-aircraft missiles) Although, Israel has not confirmed it, American officials have told the New York Times that Israel notified the US that it attacked a convoy of weapons headed for Hezbullah in Lebanon. The weapons in question were sophisticated SA-17 anti-aircraft missiles (Hat Tip: Herb G).

The American officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Israel had notified the United States about the attack, which the Syrian government condemned as an act of “arrogance and aggression.” Israel’s move demonstrated its determination to ensure that Hezbollah — its arch foe in the north — is unable to take advantage of the chaos in Syria to bolster its arsenal significantly.

The predawn strike was the first time in more than five years that Israel’s air force had attacked a target in Syria. While there was no expectation that the beleaguered Assad government had an interest in retaliating, the strike raised concerns that the Syrian civil war had continued to spread beyond its border.

In a statement, the Syrian military denied that a convoy had been struck. It said the attack had hit a scientific research facility in the Damascus suburbs that was used to improve Syria’s defenses, and called the attack “a flagrant breach of Syrian sovereignty and airspace.”

Israeli officials would not confirm the airstrike, a common tactic here. But it came after days of intense security consultations with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu regarding the possible movement of chemical and other weapons around Syria, and warnings that Jerusalem would take action to thwart any possible transfers to Hezbollah.

Thousands of Israelis have crowded gas-mask distribution centers over the last two days. On Sunday, Israel deployed its Iron Dome missile defense system in the north, near Haifa, which was heavily bombed during the 2006 war with Lebanon.

(Carl) Matthew Levitt of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy explains why the SA-17’s matter.

“Israel is able to fly reconnaissance flights over Lebanon with impunity right now,” Mr. Levitt said. “This could cut into its ability to conduct aerial intelligence. The passing along of weapons to Hezbollah by the regime is a real concern.” 

(Carl) And what’s so special about the SA-17?

The SA-17 is an advanced antiaircraft missile with a low radar signature, which makes it difficult to target it. It possesses a range of approximately 25 kilometers, and the IAF considers them a danger to its freedom of operation in the region.

(Carl) Hmmm.


Syria’s chemical arms match Israel’s nuclear arsenal: defected general.

December 18, 2012


Syria’s chemical arms match Israel’s nuclear arsenal: defected general.(AA).The Syrian regime has a large arsenal of chemical weapons, which matches up to Israel’s nuclear arsenal, the defected former head of Syria’s chemical warfare program told Al Arabiya on Monday.
Major-General Adnan Sillu, who defected from the regime earlier this year, was party to top-levels talks about the use of chemical weapons on both rebel fighters and civilians.
He told Al Arabiya where the Syrian regime has stored its chemical weapons in specific cities across the war-torn country, highlighting chemical warehouses in the city of Homs and weapons stored also in scientific research center in Aleppo.
“Syria’s chemical arsenal has reached similar levels to Israel’s nuclear weapons,” he said in the interview. Israel is believed to be one of the world’s largest nuclear superpowers.
Sillu, who once led the army’s chemical weapons training program, said in June that the main storage sites for mustard gas and nerve agents are supposed to be guarded by thousands of Syrian troops but that they would be easily overrun.
Probably anyone from the Free Syrian Army or any Islamic extremist group could take them over,” he said.
Recently, U.N. peacekeeping troops on the Golan Heights have said they were prepared in the event of Damascus using chemical weapons amid mounting unrest between the Syrian regime and the armed opposition.
Meanwhile, United Nations ambassador, Bashar Jaafari, told U.N. leaders in letters circulated Monday that opposition fighters might use chemical weapons against against civilians, and try to blame the regime of President -Assad.
The Pentagon has drawn up plans for responding to possible scenarios involving Syria’s chemical arms, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Friday during a visit to Incirlik Air Base in Turkey, about 60 miles from the Syrian border.Read the full story here.

al-Qaeda, Chemical weapons, free syrian army, Israel, Syria, Syrian muslim brotherhood


Assad has plans to transfer WMD to Hezbollah

September 20, 2012

(EOZ) From Al Arabiya:

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would transfer the chemical weapons to the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah, a Syrian defected general told the Times of London.
Former Syrian general turned defector, Major-General Adnan Sillu, said that aside from plans to transfer weapons to Hezbollah, Syria had planned to use chemical weapons on the Syrian people, “as a last resort,” a report on the Israeli online edition of Haaretz said, quoting the Times.
“We were in a serious discussion about the use of chemical weapons, including how we would use them and in what areas,” Sillu said.
“We discussed this as a last resort — such as if the regime lost control of an important area such as Aleppo,” the General was quoted as saying.
The German weekly Der Spiegel on Monday claimed that Syria tested delivery systems for chemical weapons at the end of August.
“Five or six empty shells devised for delivering chemical agents were fired by tanks and aircraft, at a site called Diraiham in the desert near the village of Khanasir,” east of the city of Aleppo, Der Spiegel reported.
The Safira research center in question is regarded as Syria’s largest testing site for chemical weapons. It is officially referred to as a “scientific research center.”
Iranian officers, believed to be members of the Revolutionary Guards, were flown in by helicopter for the testing, according to the witness statements cited.
Scientists from Iran and North Korea are said to work in the expansive, fenced-off complex. According to Western intelligence agencies, they produce deadly chemical agents such as sarin and mustard gas.

If Assad feels desperate enough to use chemical weapons against Syrians in a last ditch effort, it seems likely that he would want to shoot a few rockets with chemical warheads towards Israel as well, to try to rally support. Most Arabs would cheer such a move, after all.
By the way, the Al Arabiya article was illustrated with this really good infographic, but I cannot find a larger version:


There’s a precedent for Assad using chemical weapons: His father did it.

August 30, 2011
א מַשָּׂא, דַּמָּשֶׂק: הִנֵּה דַמֶּשֶׂק מוּסָר מֵעִיר, וְהָיְתָה מְעִי מַפָּלָה. 1 The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.
Isaiah Chapter 17 יְשַׁעְיָהוּ

Many countries, including the United States and Russia, gradually eliminated their chemical-weapons arsenals, but Syria refused to sign the U.N. Chemical Weapons convention and proceeded to develop an ever larger and deadlier stockpile. The CIA has concluded that Syria possesses a large stockpile of sarin-based warheads and was working on developing VX, a deadlier nerve agent that resists breaking down in the environment.
By early in the last decade, some weapons experts ranked Syria’s chemical stockpile as probably the largest in the world, consisting of tens of tons of highly lethal chemical agents and hundreds of Scud missiles as well as lesser rockets, artillery rockets and bomblets for delivering the poisons. Leonard Spector lays down some other scenarios in which Assad’s chemical weapons could be used. Let’s start with the possibility of civil war. According to researchers at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, open sources indicate that there are at least four, and potentially five, chemical weapons production facilities in Syria. One or two are located near Damascus, the other three situated in Hama, Latakia, and al-Safir village, near the city of Aleppo. Hama is one of the hotbeds of the Syrian revolt, which Assad’s tanks attacked in early August and where, more recently, fighting has severely damaged the city’s hospitals. Latakia is another center of unrest; it was shelled by the Syrian Navy in mid-August. Aleppo, Syria’s second-largest city, has also seen significant demonstrations.

If anti-Assad insurgents take up arms, the chemical sites, as symbols of the regime’s authority, could become strategic targets. And, if mass defections occur from the Syrian army, there may be no one left to defend the sites against seizure. This could lead to disastrous outcomes, including confiscation of the chemical weapons by a radical new national government or sale of the weapons as war booty to organized nonstate actors or criminal groups.

In such chaos, no one can predict who might control the weapons or where they might be taken. With these chemical weapons in the hands of those engaged in a possible civil war, the risks that they would be used would increase substantially. The problem would be worsened further if some possessors were not fully aware of the extent of the weapons’ deadly effects.

And let’s imagine that Assad is eventually removed: What leaders would gain control of these weapons after he departed? Saudi-backed Sunni groups? Iranian-backed Shiite organizations? Whoever they might be, it is unclear that the newcomers would follow the Assads’ cautious-use doctrine and refusal to share chemical weapons with nonstate groups, or that the new leaders would be able to maintain strict security measures at the chemical sites.

Meanwhile, it’s possible that an existential threat will cause the Assad regime to abandon its previous policy of restraint regarding chemical weapons. It is not a huge leap from attacking civilians with tank fire, machine guns, and naval artillery to deploying poison gas, and the shock effect and sense of dread engendered by even limited use could quash a citywide uprising within an hour. h/t Carl


Syria Prepared Chemical Weapons for Attack Against Israel

April 15, 2011
Chemical
Missiles found by IDF

Syria placed long-range missiles equipped with chemical warheads on high alert after an attack on a Syrian nuclear plant in 2007, WikiLeaks documents obtained by Yedioth Ahronoth indicate.
In March 2008, then Prime Minister Ehud Olmet met with then Minority Leader of the US House of Representatives John Boehner and several US congressmen. Olmert addressed Operation Cast Lead which was in the final planning states and said that Israel had plans to cause considerable damage to Hamas in Gaza. He then added that the government was considering when and how to act.
…When confronted with a question on the attack on the Syrian nuclear plant in Deir ez Zor, the former prime minister said he never publically addressed the matter but noted the fact that gas tanks belonging to Israeli planes were found near the Syrian-Turkish border.
“Bashar is no dummy,” he added, since he decided not to respond to the September 2007 event. Olmert said that Syria’s mobile missile system were on full alert, but that Assad decided not to order them to fire. “That took discipline,” he noted.


What’s a little mustard and nerve gas among friends?

April 3, 2011

US and Israeli intelligence agencies have tracked the WMD consignments from eastern Libya as far as Sudan in convoys secured by Iranian agents and Hizballah and Hamas guards. They are not believed to have reached their destinations in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, apparently waiting for an opportunity to get their deadly freights through without the US or Israel attacking and destroying them.  Word of the capture touched off a scramble in Tehran and among the terrorist groups it sponsors to get hold of their first unconventional weapons.  According to our sources, the rebels offloaded at least 2,000 artillery shells carrying mustard gas and 1,200 nerve gas shells for cash payment amounting to several million dollars.  It is also not clear whether the shells and gases were assembled upon delivery or were travelling in separate containers. Our sources report that some of the poison gas may be intended not only for artillery use but also for drones which Hizballah recently acquired from Iran.



 

Senior Libyan rebel “officers” sold Hizballah and Hamas thousands of chemical shells from the stocks of mustard and nerve gas that fell into rebel hands when they overran Muammar Qaddafi’s military facilities in and around Benghazi, debkafile’s exclusive military and intelligence sources report.

Tehran threw its support behind the anti-Qaddafi rebels because of this unique opportunity to get hold of the Libyan ruler’s stock of poison gas after it fell into opposition hands and arm Hizballah and Hamas with unconventional weapons without Iran being implicated in the transaction.

Why, it was just about a month ago that

A senior administration official said … that the White House had no reason to believe the current turmoil in Libya has made its chemical weapons stockpiles more vulnerable to

theft….
…. “We believe that whatever they have at this point is not in weaponized form,” said State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley.

Two weeks later Crowley was forced to resign… for calling Wikileaks leaker Bradley Manning “stupid and counterproductive.”  You decide.

DEBKA reports: via bokertov.typepad.com

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