There is much talk today of Syria and its chemical and biological weapons. Syria promised to unleash chemical weapons if they are attacked. This open admission sparked a flurry of discussions, concerns, and reports. Lebanon, and the world, attacked Syria's threat as monstrous. The US weighed in with saying that Syria's threat was unacceptable. Israel's Haaretz newspaper engaged in some hand-wringing, "Israel is unprepared to face the threat of Syria's chemical weapons", Netanyahu warns against Syrian weapons falling into the hands of terrorists, but in practice 47 percent of Israelis do not have protective kits and it will take two years to make all the needed ones." There are warnings from the US to Syria not to use chemical weapons as a last-ditch effort to maintain Assad's hold on the regime. HuffPo reports that Israel would strike Syria to secure their chemical arsenal. A few days ago, US and Israel discussed destroying Syria's chemical weapons.
Suddenly it's all about Syria and its arsenal of chemical weapons. But is it really so sudden?
I've been concerned about this for a long time. Two years, as a matter of fact. Let's go back one year first:
One year ago I wrote the following:
If Syria's regime fails, what happens to its chemical weapons? In that blog essay I excerpted the following news piece from the Washington Post--
Syrian unrest raises fears about chemical arsenal
"The Middle Eastern state with the dangerous chemicals was not Libya, whose modest stockpile was thrust into the spotlight last week because of fighting there. It was Syria, another violence-torn Arab state whose advanced weapons are drawing new concern as the country drifts toward an uncertain future. A sudden collapse of the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad could mean a breakdown in controls over the country’s weapons, U.S. officials and weapons experts said in interviews. But while Libya’s chemical arsenal consists of unwieldy canisters filled mostly with mustard gas, the World War I-era blistering agent, Syria possesses some of the deadliest chemicals ever to be weaponized, dispersed in thousands of artillery shells and warheads that are easy to transport."
The article goes on to explain that Syria does indeed have sophisticated weaponry of the chemical and biological kind. We read:
"Deadly, large cache: "Syria first developed chemical weapons in the 1970s and slowly amassed a sophisticated arsenal under the close supervision of then-President Hafez al-Assad and, later, his son Bashar, the current president. Using technology obtained in part from Russian scientists, the Assads sought to create a strategic deterrent against Israel, its vastly more powerful southern neighbor, whose forces humiliated Syrian troops in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and captured the strategic Syrian plateau known as the Golan Heights. 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."
In that same blog essay I also quoted a Jerusalem Post editorial that posed the scenario which we are seeing coming to the fore today:
"Further, a desperate Assad (or even post-Mubarak Egypt) might escalate to non-conventional weapons in a bid to retain power: the massive Israeli retaliation would end internal uprisings."
BINGO! Last year's speculation is exactly the news today. Most people do not know how sophisticated Syria's bio & chemical arsenal is. Two years ago, on July 9, 2010, I wrote about these exact concerns from consultant to the NATO Defense Establishment in bio-warfare and counter terrorism expert Dr. Jill Dekker regarding the Syrian chemical stockpile. She stated,
"Contrary to how the US State Department and other agencies tend to downplay the sophistication of the Syrian biological and nuclear programs, they are very advanced. Syria has always had the most advanced chemical weapons program in the Middle East."
At that time, Dr. Dekker said that Syria had shifted in their philosophy of using bio-weapons from special weapons to conventional arsenal, and they have the will to do it. "Why? Realizing they have no practical opportunity to reach parity with Israel or the US on conventional weapons, they decided to pursue bio-weaponry and were at that time fixing conventional missiles with a highly virulent anthrax germ with the help of Russian scientists. Ominously for the world, the US nor the UN were particularly reactive to the Syrians' re-definition of bio-weaponry as conventional and offensive. Ominously for prophecy, the Syrians run their biological programs out of the Syrian Scientific Research Council (SSRC) in Damascus."
I had linked to the entire interview with Dr. Dekker. It is in the New England Review, and you can read it here. It is chilling. Some more excerpts:
"Dr. Dekker’s answers give a foreboding picture of how large and refined the Syrian bio-warfare programs are and how little Western Intelligence knows about how the programs were developed. The potential exists for a significant WMD threat in the Middle East and the West, especially, against America."
"Syria’s biological weapons capability today is closely tied to the former and current Soviet and Russian programs respectively, the DPRK, Iran and the former Iraq regime. A major concern is their strategic concept of use - which has gone from one of ‘special weapons’ to incorporation into their ‘conventional arsenal.’ That is a significant shift and one that seems to have eluded the US."
"The Syrians run their biological programs out of the Syrian Scientific Research Council (SSRC) in Damascus. They have separate wings for separate pathogens. They also have a number of programs running in Aleppo. The Syrians are 100% committed to deniable operations as their modus operandi. Biological weapons, particularly those which might occur naturally, are the ultimate in deniability, for example, their cryptosporidium program for force reduction. The Wednesday Report noted a few years ago that in terms of the Syrian anthrax program, Syria has extensive expertise in the industrial cultivation of germs and viruses for the civilian production of anthrax (and smallpox) vaccines."
"It also noted that Russian experts, contracted by Syria, are apparently helping them to cultivate a highly virulent anthrax germ for installation in missile warheads. Their pharmaceutical infrastructure is fully integrated with their defense structure. Syrians cannot reach parity with US and Israeli conventional weapons. However, they view their bio-chemical arsenal as part of a normal weapons program. This is a huge shift in thinking by the Syrian military. It means they condone the use of biological pathogens as 'offensive' weapons. NATO and the United States should be very concerned about that re-designation.'
I'm more than a little stunned and dizzied by these things coming true now. Remember, Damascus will be destroyed, it will be a heap of ruins. (Isaiah 17:1).
"At evening time, behold, terror! Before morning, they are no more!" (Isaiah 17:14a)
Is now the time? Only the Lord knows. But the global concerns of Syria's open admission and the heinous threat from Damascus just brought us that much closer.