Syria loads chemical weapons into bombs; military awaits Assad’s order

NBC News reports: The Syrian military is prepared to use chemical weapons against its own people and is awaiting final orders from President Bashar Assad, U.S. officials told NBC News on Wednesday.

The military has loaded the precursor chemicals for sarin, a deadly nerve gas, into aerial bombs that could be dropped onto the Syrian people from dozens of fighter-bombers, the officials said.

As recently as Tuesday, officials had said there was as yet no evidence that the process of mixing the “precursor” chemicals had begun. But Wednesday, they said their worst fears had been confirmed: The nerve agents were locked and loaded inside the bombs.

Sarin is an extraordinarily lethal agent. Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s forces killed 5,000 Kurds with a single sarin attack on Halabja in 1988.

U.S. officials stressed that as of now, the sarin bombs hadn’t been loaded onto planes and that Assad hadn’t issued a final order to use them. But if he does, one of the officials said, “there’s little the outside world can do to stop it.” [Continue reading...]

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Comments

  1. “U.S. officials told NBC News”

    What wouldn’t the government say to justify military action in Syria. This government “news” sounds all too familiar. Next there will be a speech by this administration’s “Rice” about mushroom clouds.

  2. 41,000 Syrians killed, 500,000 have fled to neighboring countries, and 2.5 million are internally displaced. And yet some observers think the U.S. government is still looking for justifications for military action?!

    It’s the exact opposite – a constant search for justifications for inaction.

    Pay attention to what is actually being said: Obama says the use of chemical weapons is a “red line” and his own officials are now saying there’s nothing the outside world can do to stop chemical weapons being used.

  3. -
    i think we need to be very careful here
    about who is doing what, to whom

    obviously from where i sit, i have few facts
    but the pattern is depressingly familiar
    -

  4. Much like in Libya, there would not have been such a dramatic increase in violence and death if outside forces (Saudi, Qatar, Turkey) didn’t recruit and arm mercenaries/Jihadis to interfer with the internal conflict. And implying that all the 41,000 deaths are all attributable to the Assad regime is disingenuous at best.

    Let’s wait and see how little “inaction” the U.S. is guilty of. We’ve transformed the CIA from primarily an intelligence agency into a paramilitary force and I suspect they are quite active in the Syrian war (it’s no longer primarily a civil war) much like their covert actions in Iran, which are not acknowledged.

    Obama’s “red line” is GWB’s WMD justifications and I guess we’re supposed to believe Obama (who on foreign policy is GWB on steroids) because he’s a Democrat. Sorry but I not longer respond to our government’s Pavlovian conditioning.

  5. The drum-roll warning about pretexts for military intervention in Syria started last year:

    May 3, 2011 – Fabricating a Pretext for a US-NATO ‘Humanitarian Intervention’;
    October 28, 2011 – Building a Pretext to Wage War on Syria: Hidden Agenda Behind UN Security Council Resolution;
    May 29, 2012 – The Houla Massacre as Pretext for Regime Change in Syria
    ;
    June 26, 2012 – War At Any Cost: Another Manufactured Pretext for War with Syria;
    July 27, 2012 – Turkey’s pursuit of Kurdish rebels: Pretext for NATO intervention in Syria?

    And those are just a handful of the predictions.

    Military intervention has never been removed from the proverbial table, but believe me, it has remained there not because there has been any shortage of pretexts for pulling the trigger. NATO intervention has thus far not materialized for an abundance of reasons — no one wants to get sucked into a quagmire; no one wants to see the war spread across borders; and with every Western economy struggling there is no way that the US or any other government could drum up popular support for such a war. That doesn’t make intervention impossible, but it does mean it remains what it always has been: a last resort.