Assad: chemical weapons arsenal is a ‘burden’ — Syria has much more powerful weapons to defend itself against Israel

The Times of Israel reports: Syria has deterrent weapons, more advanced than anything in its chemical arsenal, that could blindside Israel in mere moments, Syrian President Bashar Assad claimed Thursday.

“Originally, we produced chemical weapons in the 1980s as a deterrent to Israel’s nuclear capabilities,” Assad said in an interview with the Hezbollah-affiliated, Lebanon-based Al-Akhbar newspaper, adding that “today, we have weapons that are far more important and sophisticated and that can blindside Israel in the blink of an eye.”

The Syrian president also charged that the West was not really concerned with stripping Syria of its weapons stockpile in order to safeguard the country’s civilians but, rather, that its goal was to tip the balance of power in the Middle East in Israel’s favor.

“They wanted to change the balance of power to protect Israel, but we turned the table on them and now the ball is in their court,” said Assad.

Referring to his regime’s chemical weapons arsenal, which, under a US-Russian agreement reached earlier this month, is due to be destroyed by mid-2014, Assad said that his stockpile, of about 1,000 tons, is a burden and will be costly and time-consuming to dispose of.

The Syrian president went on to mock President Barack Obama as “hesitant” and “weak.” He called the US administration’s handling of the threat to attack Syria — in response to the regime’s alleged chemical attack in Damascus on August 21 that killed over 1,400 people according to US officials — an “embarrassment.”

“The steps we’ve taken embarrassed the US government in the eyes of the American and European publics. Obama lost in his own home [turf]. where [he] lost the ability to maneuver internally,” Assad added. [Continue reading…]

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