Syria Has the Largest and Most Advanced Chemical Weapons Stockpile in the Middle East
A front page WaPo article this morning warns that Syria has the largest confirmed stockpile of chemical weapons throughout the Middle East. Syria has repeatedly refused to sign the U.N. chemical weapons convention barring use of the weapons. The government of Syria's Bashar al Assad is estimated to have also amassed the most advanced chemical weapons including weaponized Sarin-based warheads. The newspaper citing the CIA as its source says most of Syria's current chemical arsenal was built by the Russians. Sarin was used by Japanese terrorists in a Tokyo subway in 1995 killing 13 people and blinding or sickening 1,000.
The WaPo's article is another article subtly supporting the Obama administration's cautious policy on the Syrian crackdown by pro-democracy demonstrators. Like most of the pro-democracy movements, President Obama has been slow to embrace the protests in Syria, although his Ambassador Robert Ford has bucked the regime by twice traveling to Syrian cities in support of the demonstrators.
The article warns that if Assad's regime falls there is the possibility the chemical depots could fall into terrorist hands. The article by Joby Warrick warns, "it is not inconceivable that weapons could vanish amid the chaos of an uprising that destroys Syria's vaunted security services, which safeguard munitions."
The CIA estimates that the regime has "tens of tons of highly lethal chemical agents and hundred of Scud missiles as well as lesser rockets, artillery rockets and bomblets for delivering the poisons."
The same security services have reportedly killed more than 2,000 civilians in the government's violent clampdown against protesters and their families.