Labels on some WMD containers read “If found, please return to IRAQ, c/o Saddam Hussein, Palace #12, City of Babylon, Iraq.”
Just kidding about the “if found” label, but there has always been speculation – even from high ranking U.S. generals – some WMDs were moved by truck or air into Syria prior to Operation Iraqi Freedom, which included a multi-national force with troops from 40 different countries.
Some remnants of WMDs were found in Iraq, but not the quantity expected by the United Nations and the multi-national force. I know it drives you Bush hating-liberals mad when I bring up these facts 😉
Anyway. The Drudge Report is highlighting a story written by Josh Rogin on ForeignPolicy.com noting the State Department has been quietly reaching out to the neighbors of Syria concerning a sticky situation that might come up. Syria you see, happens to have a substantial chemical weapons program and the State Department thinks cohorts of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad might try to move stock piles out of Syria and into Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Jordan or Lebanon if and when Assad’s regiem begins to collapse.
Well I’ll be…
This week, the State Department sent a diplomatic demarche to Syria’s neighbors Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia, warning them about the possibility of Syria’s WMDs crossing their borders and offering U.S. government help in dealing with the problem, three Obama administration officials confirmed to The Cable. For concerned parties both inside and outside the U.S. government, the demarche signifies that the United States is increasingly developing plans to deal with the dangers of a post-Assad Syria — while simultaneously highlighting the lack of planning for how to directly bring about Assad’s downfall.
Syria is believed to have a substantial chemical weapons program, which includes mustard gas and sophisticated nerve agents, such as sarin gas, as well as biological weapons. Syria has also refused IAEA requests to make available facilities that were part of its nuclear weapons program and may still be in operation.
The State Department declined to provide access to any officials to discuss the private diplomatic communication on the record, such as the author of the demarche Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation Tom Countryman. In a meeting with reporters earlier this year, Countryman expressed confidence that the United States knows where Syria’s WMD stockpiles are, but warned that they could become a very serious security issue for Syria and the region going forward.
“We have ideas as to the quantity and we have ideas as to where they are,” Countryman said. “We wish some of the neighbors of Syria to be on the lookout… When you get a change of regime in Syria, it matters what are the conditions — chaotic or orderly.”