Former Mossad Chief: Israel Must Prepare for Possible Military Action in Syria, Cites Bio-Chemical Threat
Former Mossad Chief Danny Yatom stressed today that Israel must be prepared for the possibility of military attacks on Syria, which may deteriorate into war as well. His warning stems from the fear that Syria’s hundreds of tons of chemical weapons will fall into the hands of terrorist groups, which frequently exhort their members to seek chemical weapons for aggression against Israel.
“The conventional wisdom should be that we cannot exclude a non-conventional attack on Israel.” said Yatom in an interview with British news network Sky News. “We would have to pre-empt in order to prevent it. We need to be prepared to launch even military attacks… and military attacks mean maybe a deterioration to war.”
Syria has numerous chemical weapons production sites, including Al Safiria and Lataka, and its combined output of bio-chemical arms, including mustard gas and the nerve gases VX and Sarin, has secured the country one of the largest stockpiles in the Middle East. Many dual-use civilian pharmaceutical laboratories also have the capabilities to produce bio-weapons, including anthrax and botulism. The successfully weaponized chemicals are installed into the heads of war-missiles, whose delivery systems can reach the entire Israel, said Sky News.
Syria’s bio- weapons are a potential threat to Israel because of Syria’s avowed support of the Lebanese Islamist movement Hezbollah. The fear is that the Syrian government under president Bashar al-Assad will supply terrorist groups with chemical weapons that can be used against Israel. Israeli officials are also concerned because of Syria’s political upheaval; a collapse like that of Libyan dictator Muamar Qaddafi of last year could allow Syrian rebels to access chemical weapons. Many storage and production sites are also located in suburbs of the nation’s capital, making them particularly vulnerable to seizure by dissidents.
The reports yield a bleak prognosis that is difficult to strategize against. Syria’s weapons are excessive in number, pervade the entire region, and are heavily defended by the Syrian army which is said to number 100,000 troops. According to a Pentagon study, uprooting Syria’s arsenal would require troops numbering 75,000.
“The truth is that no one has much of a clue what to do about Syria – it’s too well defended and too full of weapons of mass destruction to mean that there can be any meaningful military intervention. The Syrians may be doomed if Assad stays, and lots of others if he falls,” said one senior intelligence official in the region.