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WASHINGTON – It has been known for years by the U.S. intelligence community that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has considerable depots of chemical weapons which, combined with the SCUD-Ds, are meant to be used against Israel, according to a report from Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin.
However, a report by the James Martin Center for Non-proliferation Studies says that out of desperation he could use them against countries that assist the armed opposition in his country or countries which may harbor such fighters.
The report is titled "Assad's Toxic Assets."
He also could use them against any opposition strongholds within Syria or in countries where the opposition has sought sanctuary. The threat of al-Assad or even his brother, Maher, who controls a number of military units, using such strategy has been a factor in preventing Western military intervention until now.
Syrian army and Special Forces units under Maher's control reportedly are guarding CW facilities and munitions storage sites.
Just as al-Assad is Alawite, much of the officer corps is under Shi'ite-influenced Alawite control. Most of the enlisted personnel, however, are Sunni Islamic, as are the forces openly opposing al-Assad.
The report raises a number of possible scenarios, one of which is that the generals could use the chemical weapons without waiting for al-Assad's approval if the opposition becomes overwhelming.
"They could also be tempted to act pre-emptively, 'using them before losing them,'" the report said. "Furthermore, the moment the rebels decide to escalate and hit chemical sites, government forces might retaliate with force and use planes to deliver chemical agents by air."
The CW production facilities reportedly are near the cities of Aleppo, Damascus, Hama, Homs and Latakia.
"It is no wonder that President (Barack) Obama and his top military brass are extremely hesitant to use kinetic force or send weapons into Syria," the report said. "The country is a chemical powder keg ready to explode."
While the report said that the chemical weapons could be transferred to Iran for safekeeping, it didn't raise the prospect that Iran could dispatch elite Iranian Republican Guard Corps troops to Syria to guard the facilities. Sources suggest that members of the IRGC already are in Syria providing intelligence and specialized training to Syrian troops.
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