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Double standard: Disarming Syria puts Israel’s nuclear and chemical arsenal in the spotlight

Israel/Palestine
on 55 Comments

Last week on September 9, as a collective gasp of relief over the Russia-Syria deal could be heard around the world, Foreign Policy magazine published an article revealing a 1983 CIA intelligence document stating Israel likely had a stockpile of chemical and biological weapons at the Dimona Sensitive Storage Area in the Negev Desert.

As John Kerry meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Geneva today to discuss the dismantling of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile the Wall Street Journal spotlights a “ripple effect“, the focus on Israel’s nuclear program:

GENEVA—The joint U.S. Russian push to dismantle Syria’s chemical weapons is starting to have ripple effects, focusing attention on the suspected arsenal of Israel.

……

But a frequent complaint among Arab countries in the region—that Israel has an undeclared but presumed nuclear-weapons program—has already resurfaced.

Syria’s government has hinted that it could raise Israel’s suspected arsenal of nuclear and other weapons as an international issue and potentially a precondition for Damascus moving ahead on the destruction of what the U.S. estimates is at least 1,000 tons of chemical agents.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has publicly stated that Syria’s program was only necessary as a defense against Israel’s vastly superior firepower.

“It’s well known that Syria has a certain arsenal of chemical weapons and the Syrians always viewed that as an alternative [response] to Israel’s nuclear weapons,” he said Tuesday.

This position could place the Obama administration in a diplomatic corner……

“The main danger of WMD is the Israel nuclear arsenal,” Syria’s ambassador to the U.N., Bashar Ja’afari, told reporters on Thursday.

Mr. Ja’afari said Israel needed to place its suspected atomic weapons under international supervision and sign the nuclear nonproliferation treaty. He said Syria wasn’t making such actions by Israel a prerequisite for Syria moving ahead and destroying its chemical weapons, but said the world must also focus on the Israeli arsenals.

“Israel has chemical weapons and nobody is speaking about it,” he said.

LA Times reports Israel also facing questions about chemical weapons:

 Israel has cheered the Syrians’ promise to hand over their chemical weapons and sign the Chemical Weapons Convention, but it is increasingly worried that the international pressure building may soon focus on Israel, which has refused to ratify the treaty and is believed to possess chemical weapons.

Israel signed the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1993, but it never ratified the agreement.

Israeli officials insist that their government is willing to ratify the treaty, but only after others in the region follow suit. Syria and Egypt notably have refused to sign the accord outlawing the use of chemical weapons.

Israel’s regional enemies have insisted they need chemical weapons to counter the threat of the nuclear weapons Israel is believed to possess. No other Middle East nation is thought to have such an arsenal.

annie
About Annie Robbins

Annie Robbins is Editor at Large for Mondoweiss, a mother, a human rights activist and a ceramic artist. She lives in the SF bay area. Follow her on Twitter @anniefofani

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55 Responses

  1. James Canning
    James Canning
    September 14, 2013, 2:47 pm

    Time for Israel to get rid of CW (assuming Syria does). And get rid of nukes too.

    • weiss
      weiss
      September 15, 2013, 9:43 pm

      Agreed … Time to lead by example: Time for Israel to join the rest of the civilized world and Ratify the Chemical Weapons Treaty and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty … Unless of course it LIKES being in the same company as North Korea …

  2. American
    American
    September 14, 2013, 3:46 pm

    ”But a frequent complaint among Arab countries in the region—that Israel has an undeclared but presumed nuclear-weapons program—has already resurfaced.”‘

    Valid complaint.
    The nuke threat and it’s US umbrella is why Israel ‘gets away with’ Palestine, Gaza, bombing Lebanon as they did, bombing what they claimed was a nuke facility in Syria several yrs ago, and recently bombing inside Syria 4 times.

    It likely too much to hope that US tide against taking out Syria could turn into a real world wide demand to lock down Israel and everyone’s else chemicals and nukes in the ME. But the time is ripe if enough countries will push it.

  3. Justpassingby
    Justpassingby
    September 14, 2013, 3:48 pm

    Syria should have raised israeli wmd, but they didnt. Israel love it course.

    • annie
      annie
      September 14, 2013, 5:17 pm

      i urge everyone to open the links.

      “The main danger of WMD is the Israel nuclear arsenal,” Syria’s ambassador to the U.N., Bashar Ja’afari, told reporters on Thursday.

      Mr. Ja’afari said Israel needed to place its suspected atomic weapons under international supervision and sign the nuclear nonproliferation treaty. He said Syria wasn’t making such actions by Israel a prerequisite for Syria moving ahead and destroying its chemical weapons, but said the world must also focus on the Israeli arsenals.

      “Israel has chemical weapons and nobody is speaking about it,” he said.

      • Justpassingby
        Justpassingby
        September 15, 2013, 3:45 am

        Well I of course meant that Syria should have raised it in the deal itself.

      • Ecru
        Ecru
        September 15, 2013, 3:54 am

        Israel not only has CW it’s shown itself more than happy to use them against a civilian population. White Phosphorous – Gaza – Cast Lead.

  4. just
    just
    September 14, 2013, 4:19 pm

    It’s past time for Israel to be honest. It’s one of the more glaring hypocrisies that we have exhibited to the rest of the world… do they/we really think that the world is so STUPID? We’ve used nukes and chem weapons, the Israelis have used chem weapons and because of this crazy, insane relationship we are both held unaccountable……….. Arab regimes (and everybody else) know both nations to be hypocrites, belligerents and yes, liars. I hope with all my heart that the hypocrisy of our relationship becomes increasingly exposed and that we will seize the chance to “come clean”.

    Thanks, Annie, for this good news.

    • just
      just
      September 14, 2013, 4:39 pm

      And when will Netanyahu and Israel take responsibility for this?:

      “Netanyahu implicated in nuclear smuggling from U.S. — big story in Israel
      Philip Weiss on July 6, 2012 66

      The Israeli press is picking up Grant Smith’s revelation from FBI documents that Benjamin Netanyahu was part of an Israeli smuggling ring that spirited nuclear triggers out of the U.S. in the 80s and 90s.

      Arutz Sheva, the nationalist Israeli press:

      Declassified FBI documents from a 1985-2002 investigation implicate Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in an initiative to illegally purchase United States nuclear technology for Israel’s nuclear program.

      Netanyahu was allegedly helped by Arnon Milchan, a Hollywood producer with ties to Israeli prime ministers and U.S. presidents.

      The original story was broken by Grant Smith at antiwar.com, “Netanyahu worked inside nuclear smuggling ring”:

      On June 27, 2012, the FBI partially declassified and released seven additional pages [.pdf] from a 1985–2002 investigation into how a network of front companies connected to the Israeli Ministry of Defense illegally smuggled nuclear triggers out of the U.S.* The newly released FBI files detail how Richard Kelly Smyth — who was convicted of running a U.S. front company — met with Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel during the smuggling operation. At that time, Netanyahu worked at the Israeli node of the smuggling network, Heli Trading Company. Netanyahu, who currently serves as Israel’s prime minister, recently issued a gag order that the smuggling network’s unindicted ringleader refrain from discussing “Project Pinto.”

      The Hebrew paper Ma’ariv, in translation:

      According to FBI documents released by the United States, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was involved in smuggling in the 70s from the U.S. components of Israeli nuclear program, and assisted by the businessman Arnon Milchan, who according to previous publications was a former Mossad agent.

      The documents, declassified in part by the FBI after partial classification removed, describe the findings of the investigation has been performed between the years 1985 to 2002 on about how a network of front companies a U.S. security firm illegally smuggled equipment used for weapons seeds out of the U.S.”.

      http://mondoweiss.net/2012/07/netanyahu-implicated-in-nuclear-smuggling-from-u-s-big-story-in-israel.html

      How much more do we NOT know???

      • annie
        annie
        September 14, 2013, 5:39 pm

        just, we wrote more about project pinto at UN call on Israel to open its nuclear program is opposed by US

        http://mondoweiss.net/2012/12/un-call-on-israel-to-open-its-nuclear-program-is-opposed-by-us.html

        which includes a video interview w/grant smith and a Time Magazine blockquote, UN Calls on Israel to Open Nuclear Facilities, which delves a little into the conference to ban nuclear weapons in Helsinki, Finland, originally co-sponsored by the US. the US canceled tho, right after iran announced they were coming…(which i mention in the comment section: http://mondoweiss.net/2012/12/un-call-on-israel-to-open-its-nuclear-program-is-opposed-by-us.html/comment-page-1#comment-522613)

        it’s sort of funny, the US claimed they had already decided not to participate they just didn’t happen to say anything til after iran announced they were going. the UN went into gear after that.

        here’s from the first embed in the article:

        Hopes for such a meeting were alive as recently as Tuesday, when Iran joined Arab nations in saying that it planned to attend, leaving Israel as the only undecided country. Tehran’s announcement came at a Brussels seminar on a Mideast nuclear-free zone also attended by Israel and the Arab countries, and described as largely free of regional tensions. But the two diplomats said the decision to call off the Helsinki meeting had already been made by the time Iran declared Tuesday that it would attend.

        so obama backed out of his own conference because of???….humph.

      • just
        just
        September 14, 2013, 6:06 pm

        Holy moly, Annie– I missed that.

        I found this “interesting”:

        “All the Arab nations and Iran had planned to attend the conference in mid-December in Helsinki, Finland, but the United States announced on Nov. 23 that it wouldn’t take place, citing political turmoil in the region and Iran’s defiant stance on nonproliferation.”

        That’s all just krap! You are very polite when you write “humph”. The good news is that not only Israel, but also the US is being exposed. It’s kinda like the world just tilted 180 degrees. I like looking at the stars, moon, clouds and sun from this new angle! *}

      • annie
        annie
        September 14, 2013, 9:09 pm

        but the United States announced on Nov. 23 that it wouldn’t take place

        riiiiight. they announced it on the 23rd. but my first embed…to ‘the blaze’ /AP was dated on november 10th: http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2012/11/10/middle-east-nuke-talks-called-off-the-time-is-not-opportune/

        iow, the US didn’t announce it for 2 weeks. they were caught off guard iran was coming. the US was waiting on israel probably, who knows. but they didn’t want the official announcement to come out so close to iran joining the party. and interestingly, they did not mention what country ‘the diplomats’ came from, just “high-profile talks on the issue have been called off, diplomats said Saturday.”

        and then

        Its key sponsors were the U.S., Russia and Britain, but they said such as meeting was only possible if all countries – especially Israel -agreed to attend.

        iow, israel refused. and that saturday, nov 10th, israel was ‘otherwise engaged’, killing children: http://mondoweiss.net/2012/11/7-palestinians-including-3-children-killed-and-52-injured-as-israeli-attack-on-gaza-continues.html

        This summary from the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights gives details on all that have been killed so far, and clarifies that this recent round of violence began when 13-year-old Ahmed Younis Khader Abu Daqqa was killed on Thursday:

        Over the past 72 hours, the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) have escalated their aerial and ground attacks against the Gaza Strip. Five Palestinian civilians, including 3 children, have been killed, and 52 others, including 6 women and 12 children, have been wounded. Four of these deaths and 38 of the injuries resulted from an Israeli attack on a football playground in al-Shoja’iya neighborhood east of Gaza City. Additionally, 2 members of the Palestinian resistance were killed, and some civilian facilities were destroyed or damaged.

        According to investigations conducted by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), at approximately 15:30 on Saturday, 10 November 2012, Israeli military vehicles stationed at the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel fired an artillery shell at a number of Palestinian children who were playing football at al-Mentar Hill east of al-Shoja’iya neighborhood, which is east of Gaza City and nearly 1,500 meters away from the border. As a result, 2 children were instantly killed

        anyway…it was the beginning of the 2012 war on gaza. but this is equally as interesting, from the blaze/AP

        Hopes for such a meeting were alive as recently as Tuesday, when Iran joined Arab nations in saying that it planned to attend

        tuesday the 6th was the day obama won the election. iran joined the conference that day. remember the rumors obama had told iran, wait til after the elections…

  5. Citizen
    Citizen
    September 14, 2013, 4:31 pm

    Syria has maintained for many years, whenever pressure is put it to get rid of its CW stockpile (“the poor man’s WMD”), that it would gladly do so if Israel got rid of its nuclear WMD stockpile, the same one JFK was urgently trying to stop Israel from making when he lost his life. Assad will certainly bring that up, as well as Putin perhaps, in the near future. Not only has Israel never ratified the CW ban, but it’s not signatory to the NPT, so nobody can monitor it inspect for that dangerous asset, while in contrast, Iran has signed the NPT and, as we know the result of inspections has been it has not reached the enrichment stage to have “the bomb.” Both Assad and Putin would be dumb not to bring up Israel’s WMD & CW stockpiles when Obama puts his case before the UN SC.
    Just maybe, under the current situation, the main media will bring the double standard applied to Israel to the attention of Dick and Jane in view of the 80/20 grass roots protest against a strike on Syria, and the 100 to 1 calls against the strike that rang individual congress critter bells, calls often ignorant of AIPAC/ADL/Congress of Jewish Presidents/GOP Jewish branch full court press to strike Syria.

  6. Citizen
    Citizen
    September 14, 2013, 7:02 pm

    Update on Kerry as per JPost today:

    Kerry will travel to Jerusalem on Sunday for discussions with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Middle East peace talks as well as on Syria, the State Department announced on Friday.

    “The purpose of the visit is to have an in-depth discussion with the prime minister on the final status negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. “They will also focus on developments in Syria.”

    Kerry met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in London on Monday. He is currently in Geneva, holding talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Syria’s chemical weapons program.

    Kerry’s going to get his marching orders from Netanyahu?

    • just
      just
      September 15, 2013, 6:49 am

      Annie– thank you. The information that you’ve shared is mind- bending. So the “turmoil in the region” was the planned and murderous assault on Gaza by Israel.

      A football field and children playing…seems that Israel never takes time to make peace, only war– and we enable them! What harm was/is it to sit down and listen and talk with others in front of all of the participants? Why, would the flagrant hypocrisy be there for all to see?

      • NickJOCW
        NickJOCW
        September 15, 2013, 10:31 am

        What harm? It is perhaps an emotional predicament, somewhat like a captain going down with his ship rather than survive the indignity of having to live with its loss. I doubt Netanyahu et al could live with themselves in a world where Israel disarmed, retired to its borders, treated the indigenous people with respect, and took their modest peaceful place in the world. Just think of the baggage they would have to discard and the unrelenting light that would shine on their past attitudes and actions. I don’t think they are capable of it. The Israeli electorate will have to vote them out, and I suppose that is what BDS is for.

  7. JustJessetr
    JustJessetr
    September 14, 2013, 8:15 pm

    “Syria’s government has hinted that it could raise Israel’s suspected arsenal of nuclear and other weapons as an international issue and potentially a precondition for Damascus moving ahead on the destruction of what the U.S. estimates is at least 1,000 tons of chemical agents.”

    Sounds like Assad’s trying to wiggle out of it already.

    I would start worrying about Israel using chemical weapons once it starts using them, or some crackpot steals them and unleashes them.

    Assad may or may not be to blame for the CW use on his own turf, but someone is using his CW, and therefore his stockpiles are not secure at best. At worst, he was the one using them. We’ll never know for sure, but Assad saying, “Hey we’re not so bad, Israel has CW too” is the same argument no one here accepts when Zionists say, “Hey we’re not so bad, look at how brutal other countries treat their own minorities.”

    • annie
      annie
      September 14, 2013, 9:36 pm

      I would start worrying about Israel using chemical weapons once it starts using them

      how do you know they haven’t already? and do you feel that way about their nukes too? is there anyone else’s nukes and CWs you feel like that about, or just israel’s?

      Assad may or may not be to blame for the CW use on his own turf, but someone is using his CW

      how do you know? was there a signature attached?

      • JustJessetr
        JustJessetr
        September 15, 2013, 4:25 pm

        @Ecru:”…and it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if some of the chemical weapons used in Syria originated in Israeli labs.”

        Your speculation is noted, and dismissed without a shred of proof.

        @Ecru: “…I live in Europe, within striking distance of the Middle East, and the idea of an Iranian nuke or other WMD’s scares me a LOT less than the idea of Israeli ones.”

        This is one of the more ridiculous comments I’ve ever read on MW. The idea of anyone using nukes scares me. Are you implying Israel is more likely to use them? Israel is no friend of its neighbors, but it’s government doesn’t threatan to use nuclear weapons, or even “wipe [fill-in-the-blank] from the map.”, implying their eventual usage. So I’m more certain that someone else, likely an extremist Muslim, will use a nuclear weapon before Israel would.

        @Annie: “how do you know they [Israel] haven’t already [used CW]?”

        This is the argument of a child.

      • annie
        annie
        September 15, 2013, 6:11 pm

        This is the argument of a child.

        so, that would be a ‘no’, you don’t know.

        So I’m more certain that someone else, likely an extremist Muslim, will use a nuclear weapon before Israel would.

        This is the argument of a racist. and never mind iran not only has no nuclear weapons program they have not invaded anyone for hundreds of years, unlike israel. yawn.

      • JustJessetr
        JustJessetr
        September 15, 2013, 10:11 pm

        “This is the argument of a racist”.
        What does race have to do with it? I’m talking religion. Oh, I forgot. Throwing the term “racist” around trumps everything. I guess I’ll go cry in a corner because you called me a bad name.

        Anyway, the Pakistani Taliban make no secret of wanting to acquire and use Pakistan’s nuclear weapons for the glory of Islam. If anyone are extremists they are. They weren’t born of an oppressed peoples, they don’t represent an oppressed peoples, they ARE opressors, and they want everyone to live under a strict code of Islam. They don’t let women go to school. They butcher journalists. Sounds extremist to me.

        Finally, don’t put words in my mouth. I didn’t answer ‘no’. I didn’t answer ‘yes’. I answered, “It’s the argument of a child.” Which I will translate instead of you. “It’s the argument of a child and not worth answering.”

        Yawn.

      • Ecru
        Ecru
        September 17, 2013, 2:13 am

        @ JustJessetr

        Are you implying Israel is more likely to use them?

        Yes. Look at what happened in 1973 when Israel actually began preparations for using nuclear weapons. Then there’s the good old “Samson Option” where if Israel is loosing a war with X it threatens to nuke Y and Z as well – just for spite.

        it’s government doesn’t threatan to use nuclear weapons, or even “wipe [fill-in-the-blank] from the map.”

        See above – 1973. Also that quote about “wiping blah blah” was never made. Wiping a regime from the pages of time was. Totally different meaning, unless Iraq has suddenly ceased to exist in your atlas. It’s still there on mine. It’s even still there on Google Earth. Added to which while Israel has indeed not threatened such “wiping” to my recollection it hardly need to when it’s been busy these past 70 years ACTUALLY wiping Palestinians off the map.

      • talknic
        talknic
        September 17, 2013, 2:49 am

        @ JustJessetr

        “Your speculation is noted, and dismissed without a shred of proof”

        As is Netanyahu’s Red Line and idiotic rhetoric on Iran’s alleged nukes. Accusations are not evidence either.

        ///“…I live in Europe, within striking distance of the Middle East, and the idea of an Iranian nuke or other WMD’s scares me a LOT less than the idea of Israeli ones.”///

        “This is one of the more ridiculous comments I’ve ever read on MW”

        Mmmm…. let’s see..

        ” Israel is no friend of its neighbors, but it’s government doesn’t threatan to use nuclear weapons”

        Uh? It is illogical, like all Hasbara nonsense. Having nukes IS a threat to use them. Otherwise there’s absolutely no point in having nukes.

      • JustJessetr
        JustJessetr
        September 17, 2013, 10:39 am

        @talknic: “Uh? It is illogical, like all Hasbara nonsense. Having nukes IS a threat to use them. Otherwise there’s absolutely no point in having nukes”.

        Let me guess, this particular statement only applies to Israel. NOT to Pakistan, Iran (who is building them), Russia, North Korea, or the US. Israel is the ONLY country we should suspect of one day using nuclear weapons simply because they have them. Right?

      • Ecru
        Ecru
        September 17, 2013, 3:49 pm

        @JustJessetr
        Israel is the ONLY country we should suspect of one day using nuclear weapons simply because they have them.

        No, Israel’s actually threatened to use them. 1973 remember. Pakistan’s scary too as is North Korea for exactly the same reasons. And like North Korea, Israel’s xenophobic paranoia doesn’t exactly fill people with confidence either.

        Oh and no intelligence agency actually believes Iran is building nukes. You really need to stop reading those Likud press releases….

      • JustJessetr
        JustJessetr
        September 15, 2013, 4:30 pm

        “how do you know? was there a signature attached?”

        No, but CW aren’t easily smuggled or even transported. Sarin gas? Who else in the region is known to have it?

        Besides, whether Assad used it or not is of less concern to me than who is in charge in Syria. I’d rather Assad be in charge because who ever wants him out will be religious extremists, not democratic-minded activists, and would definitely use the CWs indiscriminately and sell it off to anyone interested. Moralizing about who is better or worse in Syria is useless, I’m rooting for who can keep things more under control.

      • just
        just
        September 15, 2013, 6:13 pm

        Uh– maybe, just maybe, Israel has the Sarin.

        “Israel is believed to have secretly built up its own stockpile of chemical and biological weapons decades ago, reports Foreign Policy, citing a recently unearthed CIA document.

        American surveillance satellites uncovered in 1982 “a probable CW [chemical weapon] nerve agent production facility and a storage facility… at the Dimona Sensitive Storage Area in the Negev Desert,” states the secret 1983 CIA intelligence estimate obtained by Foreign Policy (FP). “Other CW production is believed to exist within a well-developed Israeli chemical industry,” the document adds. ”

        http://rt.com/news/israel-chemical-weapons-sarin-714/

      • JustJessetr
        JustJessetr
        September 15, 2013, 10:18 pm

        Yes, it’s likely that Israel has CW, but it still makes no sense that Israel would meddle in Syria’s civil war. MW even published an article proving it only a few days ago, saying, “Well, you know the first thing is to understand why Israel had been so reluctant to come out in support of the war in Syria.”, much to the chagrin of all the experts around here.

        http://mondoweiss.net/2013/09/a-disaster-anyway-we-cut-it-phyllis-bennis-on-the-folly-of-u-s-strikes-on-syria.html

        And while I think the use of phosphorous on Gaza should be stopped immediately, my guess is that legally speaking, phosphorous is not classified as a CW and therefore Israel isn’t using CW. Not that a semantic difference should make any difference in anyone’s mind.

        So that you bring up Israel as some kind of guilty party in the use or distribution of CW just doesn’t hold water. Or make any sense. They international community would be all over it like flies on shit. If the US public held the US government back from invading Syria, then the so-called Zionist Lobby can’t be all that strong. The EU would sense that and immediately condemn Israel as strongly as anyone for use of CW. They haven’t.

      • ritzl
        ritzl
        September 15, 2013, 7:23 pm

        @Annie MRW wrote this comment a few months ago. It was thouroughly researched and showed Israel using nukes as leverage to get what it wanted from us for its wars. We were at Defcon 5 due to an Israeli threat to use nuclear weapons to start WWIII.

        http://mondoweiss.net/2013/07/kissinger-complained-of-jewish-lobby-but-yielded-to-israeli-ambassadors-threat-of-mutiny-by-american-jews-and-press-during-73-war.html/comment-page-1#comment-576147

        People should be very afraid of Israel. They seem to have no qualms about first use of nuclear weapons to get what they want.

        I bet they have even fewer qualms about using chemical weapons. Oh wait, they already have (in Gaza).

        Assad and Putin are absolutely right about including Israel in the scope of this agreement. I hope they press the case.

    • Ecru
      Ecru
      September 15, 2013, 4:07 am

      In 1973 American intelligence showed that Israel was readying its nukes for an attack on Egypt and Syria – the Israeli’s used the threat to blackmail the USA into helping them. In 2008/2009 Israel used CW’s to attack civilian populations in Gaza and UN facilities. Israel has repeatedly shown it has zero regard for civilian casualties – just so long as those casualties aren’t Jewish. And even there the odd “martyr” or two is grist for the Zionist mill.

      Israel also has a long and inglorious history of false-flag operations against enemies and allies alike and it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if some of the chemical weapons used in Syria originated in Israeli labs.

      I live in Europe, within striking distance of the Middle East, and the idea of an Iranian nuke or other WMD’s scares me a LOT less than the idea of Israeli ones.

      • Sammar
        Sammar
        September 15, 2013, 7:45 am

        Ecru

        I live IN the Middle East and the idea of an Iranian nuke or other WMDs scares me also a LOT less than the idea of Israeli ones;)

        I am not aware that Iran has ever used chemical weapons or attacked anyone – can’t say the same about Israel.

      • Cliff
        Cliff
        September 15, 2013, 9:37 am

        Where are you from? What is your background?

        Anyway, you ‘fear’ is politically motivated and the people of the region outside of Jewish colonists are not fear-mongerers when it comes to Iran (as you are).

      • JustJessetr
        JustJessetr
        September 15, 2013, 10:30 pm

        Except for Saudi Arabia, and Turkey. Do they count?

      • Ecru
        Ecru
        September 16, 2013, 2:40 am

        @Cliff

        Uhm. How exactly am I a fear-monger when it comes to Iran? I honestly have NO idea how you come to that conclusion from what I wrote above. None.

      • Ecru
        Ecru
        September 17, 2013, 1:52 am

        OK I’ll try again

        Turkey doesn’t bother me in the least, Erdogan may be an objectionable authoritarian piece of **** but he’s not Turkey.

        Saudi Arabia on the other hand does bother me, it’s a repressive regime that has successfully exported its problems to other nations (Egypt, Syria, Afghanistan) using a rather vile school of Islamic thought that the House of Saud has been in cahoots with since the 18th Century. There have also been claims by the people of Ghouta that the gas used in that attack was from the Saudis so that’s something else to worry about.

    • Justpassingby
      Justpassingby
      September 15, 2013, 10:14 am

      Lol of course you dont fear israeli wmd, you support Israel!

    • Hostage
      Hostage
      September 15, 2013, 10:33 am

      “Hey we’re not so bad, Israel has CW too” is the same argument no one here accepts when Zionists say, “Hey we’re not so bad, look at how brutal other countries treat their own minorities.”

      That’s not really the case. A signatory to a treaty that has entered into force, like the CW treaty, still has legal obligations to the international community. It cannot rely on ambiguity. That’s true whether it finally decides to ratify the treaty or not. Here is how the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties describes the situation:

      Article 18
      Obligation not to defeat the object and purpose
      of a treaty prior to its entry into force

      A State is obliged to refrain from acts which would defeat the object and purpose of a treaty when:

      (a) it has signed the treaty or has exchanged instruments constituting the treaty subject to ratification, acceptance or approval, until it shall have made its intention clear not to become a party to the treaty; or

      (b) it has expressed its consent to be bound by the treaty, pending the entry into force of the treaty and provided that such entry into force is not unduly delayed.

      http://untreaty.un.org/ilc/texts/instruments/english/conventions/1_1_1969.pdf

    • annie
      annie
      September 15, 2013, 1:26 pm

      surprise suprise, haaretz: Will Kerry ask Israel to ratify chemical weapons treaty, with Syria plan afoot? http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.546990

      Kerry may tell Netanyahu the United States is working to remove one of the gravest threats on Israel’s security, by combining a credible military threat with creative diplomacy. Now, Kerry may say, the U.S. needs Israel’s help by ratifying the treaty prohibiting the use of chemical weapons.

      Presumably, senior officials in the Prime Minister’s Office have been playing this scenario in their heads in recent days.

      After Foreign Policy magazine last week published documents from the CIA archive about Israel’s chemical weapons program, the Foreign Ministry began preparing for the possibility that the international media would raise the issue.

      The ministry distributed a short set of guidelines to embassies abroad. Due to the issue’s sensitivity, the diplomats were instructed to use the guidelines only if specifically asked about the matter.

      In the last few days, the Syrian regime has intimated that, in addition to its willingness to get rid of its chemical weapons, Israel own stockpile of chemical weapons (according to foreign media) must also be discussed.

      • just
        just
        September 15, 2013, 1:33 pm

        Well, well, well.

        Is it too early to yell “hip, hip, hooray!”? Will Mr. Kerry do his job and represent our national security interests and international law?

        “senior officials in the Prime Minister’s Office have been playing this scenario in their heads in recent days.”

        What a deserved headache for these officials…..

  8. just
    just
    September 15, 2013, 7:20 am

    ugh:

    “The Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has given a guarded response to the agreement brokered by the US and Russia to disarm Syria of its chemical weapons, stating that it must be judged on whether it eliminated Bashar al-Assad’s arsenal in its entirety.

    Netanyahu was speaking before a planned meeting with the US secretary of state, John Kerry, who has flown into Israel to brief him on the deal he reached with the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, in Geneva on Saturday.

    “We hope the understandings reached between the United States and Russia regarding the Syrian chemical weapons will yield results,” said Netanyahu in a speech at a military memorial ceremony.

    “These understandings will be judged on their results – the complete destruction of all of the chemical weapons stockpiles that the Syrian regime has used against its own people.”

    Israel, which is still technically at war with Syria, has been accused by both the Assad regime and Iran of using the conflict to further its own ends in the region. Israel’s president, Shimon Peres, said the possibility of US military action if the plan fails should “teach a lesson” to Iran.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/15/israel-cautious-welcome-syria-chemical-weapons

  9. just
    just
    September 15, 2013, 8:21 am

    Stuart Littlewood:

    “We all know that Israel is evasive about its nuclear weapons program. But there can be no sensible discussion about Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons plans (and certainly no saber-rattling or other silly threats) without factoring-in Israel’s already established nuke stockpile and delivery systems. Why is the Israeli situation so ‘unmentionable’? Let’s take the lid off, so the UK public can have a good look and be aware of the stark facts.”

    and

    “I also took up with the MP the chemical weapons issue and the allegations against the Assad regime in Syria – in particular the West’s threat of punitive action and foreign secretary William Hague attempt to mislead the country with this statement on the Foreign Office website.

    “This is the first use of chemical warfare in the 21st century. It has to be unacceptable, we have to confront something that is a war crime, something that is a crime against humanity. If we don’t do so, then we will have to confront even bigger war crimes in the future.

    “So we continue to look for a strong response from the international community that is legal, that is proportionate and that is designed to deter the further and future use of chemical weapons…. It’s very important for a regime like the Assad regime to know that there is a clear response when they cross such an important line. As I say, this is the first use of chemical warfare in this century.”

    Hague knows, or should do, that white phosphorus was used by Israel against the densely-packed civilian population of Gaza in 2008/9. “We didn’t hear him or Cameron or Burt urging punitive strikes against Tel Aviv,” I said to Mr Bellingham. “As they now crank up talk of military intervention in Syria we’re told that Syria has not signed the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), as if that settles any doubt about Assad’s culpability. But neither has Egypt and she still receives massive military aid from the US.”

    The CWC declares that “all States Parties have agreed to chemically disarm by destroying any stockpiles of chemical weapons they may hold and any facilities which produced them, as well as any chemical weapons they abandoned on the territory of other States Parties in the past.”

    The Israeli regime still hasn’t ratified the treaty, showing the same contempt for chemical weapons control as for nuclear non-proliferation. The US is a signatory but also a major violator of the CWC while Israel won’t open its chemical weapons facilities (or nuclear programs) to international inspection.

    Chemical weapons claims

    As for claims that Assad used chemical weapons last month against civilians, incontrovertible evidence seems hard to come by and the UN inspectors’ findings are awaited, so the jury is still out on who was responsible for the atrocity. Many people suspect that the real ‘axis of evil’ – i.e. the US, Saudi Arabia and Israel – are the likely perpetrators. After all, they are the region’s chief troublemakers. And Israel has appalling ‘form’.

    In its 1982 war on Lebanon an international commission concluded that the Israelis “committed acts of aggression contrary to international law”, that the government of Israel had no valid reasons for invading Lebanon, and that Israel was responsible for the killings in Sabra and Shatila, which the United Nations General Assembly declared an act of genocide.

    In Israel’s 2006 war on Lebanon, Amnesty International noted the destruction of entire civilian neighbourhoods by Israeli forces, attacks on bridges with no apparent strategic value, and attacks on infrastructure indispensable to the survival of the civilian population. AI also highlighted the IDF’s use of white phosphorus shells (a crime repeated in Gaza in 2008/9). After the ceasefire some parts of southern Lebanon were uninhabitable for a long time due to unexploded cluster bombs left lying around by the Israelis.

    All this I put to Mr Bellingham and asked him: “Would you please put another Parliamentary Question, this time requesting British and allied intelligence assessments of Israel’s chemical weapons capability and asking what pressure is being exerted to persuade the Israeli regime to ratify the CWC and open itself to international inspection? The same question should also be raised about Saudi Arabia as that obnoxious regime actually signed the CWC. Then we might all begin to see the picture more clearly.”

    The public are becoming increasingly aware that Prime Minister Cameron and foreign secretary Hague are both fervent members of Conservative Friends of Israel, Hague since he was 15. Cameron is a self-declared Zionist and both have pledged undying love for Israel no matter what. Middle East minister Alistair Burt, was an officer of the party’s Friends of Israel lobby group.

    They appear to have formed a defensive shield around that regime and seem determined to keep a lid firmly on inconvenient truths.

    All three were happily gung-ho for war in Iraq, according to theyworkforyou.com, and their latest headlong rush to intervene militarily in Syria – now happily thwarted by Parliament – raises questions that will have to be answered on Judgement Day, if not before.”

    http://english.alarabiya.net/en/views/2013/09/13/What-about-Israel-s-chemical-weapons-.html

  10. James Canning
    James Canning
    September 15, 2013, 2:27 pm

    @Just – – William Hague came into the Foreign Office with an intention of improving Britain’s relations with Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas. He is not a stooge of the Israel lobby.

    • just
      just
      September 15, 2013, 4:03 pm

      You know, James– he appears to be just a useful stooge to me.

      I’m sorry, but anyone who won the support of Thatcher is suspect, imho.

      I would like to believe that he wants to improve relations with Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas…….I guess I’ll wait and see along with the rest of the world….

      • just
        just
        September 15, 2013, 4:31 pm

        And, there is the old saying that ‘ the road to hell is paved with good intentions’.

      • James Canning
        James Canning
        September 15, 2013, 7:06 pm

        @Just – – Hague’s plans were wrecked by events. One of which was Iran’s announcement of intent to treble production of uranium enriched to 20 percent. Which in turn apparently helped to bring about civil war in Syria (due to fear aroused in some very important Gulf Arabs, that Iran would bring war to the Gulf).

    • crone
      crone
      September 15, 2013, 6:24 pm

      Really…

      Stuart Littlewood says:

      “… The public are becoming increasingly aware that Prime Minister Cameron and foreign secretary Hague are both fervent members of Conservative Friends of Israel, Hague since he was 15. Cameron is a self-declared Zionist and both have pledged undying love for Israel no matter what. Middle East minister Alistair Burt, was an officer of the party’s Friends of Israel lobby group. ”

      http://english.alarabiya.net/en/views/2013/09/13/What-about-Israel-s-chemical-weapons-.html

  11. Obsidian
    Obsidian
    September 15, 2013, 2:37 pm

    So the responsible gun owner is on par with the gun owner who deliberately uses his gun to shoot and kill innocents.

    Interesting.

  12. just
    just
    September 15, 2013, 3:37 pm

    Can someone please explain just wth this means?

    “Barack Obama on Sunday sought to shore up the potency of American deterrence in the Middle East, warning Iran that he was still prepared to take military action against the Iranian nuclear programme, which the president described as “much closer to our core interests” than Syria’s chemical weapons.”

    I mean REALLY???

    And then:

    “In the same interview, Obama also urged the Iranian leadership not to draw the wrong lessons from his decision to draw back from air strikes on Syria in pursuit of a diplomatic solution to the chemical weapons crisis. He said it showed that it was possible to resolve the stand-off over Iran’s nuclear aspirations peacefully, but insisted it did not indicate a weakening of US resolve to stop the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

    “I think what the Iranians understand is that – the nuclear issue – is a far larger issue for us than the chemical weapons issue, that – the threat against Iran – against Israel, that a nuclear Iran poses, is much closer to our core interests. That – a nuclear arms race in the region – is something that would be profoundly destabilising,” the president said in an ABC interview recorded on Friday, before a final Syria deal with Russia was struck in Geneva.

    “My suspicion is that the Iranians recognise they shouldn’t draw a lesson that we haven’t struck to think we won’t strike Iran,” Obama said, in remarks that may also have been intended as a reassurance to Israel that US deterrence against any Iranian attempt to build nuclear weapons had not been weakened.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/15/barack-obama-warns-iran-us-military-action

    • Bumblebye
      Bumblebye
      September 15, 2013, 5:08 pm

      The whole story moves further along – now there’s the potential for a meeting at the UN between US and Iranian leaders:
      “US officials were sceptical about a Rouhani meeting, but some observers said the Geneva deal on Syria’s chemical weapons has opened new space for global diplomacy.

      Trita Parsi, head of the National Iranian American Council and an expert on US-Iran diplomacy, said “I think there is a chance [of a meeting]. It would be a strong political push for movement. If Obama got involved, it would be the infusion of political will needed to reach an agreement.”

      But:

      “Parsi added that if Obama was to meet Rouhani it was likely to be an orchestrated encounter in a corridor, rather than a sit-down talk, “to give both sides deniability”. The last encounter between an American and Iranian leader was when Jimmy Carter met the Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, in 1977.”

      http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/15/obama-rouhani-united-nations-meeting

    • James Canning
      James Canning
      September 15, 2013, 7:09 pm

      @Just – – An explanation: some foolish commentators and American politicians argued that Obama’s failure to attack Syria meant his assurances to Israel that Iran would not be allowed to build nukes, were of little value. Obama apparently felt the need to quash this silly notion.

  13. American
    American
    September 15, 2013, 4:59 pm

    For those interested in the case for One State–(also mentions locking down Isr nukes)….pretty good conclusions
    Zionist must have had a phone tree alert going for this artcle–they are all over the comment section howling like vampires caught in the sunlght.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/15/opinion/sunday/two-state-illusion.html?pagewanted=all

    Opinion
    Two-State Illusion
    By IAN S. LUSTICK
    Published: September 14, 2013

    (excerpts)
    In 1980, I was a 30-year-old assistant professor, on leave from Dartmouth at the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research. I was responsible for analyzing Israeli settlement and land expropriation policies in the West Bank and their implications for the “autonomy negotiations” under way at that time between Israel, Egypt and the United States. It was clear to me that Prime Minister Menachem Begin’s government was systematically using tangled talks over how to conduct negotiations as camouflage for de facto annexation of the West Bank via intensive settlement construction, land expropriation and encouragement of “voluntary” Arab emigration.

    To protect the peace process, the United States strictly limited its public criticism of Israeli government policies, making Washington an enabler for the very processes of de facto annexation that were destroying prospects for the full autonomy and realization of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people that were the official purpose of the negotiations. This view was endorsed and promoted by some leading voices within the administration. Unsurprisingly, it angered others. One day I was summoned to the office of a high-ranking diplomat, who was then one of the State Department’s most powerful advocates for the negotiations. He was a man I had always respected and admired. “Are you,” he asked me, “personally so sure of your analysis that you are willing to destroy the only available chance for peace between Israelis and Palestinians?” His question gave me pause, but only briefly. “Yes, sir,” I answered, “I am.”

    I still am. Had America blown the whistle on destructive Israeli policies back then it might have greatly enhanced prospects for peace under a different leader. It could have prevented Mr. Begin’s narrow electoral victory in 1981 and brought a government to power that was ready to negotiate seriously with the Palestinians before the first or second intifada and before the construction of massive settlement complexes in the West Bank. We could have had an Oslo process a crucial decade earlier. Now, as then, negotiations are phony; they suppress information that Israelis, Palestinians and Americans need to find noncatastrophic paths into the future. The issue is no longer where to draw political boundaries between Jews and Arabs on a map but how equality of political rights is to be achieved…”

  14. just
    just
    September 15, 2013, 5:27 pm

    ““Parsi added that if Obama was to meet Rouhani it was likely to be an orchestrated encounter in a corridor”

    I hope that the oboes get a chance to be heard before the US starts with the old melody for strings — you know, “poor us, we tried– we really did” followed by the loud and abrasive percussion section that accompanies war that we and our ally starts or foments, seemingly all of the time!

  15. Bumblebye
    Bumblebye
    September 15, 2013, 5:37 pm

    Sometimes what passes for diplomacy seems to have all the finesse of a bunch of teens in a school hallway!

    • piotr
      piotr
      September 15, 2013, 10:54 pm

      The possibility of being personally beaten up may hone diplomatic skills above the level attained by nabobs living secure life.

  16. piotr
    piotr
    September 15, 2013, 6:35 pm

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/15/domenico-quirico-my-hostage-ordeal

    A journalist kidnapped by moderate rebels described his experiences:

    The leader of the group holding us was a self-appointed “emir” who liked to be addressed as Abu Omar, a nickname. He had formed his brigade by taking people from the area, mostly bandits rather than Islamists or revolutionaries. Abu Omar gave an Islamic gloss to the criminal activities of his band and had links with al-Farouk, the group that then took control of us. Al-Farouk is a well-known brigade in the Syrian revolution, part of the Syrian National Council, and its representatives have held meetings with European governments. The west trusts them, but I learned to my cost that we are talking about a new and disturbing phenomenon in the revolt: the emergence of groups of Somali-style bandits who use an Islamic veneer and the context of the revolution to control pieces of territory, extort money from the population, kidnap people and generally fill their boots.

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