April 27, 2005

Syria has WMD and connections to terrorists

Whether or not Iraqi WMDs were moved to Syria is the least of our worries. The Syrians produce their own WMD and they are not allies in the GWOT.

Does the ISG report really claim that there were no transfers of WMD from Iraq to Syria? No, it does not. What it does claim is that:

ISG judged that it was unlikely that an official transfer of WMD material from Iraq to Syria took place.
As we reported here last year, if WMD were moved they might have been moved to the Al Safir facility. So, is the ISG really suggesting they have inspected that chemical weapons plant? No. In fact, in an addendum to the report:
ISG was unable to complete its investigation and is unable to rule out the possibility that WMD was evacuated to Syria before the war
We've known for a long time that there is a strong connection between insurgents in Iraq and Syria. For instance, after the battle of Fallujah, a GPS unit was discovered in a terrorist safe-house with Syrian coordinates on it. Ansar al-Sunnah terrorists have confessed to recieving training from Syrian intelligence officers. Suspects in the Najaf bombing also confessed to having links to Syria. Photos have been found of insurgents with senior Syrian military officials. And Syrian fighters are routinely captured or killed in Iraq. Do a quick search for 'Syria' on my site and you'll see much, much more.

So what the ISG report tells us is simply, "we don't know". I am not claiming that Syria has Iraq's WMD nor am I claiming the Iraq actually had substantial amounts of WMD before the invasion. Just that 'we don't know', that is all.

But whether or not WMD were moved out of Iraq and into Syria is really the least of our worries. Why? Because Syria produces WMD and because at least some elements of the Syrian military and Baathist establishment are directly tied to the Iraqi insurgency.

For instance:

Since the 1970s Syria has pursued what is now one of the most advanced Arab state chemical weapons (CW) capabilities. It has a stockpile of the nerve agent sarin that can be delivered by aircraft or ballistic missiles, and has engaged in the research and development of more toxic and persistent nerve agents such as VX....

Syria has a combined total of several hundred Scud and SS-21 SRBMs, and is believed to have chemical warheads available for a portion of its Scud missile force. Syria has also developed a longer-range missile -- the Scud D -- with assistance from North Korea. Syria’s missiles are mobile and can reach much of Israel from positions near their peacetime garrisons and portions of Iraq, Jordan, and Turkey from launch sites well within the country. Damascus is pursuing both solid- and liquid-propellant missile programs and relies extensively on foreign assistance in these endeavors. North Korean and Iranian entities have been most prominent in aiding Syria’s recent ballistic missile development. Syrian regional concerns may lead Damascus to seek a longer range ballistic missile capability such as North Korea’s No Dong MRBM....

In addition, Syria is believed to be developing biological weapons.

So while the jury is still out on the Iraqi WMD question, let us not forget that the Syrian Baathists are in no way less dangerous. The point of the Iraqi WMD investigatioin is largely political: was the Iraq War justified? But that question is moot. The more pressing point is the extent to which present and future dangers are prepared for and met.

Captain Ed has more as does Jack Lewis.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 09:05 AM | Comments |