Amid heightened fears that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is preparing to launch chemical attacks against rebel forces, new concerns have emerged. Several sources say that Syrian officials have alerted the UN that "terrorists" may be planning to use chemical Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) against the Syrian civilian population.
Several reports have come from the region concerning various organizations operating in Syria. Lebanon'sis reportedly actively assisting Assad forces, and the global terror organization Al-Qaida is said to be helping the rebels. Additionally, is supposedly involved in the conflict supporting opposition forces. Most interesting are reports that Israeli forces are covertly involved and US assets are conducting operations alongside or in conjunction with Syrian rebels.
Israel has denied involvement other than as an observer in order to protect its people should Assad place his chemical cross-hairs over Israeli territory. The US also denied direct involvement as well but said that if Assad attempts to deploy WMDs, it would act to prevent it. However, state-run Iranian news agency FARS alleges that the American CIA is supporting rebel forces and even said that Tehran has obtained documents to support these claims. It additionally echoed Syrian allegations that the US is using the chemical threat as a pretext to invade Syria; citing a report from the UK's Guardian.
Meanwhile, there is the interesting but unconfirmed report from Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Seyasseh that the Syrian government may be seeking aid from the Iranian Quds Force to field its chemical weapons.
With so many different organizations rumored to be operating in and around Syria, these allegations bring up the very important question of exactly who these "terrorists" could be that Syria is referring to.
There appears to be a race to capture Syrian chemical stockpiles between several organizations. Conversely, Assad could also be planning to attack civilians and accuse rebel forces.
This brings up the question of which entity would benefit from unleashing a chemical attack against civilians.
Hezbollah - If Hezbollah gains possession of chemical stockpiles, how would launching an attack on Syrians further its purpose?
Although Hezbollah is reportedly supporting the Assad government, it would gain no apparent tactical advantage by attacking civilians. It would make more sense for it to use the weapons on rebel positions instead. Also with its current position in Lebanon it seems more likely they would use the weapons to attempt to shift the balance of power in the region in their favor.
Israel has promised to act if Syria supplies WMDs to Hezbollah or if it obtains them otherwise.
Hamas - Another enemy of Israel, but Hamas has reportedly sided with rebel factions. Hamas perhaps may have a reason to conduct a false flag operation using chemicals on civilians and making it appear that it was the work of a desperate Assad. If Hamas could accomplish this feat and convince allied forces the Syrian government did it, this would certainly help their aims to overthrow Assad.
However, as far as it is known, Hamas does not possess any chemical armaments. Where would it acquire the weapons if all Syrian weapons remain secure? There are no reports of any Syrian chemical depots being compromised.
Al-Qaida - Yet another group purported to be operating within Syria according to intelligence sources. The global terror organization is believed to be supporting at least one rebel faction in the fight against the Syrian regime. The faction it is supporting is a direct offshoot from the Iraqi Al-Qaida.
Chemical arms such as those in Syria's possession, in the hands of Al-Qaida would obviously mean bad news for Israel, the US and any other nation that opposes them. Once again however, we are faced with the vexing question of attacking the civilian population. If Al-Qaida is identifying itself with rebel forces, would it not be counterproductive to launch an assault against the people it is supposed to liberate?
A chemical weapons armed Al-Qaida would probably use them for their own purposes, to further their aims as global terrorists.
Israel - It is not unheard of that Israel can and will conduct covert operations without the knowledge of its allies, if its goals do not coincide with theirs. The question here is if Israel would take the extraordinary step of setting up a false flag operation simply to implicate Syria when the US has implicitly stated that any use of chemical weapons would invoke a response.
Does Israel stand to benefit anything by taking the risk of being exposed as the orchestrator of a false-flag attack against the Syrian people? Such a revelation would only serve to raise the ire of the Muslim world against it even further; possibly even damaging the relatively friendly relationships it has with some Muslim countries.
It should be noted however, that Israel has used outlawed weapons in the past. As recently as 2009, Israeli forces allegedly used white phosphorus in Gaza to put down an uprising.
Iran, the Quds Force and the Syrian connection - Then we have the curious report of Syrian officials reaching out to the Iranian Quds Force for help deploying its weapons.
Although Iran is a Syrian ally, how would using the Quds Force to attack civilians benefit Iran or the Assad regime? The belief is that Assad is a madman bent on maintaining a hold on his crumbling government by any means. While this argument is very persuasive on its face, it does not make good strategic or tactical sense.
If Assad in fact maintains control of Syria's chemical arsenal, it makes more sense to turn them on enemy forces rather than civilians. Even if Syria was somehow attempting to avoid blame for such an incident, why not just get the Quds Force to use them on rebels and blame it on another organization? Surely Syria could arrange for one of its chemical depots to be "attacked" and have the culprits make off with some weapons. An action like this might shield Iran and Syria.
The United States - Among the other entities the US seems to stand in contrast with the possible aims and intentions of the other organizations listed. However, Syria, Iran and Russia have all accused the US of not only fomenting the Syrian uprising but also secretly giving valuable support to the opposition.
Syrian and Iranian intelligence have accused the US and Israel of conducting covert operations on both Iranian and Syrian soil.
If Allied forces actually have assets on the ground in Syria, it would certainly explain the reason for the stern warning against deployment of chemical weapons and the presence of so much American firepower.
The US has also been accused of fabricating information on Syria's intentions with its WMDs.
Is the Syrian warning that unknown "terrorists" are planning to attack civilians credible? If so, which of the above entities will be responsible? Or, is Syria making plans to commit genocide against innocent civilians while accusing another group? If so, how will it reconcile such an act with its claims that it wants to protect its civilian population from what it calls "terrorists"?
It is beginning to seem that whatever plans concerning the endgame to this civil war are, they may not bode well for the civilian populace of Syria, who are caught in the middle of this conflict and are virtually helpless to influence its outcome.
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