Did Israel’s Air Force Strike Hezbollah Chemical Weapons Sites?
Israel Air Force chief, Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel
Source: Israel Hayom
The control of Syria’s unconventional Chemical and Biological weapons of mass destruction are of vital concern in a troubled Middle East should the Assad regime fall to Sunni supremacist opposition forces . AnAlgemeiner article on this threat had a comment by former Israeli Mossad director, Danny Yatom:
The conventional wisdom should be that we cannot exclude an un-conventional attack on Israel. 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’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 has supplied terrorist groups with unconventional chemical and biological 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 last year could allow Syrian rebels to obtain these unconventional weapons.
According to a recent Algemeiner report, in both October and late December 2012, there were mysterious explosions at Hezbollah arms depots in Baalbek and South Lebanon. The Kuwaiti website al Jaridi reported that Israel may have bombed the Southern Lebanon site because “Syria had transferred missiles there that were capable of being equipped with chemical warheads. The missiles had been moved into Lebanon from Syria in the last several months.” David Ignatius writing in the Washington Post earlier this week noted the threat of these unconventional weapons transfers from Syria to Iranian proxy Hezbollah:
What should we make of these reports? First, the Syrian chemical-warfare capability may be even more dangerous than people had thought, because the weapons can be moved to other locations and mixed en route. And, second, there’s a significant risk of proliferation to other groups, such as Hezbollah, which could pose a global terrorist threat.
Israel Hayom today had this comment from the chief of Israel’s Air Force, Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel:
The IDF has been closely monitoring chemical weapons in Syria, remaining alert to the possibility that the dangerous weapons may end up in the hands of Hezbollah.
"We are called upon to prepare for any possible scenario or threat, even in dealing with non-conventional weapons," Israel Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel said Wednesday. "This decision is for the country's decision makers to deliberate. But we provide the relevant capabilities so that if it is decided to use them, we are prepared."
Eshel said Syria's disintegration was "a known fact" and pointed out that Syria was in Israel's backyard.
"We need to prepare a response, and the IAF has a central role in this," Eshel said. "Chemical weapons is one area in which we are planning a response."
The forthcoming January 2013 New English Review will feature an interview with Dr. Jill Bellamy van Aalst; CEO of Warfare Technology Analytics on the dangers of Syrian bio-warfare Complex should the Assad regime fall. Dr. Bellamy van Aalst advises private business as well as government clients on biological warfare and bio-defense within the EU. She gave this assessment of the danger of Syria’s bio-warfare to Israel and the Jewish state’s reaction that parallels IAF chief, Maj. Gen Eshel’s Israel Hayom comments:
Gordon: How much of a threat is the Syrian Bio-warfare capability to Israel and US forces in the Middle East, e.g., the Persian Gulf region?
Bellamy – Van Aalst: I think it is a very real threat. However, I think that threat will substantially increase if we can’t secure those programs and if they fall into the hands of Hezbollah, Al Qaeda or the Qods Force. I actually believe transfers have already occurred. If so, then we are really in serious trouble. Unlike chemical weapons where you have a stockpile and missiles that you can track you just don’t have biological weapon caches that you can watch in real time 24/7. I would say that back in 2007 during our interview I cautioned that we needed to increase our HUMINT and access to scientific teams in order to maintain any kind of surveillance of those programs. The media is focused on Assad’s chemical weapons because those are relatively easy to understand and count. Assad’s BW Complex is not. It’s multi-layered, compartmentalized, and very difficult to assess in actual quality which is the hallmark of biological weapons not the quantity as is the case with his chemical arsenal.
[. . . ]
Gordon: Given reports of IDF Sayeret (Commando) tracking of CBW caches, what means does the IDF have at its disposal to intercept and destroy them?
Bellamy – Van Aalst: I think at this point, given the sensitivity of the on-going situation it is probably an area which should not be detailed or discussed. I’m fairly confident Israel has the capability to cope with any loss of command and control per the Assad regime’s BW Complex.