Al-Qaida is trying to obtain biological weapons from the ruins of Syrian government laboratories, and may already have access to “biological pathogens or weaponized agents.”
A new report by the conservative, British-based Henry Jackson Society says that al-Qaida-aligned groups fighting the Assad regime in Syria are ransacking bio-research and pharmaceutical facilities, many of which are fronts for the Assad regime’s biological weapons program.
“The Syrian civil war has left sections of the bio-pharmaceutical infrastructure destroyed and looting of labs has been observed,” the report alleges, “which could indicate that Assad is losing command and control over one of the most dangerous classes of weapons remaining in his weapons of mass destruction arsenal.”
In Aleppo, Syria’s largest city and a hotbed of jihadist rebels, “a very credible source” confirmed that he saw a looted pharmaceutical laboratory, “which was probably a cover for a biological weapons production site.”
And in February, the Syrian government arrested al-Qaida’s chief bioweapons expert, Yazid Suffat, as he tried to enter the country.
When the public debate raged over whether the United States should attack Syria because of chemical weapons use, many former government and military officials publicly endorsed action in numerous news stories and programs—without audiences knowing that the experts had ties to the defense industry.
This conclusion was reached by the public interest research organization Public Accountability Initiative (PAI), whose new report says the media failed to inform readers and viewers that the former government and military officials and think tank scholars advocating for attacking Syria stood to benefit from a military engagement.
“The threat of war with Syria may or may not have passed, but the threat that these conflicts of interest pose to our public discourse—and our democracy—is still very real,” PAI wrote.
The group looked at 22 commentators involved in the Syria debate between August 20 and September 18 who had ties to defense and intelligence contractors and defense-focused investment companies and consulting firms. They made 111 appearances as opinion columnists, quoted experts, or on-air guests in major media outlets such as CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, Bloomberg, and The Washington Post.
As fighting continues to rage across Syria, Doctors Without Borders (DWB) is now calling for “greater access for humanitarian aid to Syrians suffering in their country’s civil war” and urging the international community to show as much urgency in regard to humanitarian aid as it did to the Syrian government’s chemical weapons.
Of course, it should be noted immediately that the conflict in Syria is not so much a civil war but an invasion of foreign forces put together from all over the world and funded by the Anglo-American powers. Moreover, it should also be pointed out that, during the international hysteria over Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile, there has never been even one shred of evidence suggesting that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons against civilians or even against the deaths squads running rampant and inflicting terror upon the Syrian people.
Regardless, the General Director for Doctors Without Borders Christopher Stokes, stated to AP that “You have an industrial-scale war, but you have a very kind of small-scale humanitarian response. There is a recognition that greater humanitarian access is needed for life-saving assistance, but at the same time we don’t see the mobilization.”
Although the United Nations council issued a call for immediate access to all areas inside Syria, including in conflict areas and across battle lines, there still exists a number of obstacles to actually getting that aid to the people who may need it.
According to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin E. Dempsey:
“Once we take action, we should be prepared for what comes next. Deeper involvement is hard to avoid … A decision to use force is no less than an act of war, and we could inadvertently empower extremists or unleash the very chemical weapons we seek to control.”
In a letter to Senator Carl Levin, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, General Dempsey warns that the price of military involvement in Syria would be enormous, ultimately costing well over 1 billion dollars per month.
For sixteen days this month, from October 1 through October 16, the United States government was paralyzed by a shutdown of its dysfunctional system, imperiling the world economy, shattering global confidence in the United States , which was crippled amidst a fierce dispute about budget expenditures. At stake are expenditures for medical care, social security and other social services which provide the mere basic necessities of life for the majority of United States taxpayers, a dispute over billions of dollars for care for American citizens.
It is staggering to recall that little more than one month ago, the Wall Street Journal headlined: “US Makes Case for Strike as Military Builds in Mideast,” despite the alarming assessment by the US military’s chief expert, General Dempsey, explicitly advising against the dire risks and exorbitant cost of US military action against the Syrian Government.
Nowhere is the irrational , indeed suicidal character of the capitalist system revealed more blatantly than in this glaring disconnect between the warning of the disastrous cost and consequences of military action, by the foremost military expert in the United States, General Dempsey, and the decision to ignore his expertise, and recklessly embark on that most profitable of oligarch capitalist enterprises, war. This decision was announced on the front page of the Wall Street Journal merely one month after Dempsey clearly opposed such wanton, reckless military action.
The mainstream Syrian rebel movement is under assault from three directions: the Syrian army, the Al-Qaeda Nusra Front and Al Qaeda in Iraq. Some of the rebel commanders controlling Damascus outskirts are clinching private ceasefire deals with local Syrian army officers, with some of whom they served as comrades in the same units before they defected. This trend is spreading to other cities, including Homs and Hama.
debkafile’s intelligence and military sources report that these local deals are quickly evolving into joint patrols in rebel-held districts. The fusion of the two warring camps presages the prospect of wide areas seized by the rebels reverting to the control of President Bashar Assad’s regime without further bloodshed.
Not all the rebel leaders go along with this trend. Some are trying to sabotage it by suicide bombing and shelling attacks. Most of these attacks are the work of Al Qaeda factions, like the suicide truck explosion at a government checkpoint on the edge of Hama Sunday, Oct. 20, which killed 30 people.
This kind of violence is beginning to peter out because the rebels’ main supporters, Qatar, Jordan, Turkey and anti-Syrian elements in Lebanon, have slowed their logistic assistance and munitions deliveries. They are following the lead of the US, Britain and France, who never made good on the pledges last month to keep the rebels supplied with arms, instructors and military aid.
The rebels’ last remaining active backer is Saudi Arabia.
The situation in Aleppo in the north, Syria’s largest town, is a special case: Until a few months ago, mainstream Syrian rebel militias were the dominant force in northern and northeastern Syria and the Turkish border region. Today, they are pinned down with their backs to the wall by the various Al Qaeda-allied groups, which have also seized control of the highway links between Syria and Iraq. This enables the jihadists to move back and forth between the two countries and gain ready supplies of military equipment and fighters.
Syrian and Iraqi military units which tried to halt this traffic were thrown back.
The Turkish role in the Syrian mess becomes pertinent at this point.
Amid the mutual recriminations between Israel and Turkey over The Washington Post claim of Oct. 17 that Turkish MIT intelligence chief Hakan Fidan shopped Israeli spies to Iran, Ankara has other fish to fry – on the quiet. Fidan sees Syrian Kurds taking advantage of the havoc in northern Syria to seize control of the Turkish border region. To keep them at bay, Turkey has begun supplying Al Qaeda units fighting the Kurds with weapons.
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