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April 23, 2013

Israeli General Watches Youtube Video - Finds WMD

This is currently "news":
A senior Israeli military intelligence official said on Tuesday that Syrian President Bashar Assad used chemical weapons last month in his battle against insurgent groups.
In his assessment, Brig. Gen. Itai Brun, the head of research and analysis in Israeli military intelligence, told a security conference in Tel Aviv that Assad has used chemical weapons multiple times. Among the incidents were attacks documented by the French and British near Damascus last month.

"To the best of our professional understanding, the regime used lethal chemical weapons against the militants in a series of incidents over the past months, including the relatively famous incident of March 19," he said.

But what, if any, is the evidence the Israelis have?
"Shrunken pupils, foaming at the mouth and other signs indicate, in our view, that lethal chemical weapons were used."
These are only visual signs. Instead of doing a chemical analysis that would be required to find chemical weapons the Israelis seem to have simply been looking at videos provided by the insurgents in Syria.

"Shrunken pupils, foaming at the mouth and other signs" in videos, if genuine at all, could have come from a variety of causes. These symptoms could be a sign for heroin and other drug use. Medical issues like seizure could also explain these symptoms. Sarin exposure though leads to lots of additional symptoms and would likely also effect those giving first aid to, or is making a video of, anyone who was seriously exposed to that stuff.

In the "famous incident of March 19" there were no chemical weapons but chlorine that, according to a Reuters reporter, was used against a government held barrier. Several Syrian army soldiers died. The attack came after insurgents had captured a factory east of Aleppo that produced chlorine for disinfecting drinking water.

So lets call the Israeli claim what it is: Factless propaganda.

Posted by b on April 23, 2013 at 13:01 UTC | Permalink


yep, US also pretends to be on the warpath -

Posted by: somebody | Apr 23 2013 13:12 utc | 1

sorry, this is the link

Posted by: somebody | Apr 23 2013 13:13 utc | 2

There is some confusion about what constitutes a chemical weapon. Many people think that nerve agents such as Sarin and VX are the only chemical weapons, but this is wrong since there also blistering agents such as mustard gas, choking agents such as phosgene and blood agent such as hydogen cyanide. Chlorine is classified as a choking agent and thus is a chemical weapon.

Posted by: blowback | Apr 23 2013 13:34 utc | 3

@3 Definitions aren't very important. 'Chemical' is the key word.

Posted by: dh | Apr 23 2013 14:21 utc | 4

@blowback - chlorine, or Cl17, is not classified as a chemical weapon under the Chemical Weapons Convention. You can look up the relevant treaties. While it is dangerous to inhale and can be deadly it has not been used as weapon by any professional army after 1914 because there is now much better stuff that sticks and does not endanger ones own troops. It is the stuff that kills bacteria in your drinking water and/or swimming pool and therefor widely available.

Posted by: b | Apr 23 2013 14:56 utc | 5

So now that the Russians are establishing a link between Chechen terrorists and the Syrian Opposition in that Chechen terrorists are also supporting Syria's rebels and fighting alongside the rebels to take down Assad, the U.S. might be even more reticent to provide the rebels with wider support given the Boston marathon bombing. So, Israelis, who can always be counted on in the Deception Dept. come up with this hail mary pass to get the U.S. to expand/escalate this war by cooking up the red line casus belli.

Israel is out for war, World War III by any means: especially by way of DECEPTION.

It's been widely reported Israel helped train the PKK; and helped Jundallah and/or MEK to assassinate scientists and commit other acts of terrorism and sabotage inside Iran and NOW THIS! I wonder how embedded Mossad is with the rebel opposition and al-Nusra??? Maybe they're giving them chemistry lessons...?

Posted by: kalithea | Apr 23 2013 17:24 utc | 6

Diagnosing Syrian government chemical weapons use from an insurgent video is like diagnosing Terry Schiavo's level of brain function through a video clip. What source will they turn to next, Reefer Madness?

Posted by: Rusty Pipes | Apr 23 2013 17:46 utc | 7

Reuters: Netanyahu cannot confirm report of Syrian chemical arms use: Kerry

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could not confirm comments by the Israeli military's top intelligence analyst that Syrian government forces had used chemical weapons, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday.

"I talked to Prime Minister Netanyahu this morning. I think it is fair for me to say that he was not in a position to confirm that in the conversation that I had," Kerry told a news conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels. "I don't know yet what the facts are."

Kerry had been asked about comments by Brigadier-General Itai Brun, an Israeli intelligence analyst, at a Tel Aviv security conference that Syrian forces had used chemical weapons, probably nerve gas, in their fight against rebels.

Posted by: b | Apr 23 2013 18:27 utc | 8

@8 So the Brigadier-General was just fear mongering. He's in big trouble.

Posted by: dh | Apr 23 2013 18:47 utc | 9

Israel, Britain and France have all made accusations about chemical weapons but there is no physical proof of their use. That would require an on-site inspection, which the US is urging.

However Syria is aware that the UN is a tool of the West and remembers the Iraq inspections. According to a Guardian interview with Faisal al-Miqdad, Syria's vice-foreign minister:

Syria would only agree to a "real" UN investigation and not to a repeat of what had happened in Iraq. "The game is clear," he said. "They want to cover up what happened in Aleppo and create fictitious issues."

Posted by: Don Bacon | Apr 23 2013 18:47 utc | 10

This is a smear and the problem with shit is that it sticks no matter if it's true or not.

Another smear in the news today Canada smears Iran

Every sane person with a bit of knowledge of the middle east will know this to be impossible. Iran is the enemy of Al Qaeda. Why would they work with them. Same smear as they did on Saddam Hussein (working with Al Qaeda).

Posted by: Gehenna | Apr 23 2013 19:48 utc | 11

What about the killing of 37 Iraqi Sunni protestors by the Iraqi army today? That has genuine potential for escalation...

Posted by: guest | Apr 24 2013 1:10 utc | 12

Gehenna, There ARE Al Qaeda elements in Iran. They don't act there, are essentially under house arrest, and are monitored. However, O don't believe you'll find any reporting that suggests that the Iranian gov't has any hand in this.

Posted by: scottindallas | Apr 24 2013 2:11 utc | 13

ok. this is settled then

BRUSSELS - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Tuesday he and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had agreed to look for ways to revive a Syrian peace plan, but admitted that doing so would be extremely difficult. Kerry, speaking after talks with Lavrov and NATO colleagues in Brussels, also backed away from earlier comments suggesting he was calling for increased NATO contingency planning on Syria. Kerry said he and Lavrov had discussed ways to revive a peace plan agreed in Geneva last June that called for a transitional government.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 24 2013 3:56 utc | 14

@somebody #14
Lavrov isn't agreeing with Kerry, of course, on Assad's removal.
See my #34 here.

Replace Assad with that Texan, and hope everything comes out all right? Lavrov is the only adult in the room, I doubt that he'd buy that fanciful scenario. Jabhat al-Nusra would soon have that Texan (who would lack an army) for breakfast, lunch and dinner, for one thing. How do you like your Texan? hah

Posted by: Don Bacon | Apr 24 2013 4:32 utc | 15

15) I think Lavrov would agree, just Assad has no intention to go. Russia is indifferent about Hezbollah, Iran Middle East Power as long as their zone of influence is guaranteed and as long the Caucasus does not heat up again. Assad owes his survival to Iran.

Posted by: somebody | Apr 24 2013 4:51 utc | 16

@somebody #16

Assad owes his survival to Iran.

I have been saying this for ages. The victory the SAA is currently having is mainly because the people's militia are able to hold and consolidate the positions after battle. These people's militia are trained by Iran. Also the counter insurgency and infantry battle tactics are joint Iran and Syria. Iran is a far greater regional power then Russia in that area. Russia has UN power.

Posted by: hans | Apr 24 2013 5:56 utc | 17

After Ambassador Stevens was killed, the Libyan quislings pounded the resistance stronghold Bani Walid with chemical weapons for a month.

So that was OK.

Only when you haven't used chemical weapons do you get punished for using them, it seems.

Posted by: Bob Jackson | Apr 24 2013 6:46 utc | 18



Oren Kessler
Israeli security officials believe Syrian rebels used sarin gas against
soldiers yesterday, killing 26 (Yediot)
Reply Retweet Favorite More
3:14 AM - 20 Mar 13 from location

One of the 14 RT's was from fellow journo Evan Hill. Hope he remembers
reading this, inconvenient as that could be.... At the time, the
Israelis had no reason to absolve/accuse the Assad regime and were
calling it as they saw it. The salafist elements in Syria eventually
turning their way is a grim probability facing the Israeli General
Staff; too important to be coy about who did "the relatively famous
incident of March 19"

How soon they forget.
I wonder if the original Yedioth article suggested a source for the

Posted by: lally | Apr 24 2013 16:57 utc | 19

@scottindallas #13

You are correct. Elements of Al Qaeda are in Iran. If I'm not mistaken one of the wives of Bin Laden is staying/stayed in Iran.

They get a safe haven provided they don't do anything (plan attacks in or outside the country). They would not work together. So this whole story doesn't seem as likely to me. Don't forget Canada and Iran have a strained relationship since last year.

Posted by: Gehenna | Apr 24 2013 18:48 utc | 20

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