Central View: Syrian cat and mouse with chemical WMD

William Hamilton
Central View

Even those who are most sincerely anti-Obama should take no pleasure in watching Russia’s Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin playing with President Obama as a house cat does with a mouse. Nevertheless, the United States just suffered, yet another, major embarrassment in Syria and across the Middle East.

Assuming that the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad actually has a stockpile of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) in the form of poison gas, the question arises: Where did it come from? Stay tuned for the answer.

By early 2003, and after 17 United Nations resolutions condemning Saddam Hussein’s WMD programs, it was becoming obvious to Vladimir Putin that U.S. President George W. Bush was assembling a multi-nation, anti-WMD coalition and that his client, Saddam Hussein, was going to be invaded.

The obvious solution was to move all the transportable elements of Saddam’s WMD program into northern Syria — Russia’s other regional ally. In December of 2005, former Israel Defense Force chief of staff, Lt. General Moshe Ya’alon, said, “[Hussein] transferred the chemical agents from Iraq to Syria.” That was done six weeks before the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom. In January 2006, General Ya’alon’s claim was backed up by former Iraqi Air Force General Georges Sada who said the passenger seats were removed from Iraq’s civilian aircraft and they, along with ground convoys, were used to move Saddam’s WMD into Syria.

By early September 2007, the Israelis were convinced that the Syrians, with the help of North Korea, had developed a nuclear reactor capable of continuing Saddam’s interrupted WMD program. On the night of Sept .5, 2007, Israel inserted a team of commandos near al-Kibar, Syria. At the stroke of midnight on Sept. 6, 2007, the commandos lit up the nuclear reactor building with their laser-target designator. After jamming the air-defense system that Putin had provided to Syria, a fleet of Israeli F-15s and F-16s flew in and obliterated the nuclear reactor at al-Kibar.

Other than condemning the Israelis for invading Syrian air space, the anti-Operation Iraqi Freedom media took little note of the obvious: Saddam Hussein had moved his WMD into northern Syria and the American CIA failed to detect it. Today, it should be of considerable embarrassment to the Obama White House and State Department that they are both being run by people who insisted that President Bush was lying when he said Saddam Hussein had a WMD program that needed to be stopped.

Last week, Vladimir Putin leapt onto the world stage as the peacemaker of the Middle East. Now, Putin is working toward a U.N. resolution that assumes President Assad will win the Syrian Civil War, that leaves Assad’s chemical weapons on Syrian soil, that contains no meaningful enforcement provisions against Assad for non-compliance, and features a timetable that doesn’t even come into effect until mid-2014. That is the Limburger Cheese that the Putin cat is dangling before the Obama mouse.

Nationally syndicated columnist, William Hamilton, was educated at the University of Oklahoma, the George Washington University, the U.S Naval War College, the University of Nebraska, and Harvard University.

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