Charles Blair: Why Assad Won’t Use His Chemical Weapons

Check out GMU adjunct faculty member and Federation of American Scientists Senior Fellow Charles Blair’s comprehensive piece on Foreign Policy about Assad’s weapons.

“Since the Syrian uprising began in March 2011, concerns over the country’s chemical arsenal have largely reflected the fear that terrorists might steal them in the chaotic aftermath of Bashar al Assad’s overthrow. Military use against the Free Syrian Army seemed less likely, largely because the use of unconventional weapons would violate international law and norms. If it broke that taboo, the regime would risk losing Russian and Chinese support, legitimizing foreign military intervention, and, ultimately, hastening its own end. As one Syrian official said, “We would not commit suicide.”

But this week chemical anxieties shifted. President Barack Obama warned Syria that “[t]he use of chemical weapons is and would be totally unacceptable” — a comment echoed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, both of whom said that use of the arsenal would cross a “red line” for the United States. Despite these admonitions — and a barrage of reports that Syria is preparing to deploy its chemical arsenal — it remains doubtful that Damascus is at the point where the use of chemical weapons against rebels makes tactical or strategic sense.”

Read more here.

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