Dr. Gregory Koblentz, GMU Biodefense Deputy Director and Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow was interviewed by the Council on Foreign Relations regarding the most recent developments in Syria. Last week, US intelligence confirmed Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s use of chemical weapons on the Syrian rebels. Speaking on the differences between prior claims of chemical weapons use and these most recent assessments, Dr. Koblentz stated,
“There are two major differences between this intelligence assessment and the one released back in April. In the earlier assessment, the Obama administration reported that the intelligence community had “varying degrees of confidence” that the Assad regime had used chemical weapons, indicating disagreement within agencies on the reliability of the evidence. In this updated version, the intelligence community now reports that it has a ‘high confidence’ that the Assad regime used chemical weapons.
The second difference is that this report provides more details on the types of evidence underlying this new assessment: ‘multiple, independent streams of information,’ including ‘reporting regarding Syrian officials planning and executing regime chemical weapons attacks; reporting that includes descriptions of the time, location, and means of attack; and descriptions of physiological symptoms that are consistent with exposure to a chemical weapons agent.'”
The detailed and timely interview also discusses the next steps for the UN, as well as implications and possible courses of action available to the United States. Read the full interview on the CFR website here.