With the continued fighting in Syria along its northern border, Israel isn’t ruling out any options – including military – should the threat of terrorists getting their hands on President Bashar Assad’s chemical weapons stockpile become imminent.
Meeting with European Union ambassadors Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said:
“Israel will do everything it takes to ensure Syria’s chemical weapons do not fall into the hands of terrorist organizations — and if such a situation arises, then Israel will weigh a military option.”
The growing fear is that extremist fighters and other groups may get their hands on Syria’s vast chemical and biological weapons stockpiles if Assad falls. The threat of the weaponry falling into rebel hands has grown as the uprising has intensified in recent months, particularly after four members of Assad’s inner circle were killed in a Damascus suicide bombing in July. The US also reportedly recently sent a secret military task force to Jordan to prepare for possible scenarios in which the stockpiles get loose.
The threat to Israel is significant, particularly regarding the possibility that Hezbollah could secure those chemical weapons in the event the Assad regime falls. Just last year, it was reported that Hamas had smuggled “relatively advanced Russian missiles” looted from Libyan weapons warehouses after the demise of Muammar Qadhafi.
On Monday, Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice described Hezbollah’s growing role in the Syrian conflict. As AP reported:
"Hezbollah's active and growing support for Assad's war exposes Hassan Nasrallah's claims of promoting Lebanon's national interest as nothing more than a deadly form of deception," Rice said.
"The group's leaders may try to change the subject by invoking hollow rhetoric about so-called resistance, but the truth is plain to see: Nasrallah's fighters are now part of Assad's killing machine and Hezbollah's leaders continue to plot with Iran new measures to prop up a murderous and desperate dictator," she said.
Rice said the United States is encouraging the international community "to counter Hezbollah's terrorist activity and do more to expose Hezbollah's deepening involvement in Assad's war."
Israeli Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor said, "Today we see that Hezbollah's army is far more preoccupied with butchering their Arab brothers and sisters in Syria." He also said Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Syria’s Assad form a "trio of terror" which offers "the tyrant of Damascus guidance on how to butcher the Syrian people more efficiently."