Custom Search

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Dozens Died In Iranian-Syrian Chemical Weapon Experiment

[Update] 9/22/07- Update on this about the ground operations obtaining nuclear material before the air strikes, found here.

My regular readers here at Wake up America know that we tend to look at the "big picture" when stories come out in the news. It is easy to look at one incident and one is more likely to blow it off or wave it away as an isolated incident, but quite a few things that happen around the world, especially in the Middle East must be seen together to be able to fully comprehend the bigger picture.

First we will show the latest news, then we will show how other recent news intertwines itself with it.

The Story:

Back on July 23, 2007, it is being reported that dozens of Iranian engineers and Syrian officers were killed in an explosion while attempting to mount a chemical warhead on a Scud missile, which spread the lethal chemical agents, including Sarin Nerve Gas.

Y.Net brings us a little more about the actual explosion:

A fire which started in the missile's engine led to an explosion near a storage location of chemical substances. The blast spread lethal chemical agents, including mustard gas, VX gas and sarin nerve gas, which are considered extremely toxic and are banned for use according to international treaties.


According to the British magazine, the facility where the accident took place was built as part of a cooperation agreement signed between Syria and Iran in 2005. The joint activity included technological supply and assistance from Syria to Iran.

A Western diplomatic source reported in the past that in exchange, Tehran was providing Damascus with means that would enable it to independently produce chemical weapons, including help in planning and building facilities and carrying out chemical weapons experiments in a number of locations. According to the source, the cost of the project was estimated at millions of dollars.

Syria/Chemical Weapons:

According to, Syria is not a signatory to either the CWC or the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), and has not ratified BWC and began developing chemical weapons in 1973 prior to the Yom Kipper war when the Egyptian government reportedly gave Syria artillery shells capable of delivering chemical weapons. Since then Syria has developed a robust chemical weapons program, perhaps one of the most advanced in the Middle East, and a variety of delivery methods.

The Arsenal

The Syrian arsenal is said to be comprised mostly of large amounts of Sarin in addition to tabun, mustard gas and is reportedly producing and weaponizing VX. Exact volumes of weapons in the Syrian stockpile are difficult to know. The CIA has estimated Syria to possess several hundred liters of chemical weapons with hundreds of tons of agents produced annually.


Syria is now believed capable of producing several hundred tons of CW agents per year. Syrian production facitiliites are notoriously small in comparison to other CBW facilities in other states and are difficult to conclusively identify. Presently there are four suspected sites. One located just north of Damascus, and the second near the industrial city of Homs. The third, in Hama, is believed to be producing VX agents in addition to sarin and tabun, and a forth near Cerin. Several other sites are monitored by intelligence agencies and are listed only as suspect.


The CIA has reported continued effort by Syria to develop solid rocket motor technology, likely to be used in Scud C type missiles. These missiles could be used to deliver chemical weapons, and Syria is believed to have these systems deployed. Since 1985 they have begun to manufacture chemical warheads for their ballistic missiles. Cruise missiles may also be equipped with chemical warheads.

In addition, Syria has persistently acquired small amounts of conventional weapons from Russia, the FSU, China, Iran, and possibly North Korea. In recent years Syria has attempted to acquire Russian SA-10 and SA-11 air defense systems, MiG-29 and Su-27 fighters, and T-80 or T-90 main battle tanks, as well as upgrades for the aircraft, armored weapons, and air defense systems already in its inventory.


In April 2003 US Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld stated that the US had evidence to suggest that Syria had been conducting chemical weapons tests over the prior 12 to 15 months. Specifically in November 1999 it was reported by the Washington Times that Syria had conducted a live chemical weapons bombing test using a MiG-23 jet that dropped a chemical weapons-laden bomb on a practice range in Syria. The bombing was detected by US spy satellites due to the distinct coloration on the impact area. The precise type of chemical used was never disclosed.

Syria's Chemical Weapons

From the CDC we have descriptions of Sarin, Mustard Gas and VX.

Sarin Nerve Gas:

* Sarin is a human-made chemical warfare agent classified as a nerve agent. Nerve agents are the most toxic and rapidly acting of the known chemical warfare agents. They are similar to certain kinds of pesticides (insect killers) called organophosphates in terms of how they work and what kind of harmful effects they cause. However, nerve agents are much more potent than organophosphate pesticides.

* Sarin originally was developed in 1938 in Germany as a pesticide.

* Sarin is a clear, colorless, and tasteless liquid that has no odor in its pure form. However, sarin can evaporate into a vapor (gas) and spread into the environment.

* Sarin is also known as GB.

VX Nerve Agent:

* VX is a human-made chemical warfare agent classified as a nerve agent. Nerve agents are the most toxic and rapidly acting of the known chemical warfare agents. They are similar to pesticides (insect killers) called organophosphates in terms of how they work and what kinds of harmful effects they cause. However, nerve agents are much more potent than organophosphate pesticides.

* VX was originally developed in the United Kingdom in the early 1950s.

* VX is odorless and tasteless.

* VX is an oily liquid that is amber in color and very slow to evaporate. It evaporates about as slowly as motor oil.

Sulfur Mustard Blistering Agent:

* Sulfur mustard is a type of chemical warfare agent. These kinds of agents are called vesicants or blistering agents, because they cause blistering of the skin and mucous membranes on contact.

* Sulfur mustard is also known as “mustard gas or mustard agent,” or by the military designations H, HD, and HT.

* Sulfur mustard sometimes smells like garlic, onions, or mustard and sometimes has no odor. It can be a vapor (the gaseous form of a liquid), an oily-textured liquid, or a solid.

* Sulfur mustard can be clear to yellow or brown when it is in liquid or solid form.

The Big Picture:

Back on June 15, 2007, we showed you the three fronts that were attacking or preparing to attack Israel, Hamas from the Gaza Strip, Hizbullah from Lebanon and Syria.

On June 15, 2007 Arab News was reporting that Syria was making preparations for war with Israel.

A Qatari newspaper, Al Watan, reported Friday that Syria is making concrete preparations for war with Israel, saying that the Syrian government has removed the Government and State Archives from the Damascus area. According to the paper, this move indicates preparations for war.

Syrian parliament member Muhammad Habash confirmed on Al-Jazeera Arabic world news satellite TV last week that Syria is indeed engaged in active preparations for a war with Israel. The conflict, said the Syrian MP, is expected to break out during the summer months.

Officials close to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert reported Sunday that their efforts to begin negotiations with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad have gone unanswered. They also said that Mr. Assad’s failure to reply signaled that his claims of wanting peace were not honest and were meant to improve his own status in the international community.

Last week, the head of Mossad, Israel’s international intelligence agency, Meir Dagan, warned that Syrian President Assad was putting up a smoke screen by claiming he wants to open peace talks with the Jewish State.

Now we see from todays news that on July 23, 2007 there was this explosion that killed dozens of Iranian engineers and Syrians while attempting to mount a chemical warhead on a Scud missile.

One week ago today it was being reported that Israel conducted air strikes against Syria and speculation was running rampant throughout the news about what Israel struck and why.

Claims were that they struck a nuclear facility where Syria was working in conjunction with North Korea to acquire nuclear weapons, which still cannot be rules out, but it is just as likely now that the target could have been one of the above mentioned facilities.

Michael van der Galiën
states this:

It’s amazing that it escaped the world’s attention, this program. Thank God that Israel (and the US) kept an eye on Syria. It seems more and more likely that Iran, North Korea and Syria (the axis of evil) are working together on one major project. One of them already has nuclear capabilities, the others must - against all cost - be prevented from getting them. Syria with nuclear warheads on scuds is a nightmare for Israel and for the West as a whole.

Israel Matzav initially believed that it was not a nuclear facility but a chemical weapons facility.

I've been saying almost from the beginning of this story that I believe that what the IAF allegedly destroyed in Syria on September 6 was not a nuclear plant or nuclear weapons material but a chemical weapons plant. A summary of the reasons why I believe this to be the case may be found here. I believe that my argument was strengthened by the disclosure last night that there was an accident at a Syrian - Iranian chemical weapons experiment in July in which 'dozens' of people were killed by nerve gas (presumably sarin). The experiment was designed to arm Scud missiles with nerve gas. At least some of the nerve gas may well have been produced at the Deir al-Zur facility that was allegedly destroyed by the IAF.

Good call Israel.

Also see Liberty Pundit

Others discussing this: (via memorandum)
Confederate Yankee, Israel Matzav, Israpundit, Power Line, Captain's Quarters, The Van Der Galiën Gazette, Hot Air, Gates of Vienna, Blue Crab Boulevard, Betsy's Page, TigerHawk , and THE ASTUTE BLOGGERS

LinkShare  Referral  Prg