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How solid is Israel’s proof of Syrian chemical weapons?

April 24th, 2013
04:54 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

On Tuesday, the head of Israel’s military intelligence, Brigadier General Itai Brun, said that Syria has used chemical weapons against rebels in that country – Obama has repeatedly said that would be his “red line” for American involvement.

“He did not give us a sense of what direct evidence they had,” said New York Times Chief Washington Correspondent David Sanger, who attended General Brun’s briefing. Sanger spoke with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour from Jerusalem.

The only thing that the general presented, Sanger said, was photographs of people Brun described as frothing at the mouth, a symptom associated with the use of sarin gas.

“That is not the same as having the actual samples” to prove the use of chemical weapons, Sanger said. 

“I don’t have an understanding of how the material was gathered,” he added. “In other words, was it Israeli agents, was it Americans, was it outsiders? We do know from some of our other reporting that the CIA had been involved in attempting to obtain some samples, but we don’t know whether or not they've been successful at that.”

Meanwhile, as the political establishment in the America and around the world waits for a conclusive answer, another question is raised: Will Obama stay true to his pledge to intervene if the answer is ‘yes’?

The U.S. and its allies have “extensive” contingency plans for securing Syria’s chemical weapons, Sanger said. But he cautioned that getting rid of the weapons may be harder than most realize.

“In an odd way,” he said, “it’s a lot easier to go in and get rid of nuclear weapons. Once you collect them up and render them safe, you can put them on an airplane and fly them out. In the case of chemical weapons” – which are prone to leaking – “you run the risk of causing exactly the disaster you were trying to prevent.”

READ MORE: Free Syrian Army general: ‘Clear proof chemical weapons used’


Filed under:  Latest Episode • Syria
soundoff (44 Responses)
  1. John Reagan

    Not only has there been no evidence of chemical weapons, but there is absolutely no evidence it was the Syrian Govt that used them. With all the brutal violence and lack of concern for civilians from both sides, it wouldn't surprise me to find the rebels faked the photographs..or even used the weapons.

    In fact, I'd be real cautious about believing the Israelis. They can play real dirty and it wouldn't surprise me to have them do something like this just to get the US mired in that miserable quagmire that is the Middle East.

    IMO,we as a nation should distance ourselves from Israel just as fast as we can..and don;t look back. They're trouble.

    April 24, 2013 at 8:25 pm | Reply
    • sdzuck

      Yeah, they're real trouble. All that medical technology they develop, like 3D MRIs, cutting-edge treatment for drug addiction, diabetes, and cancer, next-generation chips the power computers, drip irrigation, disease-resistant non-GMO plants, freedom for women and gays, integration of a populace that comes from around the world and includes 15-20% Arabs. All those universities around the country. All those patents, especially in agriculture, medicine, and computers. all those tech ssrt-ups. Yep, these people are trouble indeed.

      April 25, 2013 at 3:04 am | Reply
      • Zen

        I agree with John Reagan and those achievements you mention do not count in the face of those thousands of jewish zealots running Israel and the illegal settlements in Palestine. Israel has the most criminal right wing government in the world and to think they possess nuclear weapons makes me shiver. I wish Israelis would take their achievements back to Russia where they belong.

        April 25, 2013 at 9:52 am |
      • Thinker23

        Zen... "Illegal" means "in violation of the law". As long as there is no law prohibiting Jews from living in the West Bank but allowing Arabs to live there Jewish settlements will remain no less legal than Arab settlements there.

        April 25, 2013 at 11:46 am |
      • Beezlegrunk

        Thinker23@ There is a law against it — international law in the form of the Hague and Geneva Conventions. It is illegal for a country that is occupying territory seized in war to move its citizens into that territory.

        Just because you don't know anything about the law — or would prefer it didn't exist — doesn't make Israeli settlements legal.

        April 25, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
    • Thinker23

      Do you REALLY believe that the US President and the responsible authorities would blindly believe Israeli statements without independently verifying them?

      April 25, 2013 at 11:39 am | Reply
      • Know222

        Ask the 100,000+ dead from the Iraq war (the last time we trusted Israeli intelligence on WMDs). Oh wait, you can't. They're all dead.

        April 25, 2013 at 2:45 pm |
    • Hiba Syriana

      Exactly! These are ridiculous counter accusations made by NATO/ Israel/ GCC Jihadi mercenaries who are fighting in Syria in the name of "freedom and democracy" It was evident that some of their groups did in fact use CW in Khan alAsal few weeks ago, but this is NATO governments are making those baseless accusations so that the UN is unable to confirm the accusations made by the Syrian Government!!

      http://sana.sy/eng/21/2013/03/21/473622.htm

      April 26, 2013 at 3:48 am | Reply
  2. KP

    Hook or crook,
    Israel wants USA occupying Syria before the fall of Assad.
    We should stay out of this Israel's problems, Iran or Syria.

    April 24, 2013 at 8:26 pm | Reply
  3. Thinker23

    WHY would Israel want the US to occupy Syria? Only to make you and others blaming Israel for everything up to and including the recent earthquake in Iran happy?

    April 25, 2013 at 11:43 am | Reply
    • Know222

      So true, I mean it isn't like Israel has been trying to get the US into a war with IRAN RIGHT? Lol

      April 25, 2013 at 2:47 pm | Reply
  4. Know222

    Onward brave AIPAC generals... There's still plenty of American soldiers for you to use up in your wars.

    April 25, 2013 at 2:49 pm | Reply
    • John

      Exactly, and ALL for money ...

      April 25, 2013 at 3:30 pm | Reply
  5. Hiba Syriana

    How "sincere" of Israel the ENEMY of Syria to try and help at finding the "evidence" that would incriminate the Syrian Govt!!! It would be best if Israel provide us with evidence of its OWN war crimes against the Palestinians in Gaza and elsewhere in Palestine??!!

    April 26, 2013 at 3:57 am | Reply
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