Israel threatens Syria strike if rebels get chemical arms

Al-Akhbar is currently going through a transitional phase whereby the English website is available for Archival purposes only. All new content will be published in Arabic on the main website (www.al-akhbar.com).

Al-Akhbar Management

Published Sunday, January 27, 2013

Any sign that Syria's grip on its chemical weapons is slipping as it battles armed rebels could trigger Israeli military strikes, Israel's vice premier said on Sunday.

Should Lebanon's Hezbollah guerrillas or rebels battling forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad obtain Syria's chemical weapons, Silvan Shalom told Israel's Army Radio: "It would dramatically change the capabilities of those organizations."

Such a development would be "a crossing of all red lines that would require a different approach, including even preventive operations," he said, alluding to military intervention for which Israeli generals have said plans have been readied.

Israel has regularly pursued a strategy of just-in-case, ‘preemptive warfare’ which involves making allegations against various parties for possible attacks, and then acting ‘preemptively’ via war. The legality of this reason for war actions in international law is generally not accepted.

"The concept, in principle, is that this (chemical weapons transfer) must not happen," Shalom said. "The moment we begin to understand that such a thing is liable to happen, we will have to make decisions."

Newly re-elected Israeli Prime Minister on Sunday told his cabinet that Syria was “increasingly coming apart.”

But France, among the most vocal backers of Syria's rebels, had said last week there were no signs Assad was about to be overthrown.

(Reuters, Al-Akhbar)

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