Chemical Duel: Israel attacks Syria. Israel becomes Bhopal?

my spikenard sendeth forth the smell—Song of Solomon 1:12


The soldiers were trapped between slow moving clouds of the grey-green poisonous gas. Those closer to the chlorine cylinders felt a distinctive peppery-smell and metallic taste before the poisonous element stung their throats and chests. Those of their friends standing further away panicked as the green-death silently swallowed their friends.
This scene from WWI won’t repeat itself. Not because humanity has experience an epiphany and returned to the Kingdom of God, but because more efficient gases have been developed.

Chlorine Cilinders WWI World War I Gas Warfare Tactics and Equipment
In the first days of May 2013, the world is witnessing an escalation in the war between Syria and Israel. The two countries are formally at war; thus any act of violence between them, like the recent Israeli airstrike, amounts as an act of war. Both countries are armed with chemical weapons. Could the situation deteriorate into chemical warfare? How would such an event look?

The June 16, 2011, edition of the Economist, included an article titled “Nuclear endgame: The growing appeal of zero;” it analyzed a previous Wall Street Journal article by Henry Kissinger, Bill Perry, George Shultz and Sam Nunn. In the article, it was claimed that: “The risk of accidents, misjudgments or unauthorised launches… was growing more acute in a world of rivalries.” This referred to nuclear weapons; sadly it is no less true for chemical weapons of mass destruction. I disagree with Kissinger and his friends. “The risk of accidents, misjudgments or unauthorised launches,” is language used by civil servants attempting to cover-up unjustifiable crimes. Let me fix the misleading phrase into the “certainty of a human error.” Chlorine is in the air. Don’t won’t war? Ban weapons! Don’t won’t war? Don’t attack!

Who Used Chemical Weapons?

Israeli White Phosphorous Artillery Shells used during Operation Cast Lead Back To Basics: A Study Of The Second Lebanon War And Operation Cast Lead

The IDF regularly uses White Phosphorous munitions; they are labeled “white smoke” (ashan lavan) and are used mainly for creating smoke screens. However, during Operation Cast Leadthey were used against civilians and UN targets. This included at least one brutal attack against a civilian hospital. The very clear pictures broadcast over the mainstream media by international networks, forced Israel to admit the crimes, though no sanctions were imposed by the international community, with the clear exception of defining Israel as a terror inflicting entity by the UN Human Rights Council.

In Israeli Anthrax Developer Resigns, other Israeli weapons are described. The events became public on October 4, 1992, when El Al Flight 1862, crashed into Amsterdam. Many people died and were injured by this Boeing 747 cargo plane. The cargo included over 280 kilograms of depleted uranium, which is used for certain types of missiles, and 190 liters of dimethyl methylphosphonate, which could be used in the synthesis of Sarin nerve gas. The owner of the latter was the IIBR, Israel Institute of Biological Research. In other words, Israel is a proven player in the chemical weapons theater.

The other active player was identified on May 5, 2013. Carla Del Ponte, member of the United Nations Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria declared that the commission’s investigators have gathered testimony from casualties of Syria’s civil war and medical workers indicating that rebel forces have used the nerve agent sarin. These mercenary forces has been supported by Israel and the West.

Secret Programs

This race has been kept secret by the two sides involved. One of the reasons for that is that the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction is very strict, and Israel is a signatory country. It is administered by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which is based in The Hague. Syria and Israel keep stockpiles of various chemical weapons.

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The Syrian program is easier to follow. Syrian chemical weapons production facilities have been identified by Western nonproliferation experts at Cerin, Hama, Homs, Latakia, and Palmyra. Homs is one of the most restive cities in the ongoing conflict, thus creating real safety concerns. The sites apparently manufacture Sarin, Tabun, VX, and mustard gas types of chemical weapons, which can be launched on Scud missiles towards any location in Israel.

The situation in Israel is extremely secretive. Much more is known about Israel’s nuclear weapons program that about its chemical one. There are credible claims that Israel Military Industries are involved in the production of certain chemical weapons, apparently through their Nazareth plant. Then, Israel’s largest ordnance stockpile—placed next to one of the country’s nuclear reactors—keeps a large amount of chemical artillery. NATO keeps bunkers in Israel filled up with military equipment. There is an understanding that the IDF will use their undisclosed—but rumored—contents in the case of need. One of these bunkers is placed next to the abovementioned ordnance base.

The Chemical Weapons Convention is a political document; as such, it includes political compromises. In order to avoid misinterpretations, it includes a list of forbidden chemicals and their precursors. It includes also a definition of what a chemical weapon is. Not surprisingly, these two slightly contradict each other.

The Convention article’s “Definition and Criteria” defines a chemical weapon in subparagraph 1.b as “Munitions and devices, specifically designed to cause death or other harm through the toxic properties of those toxic chemicals specified in …” Paragraph 2 clarifies what a “toxic chemical” is: “Any chemical which through its chemical action on life processes can cause death, temporary incapacitation or permanent harm to humans or animals. This includes all such chemicals, regardless of their origin or of their method of production, and regardless of whether they are produced in facilities, in munitions or elsewhere.”

This is so clear that there is no way of excluding white phosphorous from this list. White phosphorous has been used in smoke, tracer, illumination and incendiary munitions since the 19th century; notoriously in the Vietnam War. Ammunitions containing it burst into burning flakes of phosphorus upon impact and can cause serious burns. Phosphorous reacts exothermically with water; since human bodies contain large amounts of this liquid, it ignites upon content and burns until it is completely consumed. Its wounds are brutal and difficult to heal; hence it has been banned. Yet, white phosphorous is not part of the Chemical Weapons Convention, but is banned by the less strict Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, which prohibits the use of said incendiary weapons against civilians (already forbidden by the Geneva Conventions) or in civilian areas.
In other words, it defines Israel as a transgressor, due to its documented production and use of such horrific means. President Bush was wrong, the WMD were in Tel Aviv, not in Baghdad. What a silly confusion!