As the US completes its final withdrawal from Iraq, American special forces troops have been diverted to positions in Jordan opposite a Syrian tank concentration building up across the kingdom's northern border, debkafile's military and intelligence sources report.The risk of Syria attacking Jordan is high, but that is not the only problem there is with Syria. Syria has stockpiled Chemical weapons and will use them.
As of last Thursday, military convoys, air transports and helicopters have been lifting US troops across the border from Iraq. They have been deployed in position to ward off a possible Syrian invasion in the light of President Bashar Assad's warning that he would set the entire Middle East on fire if the pressure on his regime to step down persisted.
Syria's other neighbors have taken precautions against this contingency but this is the first time US boots have hit the ground directly opposite Assad's army.
The incoming US contingents are disclosed by our sources as having been housed at the King Hussein Air Base of al-Mafraq, 10 kilometers from the Syrian border. US troops were sighted Monday, Dec. 12, building surveillance towers and army posts in the Jordanian villages of Albaej, Zubaydiah and al-Nahdah al-Houshah as well as near the Sarham dam of the Yarmoukh River which runs down the international border between Syria and Jordan.
Three months ago, the Syrian ruler cautioned Jordan's King Abdullah II to stop granting asylum to Syrian military deserters and allowing his country to serve as a conduit for pumping arms to the opposition.
The king was not deterred by this threat. Seen from Damascus, Jordan would be easier to take on militarily that either Turkey or Israel. Saturday, Dec. 10, Jordanian surveillance units confirmed that Syrian armored units were gathering opposite the Jordanian town of Bura Al Hariri.
Iraqi sources report that the American units came from the big Iraqi Ain al-Assad air base in the western province of Al Anbar opposite the Jordanian border. This base is in the process of evacuation as the US military drawdown in Iraq approaches completion. Most of the troops are flown to US bases in the Persian Gulf and Europe.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, when he met US President Barack Obama at the White House Monday, approved the transfer of American contingents from Iraq to Jordan across their common border. Obama was therefore able to state after their talks: "We share the view that when the Syrian people are being killed or are unable to express themselves that's a problem. There's no disagreement there."
By this comment, the White House sought to stress that the Baghdad government is not letting Tehran twist its arms on the Syrian question.
The Syrian regime, which has endured nine months of civil unrest spurred by the Arab Spring as it swept across the Middle East, has armed its medium-range missile arsenal with chemical warheads.First of all an Chemical Attack on Jordan, Turkey or Israel will awaken the whole world to anger. Using WMDs is not to be accepted by the world. NATO will attack (Without UN approval). No Assad will use those weapons on his own people. He will use them to silence dissent in his own nation.
According to a report published by the Sabah daily Sunday, Damascus armed 600 one-ton chemical warheads to use in the event of a foreign military intervention. Furthermore, President Bashar al-Assad ordered the deployment of 21 missile launchers along its border with Turkey. Syria’s medium-range missiles that can be equipped with chemical warheads have a range of up to 1,300 kilometers and would include the southern and central provinces of Turkey.
According to the daily, the Syrian military keeps its stockpile of chemical warheads in secret facilities in and around the capital city of Damascus. In mid-November, President Assad held a special meeting with top commanders of the Syrian army and argued over how to respond to a possible military intervention by the international community. Additionally, Russia, which stood by the Assad regime’s defiance of international pressure on Damascus, sent 3 million gas masks to the troubled country. Most of those masks will be distributed to the regime’s loyalists, the families of soldiers and Baath supporters. The distribution of the masks is set to be completed by the end of December, according to the daily.
Syria is believed to have had a chemical weapons arsenal for more than three decades. Following heavy defeats against Israel in conventional warfare, international defense sources believe that following the Yom Kippur War of 1973, Hafez al-Assad, the former general of the Syrian Air Force, decided to bolster Syria’s strategic position through the development of ballistic missiles to counter Israel’s superiority in conventional warfare. The unchallenged superiority Israeli air forces led Syrian generals to push for other means to protect the regime. From then on, Syria has launched clandestine efforts to develop chemical warheads with ballistic missile delivery systems.
Will the world stop Assad or criticize him if he does use WMDs on his own people? Probably not. Saddam Hussein used gas on the Kurds and the world said nothing, did nothing. So it will be with Assad.