Bashir CW Action will Unify Security Council – And NATO Will Bomb-And Iran? | Charles Duelfer

Bashir CW Action will Unify Security Council – And NATO Will Bomb-And Iran?

NBC’s Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski (who has been working in the Pentagon longer than many of its current inhabitants have been alive) reported yesterday:
“The Syrian military is prepared to use chemical weapons against its own people and is awaiting final orders from President Bashar Assad, U.S. officials told NBC News on Wednesday.

The military has loaded the precursor chemicals for sarin, a deadly nerve gas, into aerial bombs that could be dropped onto the Syrian people from dozens of fighter-bombers, the officials said.”

If his sources are correct, and Bashir is proceeding down a path of preparing for use of CW against his own people, the UN Security Council will finally be unified in deciding he must go. Even the Russians (who have may be embarrassed if Post-Bashir weapons inspections find Russian connections to equipment used in Syrian WMD programs), will be compelled to support military action against Bashir. If Miklaszewski’s sources are correct and airdropped CW munitions by Bashir, then NATO forces will probably be forced to attack some or all of the Syrian Air Force. In a way, if Bashir uses aircraft and not missiles, the military problem is slightly easier, since aircraft are easier to locate and destroy than missiles. Moreover, this avoids the problem of bombing facilities that could house chemical agent with the result that the agent is dispersed with unpredictable lethal consequences depending on the wind among other things.

There is yet a larger consequence to this series of events. If Bashir is really going down this path, it suggests a pattern of thinking that from our perspective lacks logic, even sanity. This is the problem with depending upon deterrence as a response to WMD. Deterrence depends upon both parties acting rationally. If Bashir does elect to pull the trigger on his CW forces, it will have grave implications for how the US will view the Iran nuclear program. The relatively patient approach applied to date will be viewed as lame and risky.

How will Tehran see this? what would Tehran advise Bashir to do? We have no clue. And yet we have to make decisions that attempt to take the Iran situation into account. Whatever happens, and however we react, one thing is certain, there will be major unintended and unpredicted consequences.

Let’s hope Bashir and all those in his CW chain of command reflect upon the predictable consequences of their releasing CW in the conflict.

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