The Horror That Is Syria
Unless you simply could care less, or have been on a retreat in some isolated corner of the world, the Syrian internal war that has killed over 10,000 civilians continues to spiral into chaos. It is a chaos the world or the Middle East does not need. In some ways, it is now more important than the Iranian nuclear weapons issue.
Until recently, Syria's 4th Division has been in charge in securing the tons of chemical and biological weapons stored in large drum barrels, as if it was oil. These sites are close or in the areas where the warfare is spinning around. Now, the division has been ordered to assist in the actual war, as Syrian rebels up the ante. It is unclear just how much of the division remains to secure these dangerous weapons. Just one barrel of anthrax in the hands of a terrorist group, would be one of the greatest terrorist threats in its history. Millions could perish, if unleashed. Syria has the following stored in six underground bunkers: Sarin (GB), Tabun (GA) and VX nerve gases, and four kinds of mustard gas and anthrax. They are located at Al Safir, Cerin, Hama and Homs, Latakia; and Palmyra, on the highway between Homs and Aleppo. Three of the sites are in the fighting area.
Since the opposition groups to Assad are so ill-defined with confirmed Iranian and al-Qaeda groups in the mix with those seeking freedom, the chemical weapon sites are threatened. President Obama has proposed to Russia's Putin to have a 5000 man armed unit sent specifically sent to the six storage areas to secure them. The unit would be 50% Russian. This was done to alleviate Russian fears that the US was using it to invade Syria. The problem is, what if Putin sees it as chance to reclaim Syria or have Russian troops help Assad?
The Saudis also have proposed a plan to conduct massive airstrikes at Syria's command center where Assad resides at Mount Qassioun, northeast of Damascus. French warplanes taking off from the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean, Saudi and United Arab Emirates bombers flying in through Jordan would bomb it for 12 hours. The US role would be suppress Syrian airplanes by keeping them grounded and neutralizing their air defense systems. The French president has so far failed to persuade Obama, that by destroying Assad's center, his army in the field will begin to collapse.
Of course, the downside is if this was successful, Syria would REALLY be a chaotic place and even more prone to civil war. Then there is Iran, which has threatened that any intervention by foreigners in Syria will have consequences from them. Meanwhile, as the world is distracted with Syria, Iran continues enriching the uranium for their own nuclear bomb.