Syria's Chemical Weapons Sparked Global Unity
'New York Times' takes a look at international response
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Jan 8, 2013 7:22 AM CST
In this Oct. 11, 2012 file photo, a view of hangars at a desert military training facility where US forces and a handful of British allies are training Jordanian commandos in Russeifeh, Jordan.   (AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon, File)

(Newser) – The New York Times today takes a behind-the-scenes look at the Syria chemical weapons scare that erupted in early December. Israel first contacted the Pentagon in late November, concerned by satellite images showing Syrian troops likely making sarin gas bombs. That call sparked a rare show of cooperation between countries that otherwise could not agree on what course of action to take in Syria. President Obama publicly warned Syria against using the weapons, while Russia, Iraq, and other countries sent private messages to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad; the combination led Syria to stop prepping the bombs, and Leon Panetta later said the immediate crisis had passed.

"I think the Russians understood this is the one thing that could get us to intervene in the war," says one senior defense official. But the weapons produced during that time still exist, and American and European officials are concerned. "What Assad understood, and whether that understanding changes if he gets cornered in the next few months, that’s anyone’s guess," the official continues. Officials say the bombs could be deployed within as little as two hours, giving the US and its allies little time to respond; those countries are considering whether to intervene and help the Syrian opposition destroy the country's air force, which is needed to deliver the bombs, but plans are vague. See the Times for more.

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Jan 8, 2013 12:33 PM CST
WTF ??????? Oh.... now the US wants to worry???
Jan 8, 2013 10:00 AM CST
Militants shoot dead 11 Syrian civilians in Homs Militants fighting against the Syrian government have shot dead at least 11 civilians in the western city of Homs as the fighting rages on between army troops and foreign-backed militants. The slaughter took place in a village near the western city of Homs on Tuesday. A woman is reported to be among the victims. Heavy clashes also broken out between militants and Palestinian refugees in the capital, Damascus, as the terrorists tried to enter the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp. There are also reports of clashes between government troops and militants in several parts of Syria, including Aleppo and near Damascus. Meanwhile, Syrian forces managed to defuse at least 8 explosive devices in Hama. Army Unit Kills Terrorists Firing Locally-made Missiles on People of Mhardeh in Hama A unit of the Armed Forces on Tuesday eliminated an armed terrorist group that was firing locally-made missiles on residential houses and neighborhoods in Mhardeh city in Hama. A military source told SANA reporter that terrorists Suleiman Ibrahim Suleiman and Murhaf Ahmad Shniyeh were identified among the killed. The Syrian Army has killed a large number of militants during clashes in the Idlib governorate in the country’s northwest as fighting continues between government troops and foreign-backed armed groups. The militants were killed in the al-Mastoumeh town of the governorate on Monday, the official SANA news agency reported. Government troops also destroyed the militants’ hideouts and confiscated their weapons. The Army also killed and wounded many members of armed terrorist groups in the Taftanaz, Taoum, and Binnish towns in the Idlib countryside. In addition, the security forces engaged militants on the outskirts of Damascus and killed several armed men on Monday. The Syrian troops also destroyed their hideouts and confiscated weapons. Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011. Many people, including large numbers of Army and security personnel, have been killed in the violence. The Syrian government says the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants fighting the Syrian government are foreign nationals. Several international human rights organizations have accused foreign-sponsored militants of committing war crimes.
Jan 8, 2013 9:40 AM CST
GLOBAL UNITY? --- It's like saying Obama brought the blue states and red states together? --- And like Obama has Al-Qaeda on the run? --- Yea, Al-Qaeda is running through Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, Syria, Libya, Tunisia, Mali, Yemen, and "all'" of Africa, heading for Europe, and then the Americas. --- Like Obama has brought "peace" to the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, and South America? --- Another Nobel Peace Prize for Obama the moron? --------- REALLY