The Israeli government has the ability to keep Syrian chemical weapons out of the hands of terror groups, and will not hesitate to use the means at its disposal to do so, the former head of the National Security Council said Monday.
“Israel said that it will not abide the use of the chemical weapons stockpile,” Uzi Arad asserted in an interview with Army Radio. “You can assume that the statement is backed up by operational ability… using the various branches that Israel has.”
Arad explained that the plan was to create a “protective screen” that would prevent the movement of chemical weapons.
Whereas the worry that Hezbollah in Lebanon may get its hands on chemical weapons is not new, the chaos of the Syrian civil war has raised the specter of additional threats.
“The concern that the weapons will be formally handed over to Hezbollah has been around for a long time,” Arad said. “The other concerns that have recently arisen are that the irregular forces in Syria will take control of the weapons, and some of these are terror groups in every sense of the word.”
In addition, Arad explained, there is a third possibility wherein President Bashar Assad, in a desperate attempt to stay in power, could turn the chemical weapons on his own people, with the backing of Iran.
“Each of these scenarios requires some kind of a response from Israel, the countries in the area and those further afield,” he said. “Those responses can be a deterrent to Syria.”
Jordan is also wary of the developments and has reportedly begun amassing military units along the Syrian border. Jerusalem and Amman are said to be working closely in an effort to contain the chemical weapons threat, and the Hashemite kingdom is reportedly acting as a middleman in keeping other countries in the region apprised of Israeli assessments.