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Israel Threatens Military Intervention in Syria if Rebels Get Chemical Weapons

Israel’s top leadership is worried that chemical weapons are going to fall into the hands of the Syrian rebels or perhaps Hezbollah, and plans for “preventive operations” are already in place, Reuters reports:

Should Lebanon’s Hezbollah guerrillas or rebels battling forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad obtain Syria’s chemical weapons, [Silvan] Shalom [Israel’s vice premier] told Israel’s Army Radio: “It would dramatically change the capabilities of those organizations.”

Such a development would be “a crossing of all red lines that would require a different approach, including even preventive operations,” he said, alluding to military intervention for which Israeli generals have said plans have been readied.

“The concept, in principle, is that this (chemical weapons transfer) must not happen,” Shalom said. “The moment we begin to understand that such a thing is liable to happen, we will have to make decisions.”

With the news that Patriot missile batteries stationed on Turkey’s border with Syria are now operational, and with Iran threatening that any foreign attack on Syria will be considered an attack on Iran itself, the Syrian civil war is threatening to engulf the whole region. The longer the war drags on the higher the chances of Syria’s chemical weapons being used or disappearing into the hands of unsavory characters, and the higher the chances of international intervention.

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