William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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A NEW ALARM:  This is the kind of important story that slips in under the radar and is ignored by the all-Trump-all-the-time press.  But we think it's important for you to read it before it comes back and bites us.  From the Jerusalem Post: 

Iran is seeking to take over key parts of the Syrian defense industry, a new report by the Alma Research and Education Center, said on Wednesday.

Alma is focused on security threats to northern Israel and regularly reports on Iran, Hezbollah, and other threats in Syria and Lebanon.

“Syria is still producing and storing chemical substances at CERS with the feasibility of future military use, breaching International agreements,” the report said. CERS is also known as the Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC).

The investment in chemical weapons by Syria has been a serious threat for decades. Syria was supposed to dismantle its chemical weapons during the Syrian Civil War. However, the SSRC has continued work on various projects. Iran also plays a role in these sites. Alma raises concerns that in any next confrontation with Israel “would this type of weapon be used against IDF and Israeli civilians?”

The research also notes that any work with chemicals can lead to disasters like the explosion at the Beirut port caused by ammonium nitrate.  

The SSRC which is known in French as the Centre D'Etudes et de Recherches Scientifiques (CERS), was established in 1971. It has a number of sites in Syria with some 20,000 employees.

“Iran's major focus is to develop and manufacture precision missiles and rockets, cruise missiles, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) on Syrian soil, using the CERS Center's institutes in general,” the Alma report says. 

By working in Syria, Iran is able to shortcut the logistics needed to move weapons to Syria and Lebanon via a long distance, such as through Iraq to Albukamal on the Iraq-Syria border. The US has sanctioned hundreds of people linked to CERS. In 2018, US airstrikes targeted CERS and the US said that the strikes had set back the Syrian chemical weapons program for many years. Five years later it appears Iran’s tentacles are growing back and so are these dangerous sites. 

COMMENT:  This is not only a threat to Israel, it is a grim threat to American forces in the region. A chemical attack against American troops, pilots or ships could trigger a major war and produce mass casualties.  Russia is heavily involved in the region, thanks to the generosity of Field Marshal Barack Obama, and it would not shock me if the Russians had some access to these weapons.

I wonder if any of these chemical devices were part of the weapons of mass destruction that we couldn't find in Iraq.  Just askin', but before the Iraq War it was reliably reported that Iraq was moving part of its WMD to Syria.

This story should be taken seriously, especially at a time when tensions in the Mideast are high.  Or maybe we can just sit around and wait for a surprise.

August 2, 2023