Israel forced to consider military action in Syria

Wednesday, October 17, 2012 |  Ryan Jones

Israel has been forced to consider injecting itself into Syria's ongoing civil war in order to prevent the country's chemical weapon stockpile from falling into the wrong hands, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed on Tuesday.

Netanyahu told European ambassadors that having Syrian weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) reach groups like Hizballah, Hamas or even some of the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated rebel groups is unacceptable to the Jewish state.

"Israel will do everything it takes to ensure Syria’s chemical weapons do not fall into the hands of terrorist organizations, and if such a situation arises, then Israel will weigh a military option," said Netanyahu.

Hizballah and Hamas, both of which maintain headquarters in Syria and are close to the regime of besieged dictator Bashar Assad, have on numerous occasions bombarded Israeli civilian centers with conventional missiles. Were those projectiles to be outfitted with chemical warheads, the results would be catastrophic.

Two weeks ago, US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta acknowledged that America and other Western powers are no longer sure of the whereabouts of all of Syria's chemical stockpile. "We just don't know" if all of Syria's WMDs are still under government control, Panetta told reporters at the Pentagon.

Panetta said it is conceivable that some of those weapons have already been seized by rebel forces, some of which are also affiliated with Al Qaeda, and therefore pose a grave threat to American interests.

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