US Intelligence Sources have reported, and the Pentagon has confirmed that Syrian Forces have began the process of mixing or combining chemicals to create the deadly toxin sarin. The chemicals have reportedly been moved closer to delivery systems such as artillery and mortars. All signs that Assad is preparing to use his chemical arsenal against his own people.
Secretary of State Clinton, while on a visit to Prague, the Czech Republic, sternly warned Assad, "We have made our views clear, do not to cross the red line". "I am not going to broadcast what actions we will take"she said. President Obama warned earlier this year that would be a "red line" which would require an immediate military response. He too said today regarding Assad, "If you use chemical weapons there will be consequences. Make no mistake about it." The Syrian Foreign Ministry responded it would not use chemical weapons, their actions speak otherwise. According to Barbara Starr of CNN, "you do not mix these chemicals unless you intend to use them."
All of this action comes just days ofter Syria had been plunged into a communication blackout as the regime cut Internet, cell phone service, land line and electricity to much of the country. Activist and journalist were the first to ring the alarm that Assad may be preparing to use his chemicals as his grip on the country slips faster and faster. Internet service has since been restored, but has many wondering if it was used to cover the movement of chemical weapons, or as a dry run for when he does use his chemical weapons. The US has many military options available if Assad crosses the line. The US has an extensive presence in the Persian Gulf, including an aircraft carrier with strike capabilities well within its range. In addition, the US and many other nations special forces have trained for months in Jordan to secure or destroy these chemical weapons.
As a journalist I would like to address speculation and exaggeration about the amount of "Islamic extremist" involved in the fight for Syria. In recent days we have seen stories using such language as this is a "game changer" or "this changes everything" in regards to FSA forces obtaining shoulder launched surface to air missiles. Weapons which they captured themselves from Assad forces. People have taken the opportunity to use the acquisition of such weapons to spread fear the entire opposition movement has been hijacked. It has not. The facts are the facts. Assad has killed much more than forty thousand and his crimes are well documented. In some people minds he is less sinister than the minority of Islamist fighters. Over a year ago, FSA fighters said they would make a deal with the Devil to get help the rest of the world would not give. The people of Syria will sort this out when Assad is gone. Don't equate the evil of Assad using chemical weapons to the presence of a few hundred Islamist fighting to overthrow him. The majority of FSA members are defectors from the Syrian Army, not Islamist. That too is fact.