Chemical Weapons in Syria Worry Israel
Israel announced on Sunday that it could launch a strike to prevent the chemical weapons of Syria from reaching al-Qaeda groups or Hezbollah in Lebanon. The new warning by Israel came as its military was moving rocket defense systems to an important city in the northern part of the country.
Israel has for quite some time expressed its concerns that Bashar al-Assad, the President of Syria, who clings to power, could lose the control of his country’s chemical weapons at some point. Silvan Shalom, the Vice Prime Minister of Israel said that the top security officials in the country took part in a special meeting held last week to discuss the arsenal of chemical weapons Syria possesses.
Shalom said the weapons transfer to violent groups, in particular the Hezbollah in Lebanon, who are backed by Iran, would change the entire outlook of the ongoing conflict in Syria. He said if that were to happen a different approach would be needed, even action if necessary.
Israel has stayed away from becoming involved in the civil war in Syria that has cost over 60,000 their lives. However, Israel is concerned that the violence will spill from Syria’s northern border into Israel.
The Israeli military deployed on Sunday its rocket defense system to Haifa in the north. The city was hit hard in 2006 from rocket fire from the Hezbollah. The Iron Dome defense system, a system developed by the Israelis, shoots down short range missiles that are incoming. It was used to help defend a number of cities in Israel during hostilities from Hamas militants last November in the Gaza Strip.
Israel is maintaining a close eye on Syria to make sure the chemical weapons of the regime do not fall into the hands of people who could turn around and hurt Israel.