[News] Syria’s Secret Chemical Weapons Sources

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Fri Sep 27 16:38:05 EDT 2013


September 27-29, 2013

http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/09/27/syrias-secret-chemical-weapons-sources/


  Syria’s Secret Chemical Weapons Sources

by M. KOOHZAD

A few retired American generals tell us, mainly on the 24-hour news 
channels, that possessing chemical weapons is illegal. This is true, 
according to the Geneva Convention of 1925. But, countries that have not 
signed this document are not obligated to follow the law. The US did not 
sign it until 1975, right after using the largest amount of chemicals 
ever used in warfare, including Agent Orange in Vietnam. The mainstream 
media also tell us that Iraq and Syria were not among the signatories. 
Many of the reporters do not know why! Actually, Iraq and Syria did not 
even exist in 1925. Iraq obtained independence from the British in 1932 
and Syria received independence in 1946 from the French. Indeed, many of 
the present problems in both nations are among the unsolved legacies of 
European colonialism.

Of course, owning and using the chemical materials are illegal acts, but 
what about producing and selling them? Essentially, we need to know who 
is supplying these weapons to Syria. I put this question to four 
activists-authors-scholars who I thought might know. Before receiving 
any answer, I googled my own question. I got one big hit. According to 
an article in the /Guardian/, the British government issued a license to 
a British company allowing the sales of chemical arsenals to Syria.

 From two of those individuals that I contacted, I have received no 
reply. The other two answered via emails. One said these materials came 
from Iraq and another one alleged they came from Saudi Arabia. It is not 
astonishing, however, if both Iraq and Saudi Arabia presently have 
chemical arsenals. But, Iraqis and Saudis still had to buy the chemical 
weapons or the raw materials from somebody else. In the case of Iraq, 
the chemical arsenals might be the leftovers of what Western 
manufacturers, including the US, sold Saddam.

On September 4, 2013, I left a comment/question at the end of Mr. Mufid 
Abdulla’s (2013) article dealing with similarities between Assad and 
Saddam’s chemical attacks. I wrote “Does anybody know what 
countries/companies produce and supply Syria with these chemical 
weapons?” To my surprise one reader by the penname of Nuha left a link 
under my question leading me to a site belonging to /rt.com/. 
Apparently, /rt/ or /Russia Today/, is an international multilingual 
Russian-based television network located in Moscow. It is registered as 
an autonomous non-profit organization. Evidently, it is the most popular 
news channel in Britain after the BBC and Sky.

Most of the information in the /rt.com’s/ brief article came from two 
British newspapers, the /Daily Mail /and the /Sunday Mail. /The site 
reported that “Between July 2004 and May 2010, the British government 
issued five export licenses to two companies, allowing them to sell 
Syria *sodium fluoride*, necessary for the production of *Sarin*, a 
nerve gas that is hundreds of times deadlier than *cyanide*, is 
considered one of the world’s most dangerous chemical warfare agents. It 
works on the nervous system, over-stimulating muscles and vital organs, 
and a single drop can be lethal in minutes.” The site also reported, 
“The January* *2012* *licenses were given in the knowledge that both 
substances could also be used as precursor chemicals in the manufacture 
of chemical weapons…”

There is hardly any research done with regards to similarities between 
Iraq and Syria’s sources of the chemical weapons. It is well known, 
however, that the Western powers received cash rewards and were 
compensated for producing and providing Saddam Hussein with all types of 
poisonous gases that he used to kill civilian Kurds. John Simpson of BBC 
was on the ground in *Halabja* in 1988. He was one of the few Western 
journalists who tried to count the dead bodies of the victims of Western 
technology and Eastern brutality in this city. Simpson was sure that 
more than 5,000 mainly Kurdish children were killed by chemical weapons 
in Halabja. He wrote in 2012, in the only investigative recordings so 
far available, “There is a clear political sense that as long as those 
*foreign companies* that *knowingly* supplied these awful weapons remain 
*/unpunished/*, this tragic chapter will never fully be closed.” (My 
emphasis).

Apparently, Iraq had the basic capability to produce some rudimentary 
forms of these types of weapons locally. It is highly likely that 
producing poisonous gases to kill the Kurds in Iraq goes back to the 
time when the British Royal Air Force initiated killing the Kurds in 
northern Iraq. Sir Winston Churchill approved the use of leftover 
mustard gas from WWI against the Kurds in May of *1919*. But, according 
to Simpson (2012) the Soviet Union was the most important supplier of 
the raw materials, machineries, and training of the Iraqis in the use 
and application of these killing materials in Kurdistan.

Based on many of the shells found at Halabja, Simpson reported, “With 
regard to Western companies, there is data pointing to *85 German*, *19 
French*, *18 British* and*18 US* suppliers.” Thus, a total of *140 
Western corporations* participated in being “merchants of death” to 
Saddam Hussein. More importantly, more than half, 61%, of the companies 
were German owned. But, it is still not possible to learn who sold 
Saddam the most gas or received most of the money from Baghdad. It is 
probable that a single American or British manufacturing corporation 
could have supplied the largest amount and even received less cash 
rewards. Ankara, Baghdad, Tehran, and Damascus could not have killed the 
largest numbers of civilian Kurds without direct support, sales, and 
participation from the West.

The Kurds have been murdered longer and more frequently than any other 
ethnic group in the history of mankind. The caves and the mountains of 
Kurdistan are the most gassed places in the world. The British work of 
killing Kurds from above was continued by Ataturk in 1925 and 1937-38. 
His adopted daughter, *Sabiha Gokcen*, Turkey’s first woman pilot, 
actively took part in the air campaign against the Kurds. She carried 
out bombing sorties over civilian-populated areas. The countries that 
supplied the largest amount of chemical weapons to Saddam knew well 
ahead of time that he was going to kill more Kurds, over 182,000 of them.

In all of these mass-murders, acts of genocide, the Western colonial 
powers – including the American, the British, the French, the Germans, 
and the Russians – were willing participants. Actually, the American 
corporations selling as merchants of death were competing with the 
European ones in selling Saddam whatever he wished to buy. These 
countries/companies benefited financially from the killing of the Kurds 
because of their ethnicity. The sources and suppliers of the chemical 
weapons are no longer a secret. The Western corporations that 
*knowingly* provided chemical weapons to Saddam or Assad must not remain 
*/unpunished/*.

/*Dr. *M. *Koohzad* is a Professor Emeritus of Middle Eastern Studies in 
the United States. /

*Sources:*

Abdulla, Mufid. “Assad’s chemical attack is reminiscent of Saddam.” 
/Kurdistan tribune.com,/ September 4, 2013. 
/http://kurdistantribune.com/2013/assads-chemical-attack-reminiscent-of-saddam//

rt.com. “UK delivered Syria chemicals needed for sarin production ‘for 6 
years’”/rt.com, /Published time: September 08, 2013 12:03. Edited time: 
September 09, 2013 05:33. 
/http://rt.com/news/uk-sarin-syria-weapons-chemical-573//

Simpson, John. “Halabja chemical weapons: A chance to find the men who 
armed Saddam.” /bbc.co.uk,/ 2 December 2012 Last updated at 19:02 
ET./http://www.bbc.co.uk/ news/magazine-20553826/ 
<http://www.bbc.co.uk/%20news/magazine-20553826>

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