What if al Qaeda Gets Syrian Chemical Weapons?
- Time Magazine
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A bus used as barricade from sniper fire is seen beside a mosque at Sheikh Maksoud front line in Aleppo, May 3, 2013 (photo)
May 7.─ Even in light of recent evidence that Syria's embattled ruler, Bashar al-Assad, might have used nerve gas against his own people, Barack Obama seems reluctant to escalate American involvement in Syria's brutal civil war. But another scenario involving chemical weapons could force Obama into the deeper engagement he has long resisted: the alarming prospect that radical Islamists could acquire Syrian chemical weapons and try to use them beyond Syria's borders, perhaps even within the United States.
"I think we should be worried," says Jeffrey White an analyst at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and former military intelligence officer. "As the war progresses and the rebels gain territory, assuming they do, inevitably they're going to close in on some of the regime's chemical facilities." In fact, that has already happened. Earlier this year, rebel fighters with the powerful Jabat al Nusra faction–a group the State Department calls an extension of al Qaeda in Iraq–battled close enough to a major Syrian chemical stockpile near Aleppo that the regime is believed to have relocated its weapons to another location.
In theory, this is a nightmare scenario. Read more ...