Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Dany Shoham

Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Dany Shoham

Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Dany Shoham

(Ph.D. Tel Aviv University) Former senior analyst in IDF military intelligence and the Ministry of Defense. Specializes in chemical and biological warfare in the Middle East and worldwide. Email: [email protected]

The Wide Spectrum of North Korea’s Weapons of Mass Destruction

| September 26, 2017

In parallel with its growing offensive nuclear capabilities, North Korea possesses fully operational, extensive arsenals of chemical and biological weapons. Pyongyang’s possession of these weapons, which are intact and ready for use, has serious implications, some of which pertain to Iran and Syria.

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Defying Syrian Employment of Chemical Weapons: An Outstanding American Move

Thanks to concrete intelligence attained in real time, the US was able to warn Syria, publicly and decisively, about repeated employment of chemical weapons. This unusual development is meaningful on several levels, and mirrors the delicate geopolitical balance that exists in Syria and beyond.

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The Syrian Sarin Attacks of August 2013 and April 2017

The sarin attacks in Syria of August 2013 and April 2017 resemble one another closely. They reflect a strategic mode that might be repeated yet again by Assad, as long as he remains fully backed by Russia and Iran. At the same time, the geopolitical shift suggested by the recent US military response in Syria marks a desirable turn with consequential implications regarding the ongoing relationships among the US, Syria, Russia, and Iran.

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Iran Is Progressing Towards Nuclear Weapons Via North Korea

This analysis argues that Iran is steadily making progress towards a nuclear weapon and is doing so via North Korea. Iran is unwilling to submit to a years-long freeze of its military nuclear program as stipulated by the July 2015 Vienna Nuclear Deal. North Korea is ready and able to provide a clandestine means of circumventing the deal, which would allow the Iranians to covertly advance that nuclear program. At the same time, Iran is likely assisting in the upgrading of certain North Korean strategic capacities.

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Sanctioning the Syrians

The recent US sanctions against 18 senior Syrian officers for chemical weapons (CW) employment seem to represent little more than a last-ditch compensation for the hands-off record of the outgoing Obama administration. However, despite their poor timing, these sanctions are considerably more meaningful than they might at first appear.

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Chemical Weapons in Syria, Iraq and Beyond: Assessment and Implications

Chemical weapons (CW) continue to be employed frequently in Syria and Iraq. While the scale of attacks has been relatively minor so far, the possibility remains that the Islamic State (IS) might attempt a high-impact WMD attack. Hezbollah, too, which is present in both Syria and Lebanon, might wish to be – or indeed, already may be – equipped with CW

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Chemical Weapons Could Change the Game in Syria

The Syrian regime unleashed full military grade chemical weapons against IS several weeks ago, a move that occasioned little response from the wider world. The assault demonstrated that the dismantling of the Syrian chemical arsenal has not been fulfilled. If repeated, the attack might precipitate a dangerous escalation of the conflict in which IS accelerates its own pursuit of WMDs.

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Does ISIS Pose a WMD Threat?

The risk of ISIS employing chemical, biological, and radiological warfare agents is real. In fact, ISIS already has attacked with chemical agents. ISIS has mobilized Iraqi and Syrian scientists who are assisting in the development of chemical weapons, particularly nerve and mustard gas, alongside foreign experts. It also has reportedly moved its labs, experts, and materials from Iraq to Syria.

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Syria’s Chemical Weapon Obfuscations

The reluctance of the international community to act forcibly regarding undeclared Syrian chemical weapon capabilities is a very bad sign. It raises doubts about full implementation of intelligence-gathering operations and effective monitoring of the Iranian nuclear program.

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Has Syria’s Chemical Weapons Arsenal Truly Been Dismantled?

June 30 marks the due date for the complete disarmament of Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal. Although Assad may have relinquished the majority of his chemical weapons stockpile, the regime most probably possesses additional ‘undeclared’ facilities.

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