Panetta: Syrian Chemical Weapons Threat Subsides

Panetta: Syrian Chemical Arms Threat Subsides | “We haven’t seen anything new indicating any aggressive steps,” Panetta said.

US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Tuesday backed off of last week’s bluster about the Syrian regime’s preparations for the possible use of chemical weapons, saying they have slowed those preparations.

Starting last week, Washington began warning about the possibility that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad might use his chemical weapons stockpiles against the armed rebellion trying to overthrow his regime, a scenario the Obama administration used to outline the chances of military action.

But Panetta on Tuesday suggested the threat was no longer escalating, in a sign they wanted to calm the waters or perhaps operate more in the covert world.

“At this point the intelligence has really kind of leveled off,” he said. “We haven’t seen anything new indicating any aggressive steps to move forward in that way.”

Panetta said, “I like to believe he’s got the message,” suggesting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was heeding Western warnings about chemical weapons. “We’ve made it pretty clear. Others have as well.”

But the Assad regime said all along they would never use chemical weapons.

“Syria stresses again, for the tenth, the hundredth time, that if we had such weapons, they would not be used against its people. We would not commit suicide,” Assad’s deputy foreign minister said on Thursday, adding that the West was whipping up fears  as a “pretext for intervention.”

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Author: John Glaser

John Glaser writes for Antiwar.com.

  • survivor

    Well Mr. Nobel Peace Prize winner how did Syria go from they are preparing to use them and now oh, they have backed off. what a crock of sh*t administration.

  • Subsides? No, their lies have been exposed and that line of propaganda won't fly as easily as it did with Iraq and Libya. Why are there then? Why are we arming Syria's invading mercanaries? Why are we even threatening Syria?

  • Pingback: ‘Propaganda’ on Syrian Chemical Weapons « Antiwar.com Blog()

  • lydia476

    Me thinks Vadimir Putin, one of the major stakeholder, and not known for his tolerance, called the US in for a pow wow and read them the riot act, "desist with this nonsense or we will provide Assad with some even more lethal weaponry".