We’ve heard this threat before, but an official told Wired that this time, it’s much more serious. Over the weekend, Wired says, engineers began mixing the two chemical agents necessary to make sarin gas — isopropanol, which you know as rubbing alcohol and methylphosphonyl difluoride. The Assad regime has amassed some 500 tonnes of these agents, but had kept them separate — in binary form — to avoid an accidental release of nerve gas. But no longer. The troops have cooked up sarin and are ready to use it to kill Syrian people when Assad says the word.
If Syria does use chemical weapons, it could warrant US involvement. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called that move a “red line” that would cause American forces to act. The Pentagon, however, wouldn’t elaborate beyond saying that any use of chemical weapons would be “unacceptable”.
The internet might be back, but it’s clear that otherwise things are just getting worse. The writing, as they say, is on the wall. Earlier today, the UN began pulling all non-essential staff out of Damascus. Then airport officials in Egypt made a commercial plane en route for Damascus turn around. And the Israeli government is supposedly considering a plan to take out the sites where chemical weapons are stored. But apparently these arms are ready enough that they could be loaded intp a plane and dropped over Syria at any moment. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. [Wired]