Assad ‘moved’ chemical weapons, sought cooperation with ‘state of Israel:’ leaks
Officially, the Syrian regime and its allies, Russia and Iran, have consistently dismissed allegations that President Bashar al-Assad intends to use or relocate chemical weapons in his ongoing war for survival.
But classified documents obtained by Al Arabiya have revealed that the Syrian regime did move chemical weapons stockpile with the help of Iran and knowledge of Russia.
Furthermore, additional documents also reveal that Assad has also sought cross border cooperation with the “State of Israel” which the Syrian regime often refers to in public as a hostile “entity”.
The confidential files were acquired by Al Arabiya with the assistance of members of the Syrian opposition who refused to elaborate on how they got hold of the documents.
Al Arabiya says that it has verified and authenticated hundreds of these documents and that it has decided to disclose the ones with substantial news value and political relevance.
‘Wareheads ready to be relocated’
In a highly-classified -- but undated -- document sent from Iran, Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force, a division of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), addressed President Assad directly, affirming that the chemical warheads are ready to be relocated.
This was in contrary to previous statements by Iran that it would not support any country with plans to use the chemicals.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi had said that Iran could not support any country -- including ally Syria -- that used such weapons, calling this “a situation that will end everything.”
“If any country... uses weapons of mass destruction, that is the end of the validity, eligibility, legality, whatever you name it, of that government,” he said at a talk given to the Council on Foreign Relations think tank.
Last week, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta had already divulged that the Syrians have moved some of their chemical weapons capability to better secure it.
It was not clear when the movement took place, or even if it was recent, but Panetta told a Pentagon news conference it had occurred in more than one case.
In a recent TV interview, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem accused the United States of seeking a pretext to attack Syria, comparing the tactic to those that preceded the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
“It is a myth they invented to launch a campaign against Syria like they did in Iraq,” he said.
Reason why document was undated
In another leaked document, also obtained by Al Arabiya; an order sent from the Syrian Presidential Palace and signed by the head of the Foreign Intelligence Service; Maj. Gen. Bassam Marhej discusses the detection of an “administrative error.”
The error, which apparently is a leak of secret documents, was discovered by the Joint Command (Syria-Iran-Russia) in cooperation with the Syrian embassy in Moscow.
The supposed “error” was likely related to information about Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles.
According to Marhej -- and following the discovery of the “error” -- Syrian President Assad issued orders prohibiting writing reference numbers and/or dates on secret official documents.
He also ordered that all top-secret (written) instructions to be delivered ‘by hand’ and to be ‘burnt’ following receipt along with all telegram and written communication in all embassies and diplomatic missions.
Assad’s confidentiality instructions were to be implemented immediately, the document said.
Relation with Israel
Another batch of leaked files obtained by Al Arabiya were related to the Syrian regime’s secret relations to Israel.
Officially, the two states are at war; particularly since Israel is still occupying the Syrian Golan Heights.
On April 3, 2011, less than one month after the beginning of the popular uprising in Syria, the Chief of the Syrian Air Force Intelligence, Sakr Mennoun, sent a written order to Col. Suheil Hassan to head to the Syrian-Israeli borders and ensure the safety of the frontiers.
Mannoun requests from Hassan to secure the borders “in cooperation with the state of Israel.”
Al Arabiya’s exclusive series on the newly-leaked Syrian security documents continues on Saturday Oct. 6.