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Retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely admits to having confirmation that Syrian forces have used chemical weapons against rebel forces and civilians. Those those weapons are likely stockpiles received from Iraq prior to the U.S.-led invasion ten years ago.
Prohibition of the use of chemical and bacteriological methods of warfare dates back to the June, 1925 Geneva Protocol, which was enforced in February 1928. The agreement was prompted by the experiences of World War I, during which the battlefield use of chemical agents caused an estimated 1 300 000 casualties, including 90 000 deaths.
Vallely has met twice in the region with military commanders for the Free Syrian Army, the largest and more moderate faction among the rebels, which also include elements of al-Qaida and the Muslim Brotherhood. Vallely recently told World Net Daily that he is certain that a chlorine gas weapon was used in recent strikes.
In an interview with World Net Daily, he said that “After the takedown of Saddam in 2003, there was a big survey done by U.S. forces all throughout Iraq. Basically, as far as I know, all of the bio and chemical weapons had been moved. They found semblance of a growing nuclear development program, but it was not an aggressive program by any means. So the fact is that he had them, used them on his own people. He knew he had to get them out of there, and there was a big cover-up and deception in how he moved them over there. We did know about them, but the Bush administration never came forth and explained to the American people that situation.”
There have been reports of chemical warfare from the Gulf War since the early months of Iraq s invasion of Iran. In 1984, the Iranian Foreign Minister reported that there had been at least 49 instances of Iraqi chemical-warfare attack in 40 border regions, and that the documented dead totaled 109 people, with hundreds more wounded. According to official Iranian statements during the 31 days following the Foreign Minister's allegation, Iraq used chemical weapons on at least 14 further occasions, adding more than 2200 to the total number of people wounded by poison gas.
Whether or not sensitive weapons technology was moved to Syria is a hotly disputed question in the intelligence community. However, James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence and formerly the director of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, said in 2003 that he believed materials had been moved out of Iraq in the months before the war and cited satellite imagery.
Vallely said the arsenal now in Syria’s possession most likely includes Serrin and VX nerve gas in addition to chlorine, and the likely shelf life of the weapons means they would still be usable
There are also reports of secret arms shipments flowing into the region to help topple the Assad regime. During the investigation of the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., questioned then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about weapons from the Ghaddafi regime in Libya being smuggled to the Syrian rebels through Turkey. Vallely was less certain about reports of weapons being moved in to help the rebels.