Thursday, July 19, 2007

Syria: Chemical Warfare Threat (1986)

1986 Dry Bones cartoon - Syria and Chemical Warfare.

Below is the series of events in 1986 leading up to the publishing of this cartoon on December 03, 1986:

Early 1986
Unidentified US officials describe Syria's chemical weapons capabilities as including domestically produced sarin.
-Aharon Levran, ed., The Middle East Military Balance 1986 (Tel Aviv: Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, 1987), pp. 94-95.

June 5, 1986
The United States bans the sale of eight chemical precursors to Syria.
-David B. Ottaway, "Syria included in ban of chemical arms ingredients," Washington Post, 6 June 1986, p. A35.

August 7, 1986
In a speech before Israel's National Defense College, Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres announces that Syria is spending large sums to acquire surface-to-surface missiles and to develop chemical warheads. This publicly reported statement represents a change in Israeli policy, which had previously censored all mention of Syrian chemical weapons capabilities.
-Reuters, "Syria plans 'poison gas warheads'," Daily Telegraph, 8 August 1986.

August 7, 1986
Syria is reported to be helping the Iranian CW program, which is described as much smaller than the Syrian program.
-Michael Gordon, "Talks resume to stop spread of chemical arms," New York Times, 25 August 1986, p. A4.

December 2, 1986
Israeli Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin tells parliament, "we are aware that Syria is armed with chemical weapons, artillery shells, bombs, and ground-to-ground missile warheads...including nerve gas." He also states that Syria is engaged in the production of gas carrying bombs.
-Andrew Meisels, "Israel Confirms Syria has Chemical Weapons," Washington Times, 3 December 1986, p. 1.

- For the complete timetable of reports about Syria and Chemical Warfare- 1968-1989, click here.

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