Syria's use of chemical agents against its own population was enabled by Iran:
The 59 Tomahawk missiles the US fired at the Shayrat Air Base served to punish dictator Bashar Assad for his use of chemical weapons against civilians.
The strikes on April 6 also helped shine a spotlight on Iran’s role in Assad’s repeated use of nerve agents, because the mullahs’ Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps were at Shayrat.
What the rapid-fire news cycle didn’t say early this month was that Tehran and Damascus jump-started a program to develop a sophisticated Syrian chemicals arsenal as early as 2004.
The British publication Jane’s Defense Weekly reported in 2005 that the Islamic Republic would work with Syria to build an “innovative chemical warfare program.”
Iran’s role was to build equipment to produce “hundreds of tons of precursors for VX, sarin and mustard.”
Assad first used sarin nerve gas to attack the Damascus suburb of Ghouta in 2013, killing nearly 1,500 civilians, including 426 children.
Then-president Barack Obama then infamously retreated from his redline, that Assad’s use of chemical weapons would trigger some kind of military response.
Obama reached a deal with the Russians and Assad to remove all chemical weapons from Syria in exchange for no military action.
Then-secretary of state John Kerry said in 2014: “We got 100% of the chemical weapons [out of Syria].”
Yet, the former head of Syria’s weapons research program, Brig.-Gen. Zaher al Sakat, said last week that Assad hid sizable amounts of sarin gas – and other lethal nerve agents – after the deal was reached with Obama.
“They [the regime] admitted only to 1,300 tons, but we knew in reality that they had nearly double that.”
Sakat said Assad’s arsenal today may include several hundred tons of sarin.
The result of Obama’s tenure for Syria, to cite a Tweet this month by Bill Kristol of The Weekly Standard: “President Obama – drew a redline & backed down. He left office 500,000 deaths later, Assad in power & with chemical weapons.”
The international community now knows, at least since Assad’s April 4 sarin gas attack on civilians in Idlib province, that Kerry’s assurance was empty rhetoric....
Contrary to Iran’s assertions that it abhors chemical weapons – and would never use nerve agents – growing evidence shows Tehran’s deep involvement in Assad’s nerve agent technology and role in this month’s attack in Khan Sheikhoun.
Sadly, missing from the heated debates over punishing Assad is Iran’s complicity.