Chemical Weapons Probably Used in Syria, Rogers Says – Businessweek

Chemical Weapons Probably Used in Syria, Rogers Says – Businessweek.

By Silla Brush on March 24, 2013

U.S. Representative Mike Rogers said it is “probable” that the regime of Syria’s Bashar al- Assad has used chemical weapons in that country’s civil war.

“When you look at the whole body of information” that “over the last two years there is mounting evidence that it is probable that the Assad regime has used at least a small quantity of chemical weapons,” Rogers, a Michigan Republican and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said today on CBS’s “Face the Nation” program.

Syrian government claims of a rebel chemical attack, and opposition counterclaims that regime forces resorted to chemical warfare in three instances since December, have sparked concern over the safekeeping of chemical weapons in a two-year civil war that has killed more than 70,000 people. Syria holds the region’s largest stockpile.

The United Nations said March 21 that it will investigate the Assad government’s claims that opposition forces killed 25 people in Aleppo province by launching a rocket laden with chemicals on March 19. The opposition said Assad’s troops used a toxic weapon.

While rebel fighters, including groups affiliated with a al-Qaeda in Iraq, have pushed Assad’s army from territory in the north of the country, they have failed to create a united political and military structure two years after anti-Assad protests began.

Mideast Destabilization

“This is a growing destabilizing event in the Middle East,” Rogers said. “The fact that they have, I think, put chemical weapons in a position to use, and I believe have intent and at some course during the last two years have used some quantity of chemical weapons, this needs to be a game changer.”

The U.S. needs to reengage with the opposition “so we can vet them, train them, equip them so that they can be an effective fighting force,” Rogers said.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged Iraq’s Shiite- dominated government today to stop Iranian aircraft from using Iraqi airspace to ship arms and fighters to Syria’s military. Shiite Muslim-ruled Iran supports Assad, whose Alawite sect is affiliated with Shiite Islam.

Syria and Israel exchanged gunfire this weekend in the Golan Heights, which Israel captured from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war. Syria’s neighbors, including Israel and Turkey, fear the possibility that terrorist groups will get hold of Syria’s chemical weapons.

President Barack Obama last week promised an extra $200 million in aid to help Syria’s neighbor Jordan cope with the flood of refugees from Syria that King Abdullah II says is straining his country’s economy as well as posing a risk to regional stability. Jordan has absorbed 460,000 refugees fleeing the Syrian civil war and that number may double by the end of the year, according to Abdullah.

DHS Ammunition Stockpile: Over A Dozen Congressmen Demanding Investigation – DHS Ammunition Stockpile: Over A Dozen Congressmen Demanding Investigation March 22, 2013 Print Version Source: Freedom Outpost Just a couple of days ago, I reported on two congressmen who were demanding that the Department of Homeland Security explain their solicitations of 1.6 billion bullets for purchase. Congressman Leonard Lance (R-NJ) and Representative Timothy Huelscamp (R-KS) both want answers to why DHS needs to be purchasing that much ammunition, seeing that they are a domestic agency. Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-CA) along with 14 other House representatives have written a letter to DHS wanting to know what the Federal agency is buying so many rounds of ammunition and whether or not they are doing it deliberately to restrict the supply to the American people. That’s right friends. With the main stream wanting to poo poo this story, it is finally making its way to House Representatives and there are finally voices calling for accountability. “The extraordinary level of ammunition purchases made by Homeland Security seems to have, in states such as my own, created an extreme shortage of ammunition to the point where many gun owners are unable to purchase any,” LaMalfa wrote in the letter. LaMalfa pointed out that there are spending cuts, which I’ve pointed out are not any real cuts, across the board, so he wants to know why nearly 2 billion rounds of ammunition, enough for a 24 year war, were being solicited by DHS. “In light of these developments, the lack of transparency and questions that have been raised pertaining to these purchases,” Representative LaMalfa asked the following of DHS: For what purpose is the Department of Homeland Security purchasing over 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition? How many rounds of ammunition does Homeland Security currently have in its possession? Is the current level of ammunition purchases by the Department in line with previous levels of ammunition purchases made by the Department? In response to inquiries into these purchases, why has the Department redacted, blacked out, or classified certain sections of its solicitations that had been previously available to the public? Are these purchases being conducted in a manner that strategically denies the American people access to ammunition? How much has Homeland Security spent purchasing ammunition within the last year when it was clear the department was likely to face a budget cut? Please include planned expenditures for current bid solicitations in this figure. The letter was signed by fifteen members of Congress, including LaMalfa. Not only has this hurt law enforcement, as some have had to restrict their use of ammunition, as well as how much police officers are allowed to carry, but it has led for an increased demand in the marketplace. With that said, we must take into account how the market works. Part of the reasons for ammunition and gun availability is due to citizen’s run on both following the 2012 elections (and yes, the numbers are clear that fraud was committed, but is anyone doing anything about it?). The Congressman and his staff were traveling Thursday and according to his office they are back in California, so he was unavailable to comment himself to Freedom Outpost. Rick Greco, who is a Redding Gun shop owner, said he was troubled by “panic buying” due to proposed gun legislation. “Gun control (talks) have the reverse effect,” Greco said. “They say they are going to try to protect us by taking our guns away. It doesn’t make sense. All that does is it fuels the sense that ‘I better buy now because I might not be able to later.’” While the Federal government said last month that the munitions purchases for Homeland Security that are to be purchased over the next four to five years are for law enforcement agents that are training and on duty, LaMalfa is suspicious, as we all are with this administration. The Federal solicitations to purchase ammunition are known as “strategic sourcing contracts.” These help ensure a low price for a large purchase. One thing that should not be overlooked in all of this is that Barack Obama did say that he thought he should have a “civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well funded” as the military. Take into account that Obama’s DHS graduated its first group of FEMA corps, reminiscent of Hitler’s Brown Shirts, back in September, 2012. Read more: