DANIEL VAUGHAN: Does Iran Have Chemical Weapons? Here's What We Know...

October 25, 2023

Israel's case against Hamas was already irrefutable. The mountain of evidence against Hamas is so high that not acting against them is a morally depraved act unto itself, hence why Biden delaying a ground invasion is wrong. There's a new question about Hamas and Iran: do they have and plan to use chemical weapons?

We get this from an Axios report on new information from the IDF. Axios said, "The Israeli military found a USB key with instructions for the production of a 'cyanide dispersion device' on the body of a Hamas operative who participated in the Oct. 7 terrorist attack."

Hamas Has Plans For Chemical Weapons.

After finding this, Israeli intelligence sent this to every Western nation, including the United States. Israeli President Isaac Herzog confirmed the report later. Axios added, "Israeli intelligence traced the origin of the document to a 2003 Al-Qaeda manual, the Israeli Foreign Ministry said in the cable."

It's important to note that we don't have evidence Hamas is trotting out chemical weapons right now. The evidence on the USB drive indicated it was "Top Secret" to Hamas and is something they're well aware of that exists. Axios tried to ask Hamas for a comment, but they didn't return a call. That's a line I can't believe a US outlet wrote, but it's real.

There's a two-fold issue here, however. First, we must question the likelihood that Hamas would use chemical weapons on a civilian population. Given that we know Hamas drugged up its attackers with "amphetamine-like drug" captagon, which works like a "poor-mans cocaine," so they'd go berzerk on an Israeli population, the question of chemical warfare can't be discounted.

Iran's Role In Chemical Warfare.

The second question is, where does Iran play a role here? Chemical weapons are not an unknown quantity in the Middle East. Syria has used plenty of chemical weapons against its own people. Hamas sympathizers in the Western press have used the dreadful pictures from Syria's chemical weapons warfare to accuse Israel of immoral acts - more evidence of blood libel and hatred of Jews in the press.

During the Iraq-Iran war of the 1980s, Iran was involved in chemical weapons warfare with Iraq. For the most part, Iran took the rotten end of those attacks. Still, numerous reports indicated Iran attempted to develop their own program. Since then, reporting has varied intensely on whether Iran currently has chemical weapons capacity.

Iran And Hamas Are Joined At The Hip.

That puts the reporting from Axios in an interesting spot. Hamas is an organization supplied, supported, and given strategy to by Iran. This isn't a hot take. The White House admits it. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters this week:

"Iran continues to support Hamas and Hezbollah, and we know that Iran is closely monitoring these events and, in some cases, actively facilitating these attacks and spurring on others who may want to exploit the conflict for their own good or for that of Iran ... We know Iran's goal is to maintain some level of deniability here, but we're not going to allow them to do that."

Kirby was referencing the attacks the US Navy and others have taken from Iran in recent days. Iran-linked groups have launched missiles and other attacks at US bases and more. There's no question Iran is behind these actions.

If there's no plausible deniability between the link of Hamas and Iran, what do we make of Hamas's chemical weapon plans in connection to Iran? Is Iran giving any supplies or manufacturing ability to create these chemical weapons? Is Iran providing any technical knowledge to Hamas on sourcing these weapons? It's all an unknown. 

The Unknowns Are The Most Dangerous.

It's certainly possible that these are only plans from terrorist groups like al-Qaeda that shift into various terrorist groups as they morph in size and people allied with them. Hamas could have these plans from older terrorist groups and not have the technical capacity to do anything other than look at the plans. It's also possible Iran gave these manuals to Hamas.

But it's impossible to know the answers here with any certainty. Israel's complete and total intelligence failure on Oct. 7 should make us question many things. The United States didn't see anything happening with Hamas and was instead attempting to cut a deal with the Iranians. 

What we didn't know helped lead to the attacks on Oct. 7, 2023, in Israel. Hamas could slip right through the security failures and commit its savagery. A USB drive with plans for chemical weapon dispersion should cause us to question other things, too. This kind of technology wasn't on anyone's radar, but now it is.

Until we're confident the intelligence failures in Israel and the West are fixed, we need to presume this is a real threat we have to consider. With terrorism, the unknown is always more dangerous than the known. Hamas having chemical weapons is an unknown worth investigating. Iran having chemical weapons is a much larger unknown that could threaten to shift the entire landscape of this conflict. We need to know the answer there as well.

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