I first mentioned tear gas as a chemical weapon in May of this year in a short blog. This week we read from Britain’s Foreign Secretary that Britain is shipping gas masks to the Syrian rebels. I believe that this is so that the rebels can more freely use chemical weapons against the Syrian government forces. To understand why I say this, we need to connect a few dots.
We know that Bahrain has made intensive use of tear gas, enough to kill many civilians and protesters. We know this from an extensive report released almost a year ago by the reputable Physicians for Human Rights. The United States and Great Britain have supported Bahrain’s government for decades, and they supported the most recent suppression of protests. Britain has supplied Saudi Arabia with many weapons, including tear gas, which were weaponized and used in Bahrain. It stands to reason that the Bahrain forces (or Saudis acting as Bahrainis) would need gas masks to protect them from the effects of their intensive attacks. By the same logic, if rebel forces are using crude chemical weapons by mounting tear gas cannisters and other chemicals on projectiles, then they too will need gas masks so that they can follow up with ground forces. Since there is no evidence that the Syrian government is using chemical weapons, why else ship large numbers of gas masks? As the rebels are encountering reversals in battle, their incentive to use chemical weapons rises. The West, having encouraged their use in Bahrain (as weaponized CS gas), now appears to be furthering the use of that and other chemicals in Syria.