Daily Israel Report

Jordan's Abdullah: Syria's Chemical Weapons 'Scare Us All'

"What scares most of us is the chemical weapons falling into rebel hands," Jordanian monarch tells CBS.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 8/7/2012, 7:21 PM

King Abdullah II
King Abdullah II
Flash 90

King Abdullah II of Jordan expressed his concern over the situation in neighboring Syria, and especially over the potential use of Syria's chemical weapons.

In an interview with Charlie Rose on "CBS This Morning," Abdullah was asked if Syrian strongman Bashar Assad would use chemical weapons against his rivals. "I hope to God that he wouldn't because I think that would be a tripwire for many nations in the international community," Abdullah said.

"The chemical weapons (are) something that scares everybody," he added. "What scares most of us is the chemical weapons falling into rebel hands. And who are those rebels? And obviously the use of chemical weapons against innocent people."

Abdullah repeated his "tripwire" statement, in an apparent warning to Assad that use of the weapons would cause other countries to intervene militarily in the fighting: "...There's so many levels of attention against Syria. So as we're working on the political level, trying to find a solution, if he uses chemical weapons, is that the tripwire that all of a sudden... the international community has to react? So I hope he understands that this would be a major miscalculation. More complicated than that, what happens if some of those storage depots fall into rebel hands?"

Abdullah said he thinks the weapon sites need to be secured by the international community but also appeared to warn against an invasion in response to the use of chemical weapons. "I hope that you're not looking at it as a reason for intervention," he said. "I think it's a crisis where we have to react. And the problem – I am weary of people looking at it as a reason – in other words, I hope people are not planning to sort of push whoever there may be to make sure that those storage sites fall into... the minute you cross the borders then no plan goes the way you planned it. So the minute you cross the border with armed forces or the military, then it's anybody's guess what the outcome is."

The king estimated that Assad will continue to "stick to his guns" indefinitely. "I'm worried about the longer we take to find a political solution and the more the chaos continues then we may be pushing Syria into the abyss." He defined "the abyss" as "complete and utter civil war, which will take us, I think, years to come back from."