In other words, the jihadists could wind up being empowered if the Obama administration carries out an attack, he said. "If they don't play this right, the leadership in Damascus could be jihadist -- with a large chemical weapons arsenal at their disposal."
Blair proposed three theories about why the Syrian regime might have carried out the attack:
-- It is playing an "incredibly complex chess game, playing like what Spock used to play -- it makes sense to them, but we can't even figure it out;"
-- The regime is beginning to disintegrate and the attacks were carried out by rogue elements and was not authorized;
-- The leadership has lost touch with reality.
Attacking the regime would be a risky move, he said. "You don't know the response. They could launch Scuds at Israel full of sarin."
Another concern: the command and control over the country's vast stocks of chemical weapons could be delegative, meaning that subordinates in the field may have the power to launch the stocks if certain conditions are met. "So, if the United States destroys x,y and z, it could actually trigger a response from commanders in the field."
And Blair added that he was not persuaded that chemical weapons have indeed been used. "There's nothing available in open sources that they definitively have been," he said.
Verification is critical given the U.S. government's history of being duped about the alleged weapons of mass destruction that preceded the U.S.-led attack on Iraq. "Words can't describe how catastrophic it was," Blair said. "Most people in the community are skeptical."