President Obama has a decision to make amidst strong suspicion that Syria used chemical weapons against its own people. PHOTO: Pete Souza, CC License
An Obama Administration official explained in a written statement that there was “little doubt” that Syria used chemical weapons against its own people. Syria, responding to pressure from Russia, allowed U.N. inspectors to examine victims of a recent horrific attack that killed hundreds of people for signs of a chemical attack. However, the same statement from the Obama Administration stated that this permission from Syria was “too late to be credible,” perhaps referring to the time-sensitivity involved in detecting chemical weapons.
President Obama has said previously that use of chemical weapons would cross a “red line,” and could trigger U.S. military intervention. Obama’s statement was in response to previous rumors that Syria had used chemical weapons against the resistance movement. Syria has been in a state of civil war since March 2011, when protestors began calling for the ouster of Syria’s president, Bashar Al-Assad. The Syrian Army began fighting back against the protestors in April 2011, and the battle between the two rages on to this day.
The Obama Administration has been cautious in its response to Syria, but when it has intervened, the U.S. has sided with the protestors. The likely chemical attack targeted at the Syrian resistance movement may be what finally draws the U.S. into Syria. Obama’s next decision will be whether to choose a ground war, an air war or another option. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced that President Obama asked him to draw up a number of options regarding military action against Syria, and Hagel has done so. The fact that Obama has been preparing for a potential war with Syria coupled with the statement that there is “little doubt” Syria used chemical weapons seems to imply that war with Syria is imminent.