President Obama appeared suddenly yesterday for an impromptu press conference to announce that the use of chemical weapons by Assad represents a “Red Line” for his administration. Obama emphasized that under this scenario US forces could intervene in Syria.
What prompted a President who has not held a press conference for over 8 weeks to suddenly hold one on Syria? My guess is that the US has some credible intelligence Assad is about to use chemical weapons against the FSA as well as civilians to quell the violence. And if Assad can use chemical weapons against his own people, he can use them against everyone if we let him be.
First, I do not believe Obama will intervene militarily two months before the elections and that is why Assad is considering the use of chemical weapons. Second, lost on the media attending this conference was the “Green Line” Obama seems to have provided Assad to kill at will.
“Assad, you may kill civilians but only with heavy artillery, tanks, jet fighters and helicopter gunships; but please no chemical weapons” seems to be the message of our President. Don’t you miss Bush or Clinton, both of whom would have acted against Assad? I do.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov objected today by warning the West against any unilateral action on Syria. In my opinion, Putin is nostalgic for another Cold War at any cost and Syria represents his line in the sand. That the US and Russia would both benefit if they united to fight religious extremists does not seem to have crossed Putin’s mind. The Russian people deserve better than that.
Incidentally, when Saddam gazed the Kurds of Iraq in Halabjeh, Lakdar Brahimi was Depute Secretary General of the Arab League. Brahimi did not utter one word against Saddam’s horrific actions. Having him responsible for the Syrian file at a time when Assad may use chemical weapons is a bad omen for Syrians. This is the kind of luck Brahimi brings to the table with him.
May Lakdar Brahimi break a hip or two before he flies to Syria.