Re: The current big issue
posted at 4/26/2013 1:27 PM EDT
In response to ComingLiberalCrackup's comment:
Almost all Obama promises come with an expiration date. If Obama believes in non-intervention, fine; we need to stay out of other countries business and not be involved in Syria, fine; then he should not have talked so tough and be called on his bluff.
Instead of "speak softly and carry a big stick", Obama is "bluster and bluff and then do nothing".
'As President of the United States, I don't bluff." So President Obama famously said in March 2012, warning Iranian leaders that he would not allow them to acquire nuclear weapons. Those are words Iranian leaders surely have in mind as they watch to see if Mr. Obama was bluffing about the warning the President has repeatedly delivered against the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime in Syria.
"I've made it clear to Bashar al-Assad and all who follow his orders: We will not tolerate the use of chemical weapons against the Syrian people, or the transfer of those weapons to terrorists," Mr. Obama said last month. "The world is watching; we will hold you accountable."
Mr. Obama has strived mightily to avoid intervening in Syria, despite his repeated demands that Mr. Assad "must go." The Administration's U.N. gambit looks like one more way to avoid doing something it promised it would do if chemical weapons were used. Presidents who are exposed as bluffers tend to have their bluff called again and again, with ever more dangerous consequences.
Both the US and UK have noted there appears to be evidence of Sarin being used, but they do not have the "smoking gun" to say for certain. Further to that point, if Sarin has been used they don't have evidence to say WHO
There are multiple factions involved in this conflict including a jihadist group, Al Nusra Front, that is fighting on the side of the rebels but is also affiliated with Al Qaeda. In December of last year there were reports that Al Nusra Front had captured a chemical weapons facility in Aleppo, which if true raises the question of whether these small uses of Sarin are being carried out as an attempt to goad the west into the conflict, something that would suit Al Nusra (and thus Al Qaeda) quite nicely, but would endanger the long term prospects for Syrians.
I am disinclined to think the Syrian regime would resort to using chemical weapons and then use them in such a limited capacity. First, they aren't losing this war, they simply have not been able to end it. As time passes the odds shift more in the regimes favor than the rebels. Second, tactical use of chemical weapons is practically impossible since shifting winds could easily result in those deploying the chemicals being harmed by them. Thirdly, if the Syrian government felt that they were so desperate to use chemical weapons, why wouldn't they first intensify their bombings of rebel areas and increase the violence in attempt to kill as many as possible? They have aircraft, tanks, artillery, etc, while the rebels do not. Again, the regime is not losing, all of the factors involved in waging war favor them, they have the supplies, they have command and control, and they have the heavy weapons.
The cost benefit of resorting the chemical weapons seems to favor the rebels or some faction of the rebels "demonstrating" their use to influence the US and other countries because they have nothing to lose and everything to gain, while the equation for the Syrian regime is the exact opposite.
I am not sold and apparently neither is the US, UK, or France.