An uncomfortable line…

Thick Red Line

No, we don’t have enough evidence that Syria has used chemical weapons. (JEFFREY LEWIS , 2013)


Let’s stipulate, then, that we take seriously the president’s red line: We do not wish to enter this conflict, unless the Assad regime begins committing widespread atrocities, like the gassing of cities. Or, as the president said in August, “We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus. That would change my equation.” (Aside: Can you imagine the mockery if Bush had set the red line at “a whole bunch” of chemical weapons?)

The purpose of a red line is to deter something like what the Iraqis did at Halabja. There are already terrible things happening in Syria — sectarian conflicts are truly ugly and this is becoming one. The conflict has killed tens of thousands, most of them innocent civilians. But, as far as I can tell, Assad has not yet begun a policy of conducting large-scale massacres of civilians, whether by chemical weapons (like at Halabja) or not (say, Srebrenica in Bosnia). That would change things. As awful as the current conflict is, it could get worse. Holding something back to deter Assad is worth doing.

The corollary is that if we do intervene on the basis that Assad is using chemical weapons, then he might very well start gassing cities — and we won’t be sitting around wondering whether he’s done so or not. When Saddam used chemical weapons against Halabja, there was video of the attack and thousands of casualties. Survivors traveled abroad where they received medical treatment. The evidence was clear and overwhelming.

The evidence we have now is rather less than that. The Syrian opposition has repeatedly claimed that it has been gassed, but these claims have been of doubtful reliability, including allegations that Syria used a chemical weapon that does not exist.

via Thick Red Line

 Foreign Policy.



This article shows an american negative view on US intervention in Syria that matches quite nicely my own… this one from Musa Al-Gharbi matches it perfectly:

Weapons of Mass Deception. 

According to the White House, the intelligence suggests “with varying degrees of confidence” that chemical weapons have been used in Syria—however, it is unclear under what circumstances these weapons were deployed, or by whom–although the Administration assumes it would have been the Syrian government who used them. One small problem: the regime has absolutely nothing to gain in resorting to these tactics. Contrary to the media rhetoric, the al-Asad regime is not desperate or on its “last legs.” In fact, it has been steadily gaining ground for months, ever since theydecisively crushed a major assault on Damascus in December 2012. The very last thing they would want to do is upset this momentum or risk increased foreign intervention for the sake of killing dozens in a “small scale” attack. They do not need chemical weapons, at the moment.

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