From CBS News: ‘U.S.: Syria Used Chemical Weapons, Crossing “Red Line”

Full video and post here.

Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communication:

“Any future action we take will be consistent with our national interest, and must advance our objectives, which include achieving a negotiated political settlement to establish an authority that can provide basic stability and administer state institutions; protecting the rights of all Syrians; securing unconventional and advanced conventional weapons; and countering terrorist activity,” Rhodes said.

The rebels have been fighting what’s become a brutal proxy war with all kinds of bad actors involved.  From non-military aid we’ve also had SpecOps on the ground, logistics, and support for across the border countries handling refugees like Jordan.  This conflict has been enflaming the fault-lines in the region and dragging on, spilling out all over the place.

Assad’s Alawite minority regime has now been confirmed using chemical weapons (we pretty much knew that already), and been holding onto power by nearly any means, getting help from Iranian Shia fighters and the Iranian government, Hezbollah, Russian money and weapons, and other assorted interests in the region.

Now it looks like we’ll be sending military aid, creating a no-fly zone, and possibly more (Addition: not confirmed, but possible Another Addition: confirmed arms to the rebels).

To my mind, this further Left President may possibly just be taking the longer way around what’s traditionally been a spectrum of American foreign policy action (I think the President really still believes in a liberal internationalist, Cairo-speech movement towards freedom, arc of history bending towards justice worldview).  The Clinton team likely would have been more hawkish, having possibly acted already.

This has always been a lot to lose/little to gain problem, but here we are.

A quote from Kissinger:

‘On all sides of the Syrian conflict, the commitment of the belligerents to democratic values and alignment with Western interests is, at best, untested. Al-Qaeda has now entered the conflict, effectively on the side that the United States is being asked to join. In such circumstances, U.S. policymakers encounter a choice not between a “realistic” and an “idealistic” outcome but between competing imperfections, between considerations of strategy and of governance. We are stymied on Syria because we have a strategic interest in breaking the Assad clan’s alliance with Iran, which we are reluctant to avow, and the moral objective of saving human lives, which we are unable to implement through the U.N. Security Council.’ 

Joshua Landis’ blog here.

Al Jazeera live blog on Syria here.

Interesting paper here.

Related On This SiteUpdate And Repost: Via Youtube-Uncommon Knowledge With Fouad Ajami And Charles Hill

A Few Thoughts On Foreign Policy-Adam Garfinkle At The American Interest: ‘Conservative Principles Of World Order’

Too late to act with lower risk and more gain? Ralph Peters At The NY Post: ‘Too Late For Syria’

5 thoughts on “From CBS News: ‘U.S.: Syria Used Chemical Weapons, Crossing “Red Line”

  1. It is now admitted that thousands of tons of weapons have been smuggled into Syria by the US and its regional allies. While the Western media has attempted in the past to feign ignorance as to where Al Qaeda’s al-Nusra was getting their weapons from, it is now abundantly clear – al-Nusra’s power has expanded across Syria in tandem with the CIA’s ever-expanding operations along the nation’s borders. If the US is working directly with Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey, to arm militants, who else could possibly be working to arm and fund al-Nusra on a greater scale if not this axis itself?

  2. I’ve talked to a friend about this and the argument is to prop up the rebels long enough to further drain Iran’s regime. Like you said, we’ve been sending arms and support for a while, this is a next step in that direction.

    Again with Obama though, there’s a lot of projection where some dithering and a rather humanist secular idealism is just as likely at work.

  3. WASHINGTON – Iraq’s acquiescence in possibly allowing Iranian weapons deliveries to the Syrian regime demonstrates Washington’s limited influence in postwar Iraq, its inability to halt Syria’s 18-month conflict and its continued struggle against Tehran for supremacy in the region.

  4. There are confirmed cases of white phosphorus burns on bodies of civilians wounded in Afghanistan US- Taliban clashes near Bagram . The United States has accused Taliban militants of using white phosphorus weapons illegally on at least 44 occasions.

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