Syria Showdown? US vs Russia Syria Crosses Red Line on WMDs
US vs Russia
Syria Crosses Red Line on WMDs
Obama Considers Military Response
President Obama met with his top national security, military and foreign policy advisers on Thursday afternoon to receive a conclusion that the Syrian Army had indeed used chemical weapons against Syrian rebels and civilians. The advisers now believe that the evidence confirms that Sarin gas was used by President Assad's loyalist forces earlier this year. (See LINK HERE)
The use of chemical weapons by Assad's forces is a red line that President Obama has repeatedly warned about since last year. The President stating repeatedly that crossing such a red line would result in the U.S. taking appropriate but unspecified action.
The Russians responded to the President's remarks after the meeting concerning the allegations of WMD usage by Syrian forces. A close adviser to Russian President Putin told Russian news media that Russia remains unconvinced that Assad's forces used chemical weapons. (See LINK HERE.)
One complicating factor in US efforts to assist the Syrian rebels is the fact that the leader of the most effective of the Syrian rebel fighter groups, "Jabhat al Nusr" announced in April of his group's total support for Al Qaeda and its leader Zaymin al Zawahiri. (See LINK HERE.) This development will certainly throw a monkey wrench into US efforts to aid other Syrian rebel groups due to concerns that sophisticated, heavy weapons might fall into the hands of Al Qaeda.
Even with the Al Qaeda factor, the President took under advisement, recommendations from the Pentagon on what military actions would be most prudent given the geo-political factors surrounding the Syrian civil war. The Pentagon proposals include providing heavy arms and training to Syrian rebels inside Jordan as well as the establishment of a no-fly zone over southern Syria - along the Jordanian border. In order to enforce such a zone, the U.S. would have to destroy Syria's air defense capabilities, including any S-300 air defenses supplied and manned by Russia. However, the S-300 systems have apparently not been delivered and made operational. For more on the Pentagon recommendations - See LINK HERE.
The President is taking the Pentagon recommendations under advisement and will consult further with his advisers and then will consult with key allied leaders at next week's G-8 Summit. No decisions or actions are expected before then and probably not until late June.
The Administration's sensitivity to the President's political base of liberal, anti-war supporters has prompted the President to consider the idea of allowing tens of thousands of Syrian refugees to immigrate to the United States. (See LINK HERE.) No doubt, such a move would prove to be a dangerous security gamble as it would no doubt allow Islamic radicals to settle in the U.S. and become part of the underground network of Islamic radical sleeper-cell networks.
The situation as it now stands with Syria is setting up the distinct possibility of a confrontation between Russia and the United States as Russian President Putin has repeatedly stated that Russia will not allow any nation to intervene and remove Assad from power. The next several weeks could prove to be quite eventful.