Obama's "Redline" Statement Applies To Both Assad Regime And Syria Rebels

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[Black Star Editorial]

Whether the United States should launch an attack on Syria or not has boiled down to this: by not striking the Bashar Assad regime, the U.S. will "lose face" globally.

A country shouldn't go to war in order to "save face."

People who maintain this position are in fact saying the United States should launch an attack on Syria because the President of the United States said the country would take action if use of chemical weapons became involved in the Syrian civil war.Yes, President Obama did make the declaration. But he certainly didn't mean to say that the U.S. would retaliate against the Syrian government of Bashar Assad regardless of which side used the chemical weapons.

In fact, when addressing a question about the Syrian conflict on August 20, 2012, President Obama said: "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.… We have communicated in no uncertain terms with every player in the region that that’s a red line for us and that there would be enormous consequences if we start seeing movement on the chemical weapons front or the use of chemical weapons. That would change my calculations significantly."

His statement is completely unambiguous. He said "the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground"; in this war, the other players on the ground are the rebels fighting to oust Assad, including the brutal elements allied to al-Qaeda, who probably are salivating at the prospect of a U.S. intervention that could help propel them into power.

Obama's statement covers both the Assad forces and the rebels. So why are the media, and now the Obama Administration, selectively focusing only on the Assad regime?

Why the rush to war when it's just as likely, or perhaps even more likely that the rebels may have used the chemical weapons in the recent attack outside Damascus?

Shouldn't the focus by media and the Administration be to do everything possible to determine who the perpetrators of the crime was?

After an alleged earlier use of chemical weapons in the Syrian conflict a United Nations official Carla Del Ponte said the weapons were used by the rebels.

Isn't this report alone, which has yet to be ruled out, significant enough for the Administration to pause and demand another thorough investigation? Perhaps one that involves all members of the UN Security  Council?

If such a team was to determine that it was in fact the rebels who used Sarin in the recent attack, would the U.S. now be obligated to strike at them since the "redline" statement would still apply?

Can you imagine the possibility of helping to install into power rebels in Syria who are willing to kill children with Sarin just to lure the United States into the conflict to turn the tide in their favor? What would they do with a vast arsenal of this and other chemical weapons if they were to seize power?

These are the questions that Members of Congress must be asking as the date approaches for a vote on whether the U.S. should get militarily involved in Syria or not.




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