US 'red line' blurs amid sharpening Syria crisis Published: 2013-8-26 16:22:00

    Editor's Note

US President Barack Obama a year ago first said any use of chemical weapons in the war-torn country would mark “a red line” that could invite US military intervention. But since then, he has taken on major actions, prompting critics to charge the Obama administration with a lack of clarity on its Syria policy.

    Latest News

UN mission to probe latest chemical weapon incident in Syria Monday
The U.N. chemical investigation team in Syria will start on-site fact-finding activities Monday in the Ghouta area on the latest incident of the alleged use of chemical weapons, said Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon in a statement through his spokesperson.

   Intl Reactions

Syrian president dismisses chemical weapons charges
Western accusations that Syrian government forces used chemical weapons are “an insult to common sense,” President Bashar al-Assad said in an interview with Russian newspaper Izvestia published Monday.
Obama discusses Syria response with military, security advisors
US President Barack Obama convened a meeting of his national security team on Saturday to review options of responding to the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria.
Russia warns against unilateral armed intervention in Syria
The Russian Foreign Ministry on Sunday urged all outside powers concerned about the Syria crisis to exercise restraint and give up the idea of unilateral armed intervention.
Iran, Russia urge political solution to Syria crisis
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov have underlined the need for a peaceful settlement of the Syria crisis through political means, Press TV reported on Friday.
Iran said any intervention by Washington would have “severe consequences.” “America knows the limitation of the red line of the Syrian front and any crossing of Syria’s red line will have severe consequences for the White House,” Massoud jazayeri, deputy chief of staff of Iran’s armed forces.
Israeli DM: Assad govt “routinely” uses unconventional weapons
Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon on Sunday evening accused Syrian President Basahr al-Assad’s government of routinely using unconventional weaponry against insurgents and civilians in the Syrian conflict, according to a statement issued by the minister’s office.


Global Times
Syria says any US military action would ‘inflame Middle East’
Obama has been reluctant to intervene in Syria's civil war, but reports of the killings near Damascus have put pressure on the White House to make good on the president's comment a year ago that chemical weapons would be a "red line" for the US.

Syrian analysts, while stressing that the United States has intentions to repeat the Iraqi scenario, brushed off any possibility of a similar scenario due to the "special situation" of Syria. They said the international allies of President Bashar al-Assad and the current situation inside the country is highly unlikely to draw in foreign military intervention, at least in the current phase.

The narrative in Syria is not as simple as a country’s oppressed majority fighting against an authoritarian regime. Extremist elements among the opposition make the West nervous, and Syria’s fragmented opposition lacks a clear directive. That could lead to further instability should the Assad regime fall.

The Guardian
Past precedent offers better lessons about a future strike on Syria. As well as deterrence, one aim of an American strike is to degrade Syria's WMD programme. But aerial military campaigns have failed in this regard in the past and a surgical strike envisioned by the Obama administration will probably do little strategic damage to Damascus's arsenal.




  Related reports

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Syria mocks Obama ‘retreat’

Reality holds US back from war, for now

Putin pressures Obama over Syria

Syria says any US military action would ‘inflame Middle East’

    News Vocab

军事干预  jūnshì gànyù
“军事” n. military affairs(Source: 《新世纪汉英大词典》)
“干预” v. intervene; meddle; interfere; interpose; involve; tamper(Source: 《新世纪汉英大词典》)
“军事干预” n. military intervention

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