Photo Credit (Reuters/Osman Orsal) – Syrian refugee camp in the Turkish province of Hatay
Amidst allegations of chemical weapons attacks on Syrian citizens by President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, President Obama has called for what he says is a “limited” strike to loosen the political leader’s power.
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The decision to go ahead with military force against Syria has been met with some support from the likes of House Speaker John Boehner and House of Representatives Leader Eric Cantor.
President Obama and Vice President Biden had a meeting with Boehner, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, and the top members of national security leaders to discuss military action.
The meeting’s other purpose was to get the leaders to rally their respective parties in Congress to get something decided about Syria. Speaker Boehner agreed with President Obama wanting to move forward and said that only the United States had the strength to deal with President Assad. Boehner then called for Congress to get in line with the decision.
Earlier in the year, President Obama said that the line of no return was if Syria had been using on its people and that President Bashar al-Assad would be held responsible for his actions.
At the time of this announcement it was very up in the air what was meant. Verbally it sounded very straight forward: “If we found out you did what we think you did we will take action.”
However, the nuances and having to get everyone or the majority on board with a plan of action everyone could live with made that red line not as red and not as thin.
The red line was drawn when proof arose that there had been something resembling chemical attacks based on tests in the area. It should also be noted that some of the chemical weapons complexes are fairly close to civilian establishments.
While President Obama has gotten some congressional support to do something against Syria, there are those greatly against the use of missiles for one glaring reason: the proximity of the chemical weapons complexes to the populace. Should the missiles hit the complexes, there’s the possibility of larger explosions and chemicals filling the air and spreading out.
Before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Secretary of State John Kerry said that Syria’s neighbors and United States allies Israel and Jordan are within distance of the same dispersing effect with the chemicals.
“This is not the time for armchair isolationism. This is not the time to be spectators to slaughter. Neither our country nor out conscience can afford the cost of silence.” Secretary Kerry said.
Kerry also made sure to state that there would be no soldiers in Syria and that Obama wasn’t looking for a war.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel chimed in, “A refusal to act would undermine the credibility of America’s other security commitments, including the president’s commitment to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.”
Despite having Congressional support, President Obama is far from having the concrete support of Americans with six out of ten being against missile strikes, according to a national poll.
With G20 coming up later this week, Syria will definitely be a hot button topic if not the hot button topic.
President Francois Hollande of France
French President Francois Hollande supports President Obama’s decision saying, “When a chemical massacre takes place, when the world is informed of it, when the evidence is delivered, when the guilty parties are known, then there must be an answer.”
Meanwhile in the United Kingdom, Prime Minister David Cameron threw his hat in to support action against Syria, but didn’t get the support of Parliament.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said that should military action be taken against Syria it would cause more trouble to an already difficult situation. He also said that this is a matter for the Security Council if chemical weapons were actually used.
With the conflict between rebels and the Assad forces raging, U.S numbers have puts the death toll from the August 21 attacks outside Damascus at 1,429.
The violence has resulted in an exodus from the Syria to neighboring countries. On Tuesday, Sweden announced that it would grant asylum to all Syrian refugees who apply and they will be given permanent resident status.
It has been noted that in addition to the two million fleeing the country, over four million have been displaced by the conflict and 100,000 killed since the conflict began.