Looks like the Syrian regime has indeed crossed the chemical weapons red line, but not much is changing for the United States’ involvement in the Syrian civil war. In other words, the threats of the past don’t mean war now. US official Ben Rhodes announced on Thursday that the American intelligence community has “high confidence” that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons “on a small scale” on multiple occasions over the last year.
Rhodes, in a statement released by the White House, said, “the use of chemical weapons violates international norms and crosses clear red lines that have existed within the international community for decades.” So far, the US intelligence community estimates 100-150 people have died from the chemical weapons.
Chemical weapons kill people in horrific ways, with the nerve gas Sarin essentially causing people to stop breathing due to exhaustion. The US and others are particularly concerned that such weapons could reach terrorists.
The US is still investigating the use of chemical weapons to present a “credible” case to the world. While the number of dead due to chemical weapons is small, it’s part of a larger conflict that is believed to have killed 90,000 people overall.
Rhodes noted that Obama had said the use of chemical weapons would be a “red line” that would change the US approach to Syria. However, rather than declare a dramatic shift in approach—such as establishing a no-fly zone or arming the rebels—Rhodes merely noted that the US has increased its non-lethal support to the rebels.
Rhodes leave a vague but ominous threat to the Syrian regime: “The United States and the international community have a number of other legal, financial, diplomatic, and military responses available. We are prepared for all contingencies, and we will make decisions on our own timeline.”
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, June 13, 2013)