After the UN investigators left Syria, they have to prepare their official report in two weeks, but it is not sure that the US is going to wait till their official report, before give his green light for a surgical operation against Syria. On the other hand, it is not an option for Syria to be the next Iraq or Libya. No, thought, or possibility about Afghanistan…
UN inspectors investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria have left Damascus. They crossed into neighbouring Lebanon just hours after President Barack Obama said the US was considering a “limited narrow act” against Syria. Citing a US intelligence assessment, Secretary of State John Kerry accused Syria of using chemical weapons to kill 1,429 people, including 426 children. Syria said the US claim was “full of lies”, blaming rebels for the attacks. The UN inspectors – investigating what happened in the Damascus suburbs on 21 August – left their hotel in the Syrian capital in a convoy of vehicles on Saturday morning and later arrived in Lebanon. During their visit, they carried out four days of inspections. It could be two weeks before their final report is ready, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has told diplomats. Their departure from Syria removes both a practical and a political obstacle to the launch of American-led military action, the BBC’s Kevin Connolly in Beirut reports. Any attack that might have placed them in danger was unthinkable and would have seemed premature before their work on the ground was complete, our correspondent adds. Russia – a key ally of Syria – has warned that “any unilateral military action bypassing the UN Security Council” would be a “direct violation of international law”. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said his country will defend itself against any Western “aggression”. French President Francois Hollande has reaffirmed his support for the US stance.
President’s Obama words about limited and narrow military options against Syria, declare that the US Pentagon doesn’t feel very comfortable about its military options ahead, under the tragic fear of possible human military loses.
Edging toward a punitive strike against Syria, President Obama said Friday he is weighing “limited and narrow” action as the administration bluntly accused Bashar Assad‘s government of launching a chemical weapons attack that killed at least 1,429 people — far more than previous estimates — including more than 400 children. No “boots on the ground,” Obama said, seeking to reassure Americans weary after a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan. With France as his only major public ally, Obama told reporters he has a strong preference for multilateral action. He added, “Frankly, part of the challenge we end up with here is a lot of people think something should be done but nobody wants to do it.” Halfway around the world, U.S. warships were in place in the Mediterranean Sea. They carried cruise missiles, long a first-line weapon of choice for presidents because they can find a target hundreds of miles distant without need of air cover or troops on the ground. In what appeared increasingly like the pre-attack endgame, U.N. personnel dispatched to Syria carried out a fourth and final day of inspection as they sought to determine precisely what happened in last week’s attack. The international contingent arranged to depart on Saturday and head to laboratories in Europe with the samples they have collected. Video said to be taken at the scene shows victims writhing in pain, twitching and exhibiting other symptoms associated with exposure to nerve agents. The videos distributed by activists to support their claims of a chemical attack were consistent with Associated Press reporting of shelling in the suburbs of Damascus at the time, though it was not known if the victims had died from a gas attack. The Syrian government said administration claims were “flagrant lies” akin to faulty Bush administration assertions before the Iraq invasion that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. A Foreign Ministry statement read on state TV said that “under the pretext of protecting the Syrian people, they are making a case for an aggression that will kill hundreds of innocent Syrian civilians.” Residents of Damascus stocked up on food and other necessities in anticipation of strikes, with no evident sign of panic. One man, 42-year-old Talal Dowayih, said: “I am not afraid from the Western threats to Syria; they created the chemical issue as a pretext for intervention, and they are trying to hit Syria for the sake of Israel.”
On the other hand, the main question remains focused on the Syria’s real military capabilities and the “possible” help which is possible to have from Russia. The US State Department points its war critique on the use of chemicals:
Syria warned the United States on Friday that it is prepared to confront any aggression against the war-torn nation. The challenge came as Western powers debated the use of military force against Syria’s government in response to a chemical weapons attack in Damascus’ suburbs last week. On Wednesday, U.S. President Barack Obama said there’s no doubt that Syria launched chemical weapons attacks against its own people. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime has blamed the August 21 attack on rebels. Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday that U.S. intelligence information found that 1,429 people were killed in last week’s chemical weapons attack in Syria, including at least 426 children. A preliminary U.S. government assessment asserted “with high confidence that the Syrian government carried out the chemical weapons attack against opposition elements in the Damascus suburbs.” Kerry said the question now is “what are we … in the world going to do about it.”
More importantly, the US Pentagon has examined war scenarios based on surgical air operations with an extreme use of current available military technology and diplomatically without the UN’s official authorization:
In harsh, uncompromising language, Secretary of State John Kerry began laying out the U.S. case for possible military action against Syria, saying there was undeniable evidence that chemical weapons had been used in a deadly attack against a rebel enclave and that it was “a moral obscenity.” Obama administration planning centers on carrying out any U.S. and allied strikes on Syria as part of a coalition without United Nations backing, U.S. and European officials said. Such a route could raise international law concerns but would let the administration avoid a potentially protracted diplomatic fight at the U.N. with Russia, President Bashar al-Assad’s main backer on the Security Council. The U.S. has stepped up contacts with its North Atlantic Treaty Organization partners and the Arab League about supporting such an operation. The U.S.’s stepped-up public rhetoric and war planning laid the groundwork for President Barack Obama to make a swift decision on launching airstrikes, even as administration officials made clear they are still awaiting the results of a final U.S. intelligence assessment on alleged chemical attacks last week that activists and rebels say killed more than 1,000 Syrians. For now, senior administration officials said the U.S. has concluded there is “no doubt” chemical weapons were used in the incident. The administration said the evidence leaves “little doubt” that forces loyal to Mr. Assad were responsible for using the chemical weapons. U.S. intelligence agencies are now in the process of firming up those conclusions, officials said.
Finally, we have to note the use of military means can cause unpredictable geopolitical consequences in the broader Middle East. Syria is not a simple case of a map-designed military operation.