Obama opens up a way to enter Syrian conflict: “Syria chemical weapons use may spark US action”
US President Barack Obama has said the use of chemical weapons by Syria would be a “red line” that would change his thinking on intervention in the crisis.
He said he had “at this point not ordered military engagement”.
But he added: “There would be enormous consequences if we start seeing movement on the chemical weapons front or the use of chemical weapons.”
Earlier the new UN special envoy to Syria faced criticism for refusing to say whether President Assad must quit.
President Obama, speaking to reporters at a White House briefing, said the deployment or use of biological weapons would widen the conflict in the region.
He said: “It doesn’t just include Syria. It would concern allies in the region, including Israel, and it would concern us.”
He warned President Bashar al-Assad and “other players on the ground” about the use or movement of such weapons.
He said: “A red line for us is [if] we see a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around, or being utilised. That would change my calculus.”
Syria holds the world’s fourth-largest stockpile of chemical weapons. Last month a Syrian foreign ministry spokesman said the weapons would never be deployed inside Syria.
However, the BBC’s Kim Ghattas in Washington says the US has seen unconfirmed reports recently that the Syrian authorities have been moving the country’s chemical arms stockpile.
US President Barack Obama has a stern warning for the country of Syria. In an address made early Monday, the commander-in-chief confirmed that he has not ruled out an offensive strike on Bashar al-Assad and his regime.
Speaking from the White House, President Obama said that if Syria is able to procure chemical or biological weapons, the United States will follow through with its threat of launching an attack.
Responding to a question about America’s current attitudes towards Assad, Obama said that the United States will not tolerate any efforts to allow Syria or any other countries to come into possession of weapons of mass destruction.
“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,” the president said. “That would change my equation. . . . We’re monitoring that situation very carefully. We have put together a range of contingency plans.”
“We cannot have a situation in which chemical or biological weapons are falling into the hands of the wrong people,”Mr. Obama added. “We have put together a range of contingency plans. We have communicated in no uncertain terms with every player in the region that that’s a red line for us.”
Obama added to reporters that his warning doesn’t imply only to Syria, either, but that the United States could consider maneuver with or against any other country that is considering chemical warfare.
“It doesn’t just include Syria. It would concern allies in the region, including Israel, and it would concern us,” President Obama said.
“At this point,” Mr. Obama said, “the likelihood of a soft landing seems pretty distant.”
In a meeting with new UN envoy to Syria Lakhdar Brahimi on Monday, Hollande said there “cannot be a political solution without the departure of Assad.”
On Friday, Brahimi was appointed to replace Kofi Annan who will quit the UN envoy position on August 31.
On August 2, Annan announced that he had decided to step down from the post due to lack of support at the UN Security Council and the increasing militarization of the conflict in Syria.
The appointment came after the UN decided to terminate its observer mission in Syria, which was part of Annan’s six-point peace plan.
Syria has been experiencing unrest since March 2011. Damascus says outlaws, saboteurs, and armed terrorists are the driving factor behind the unrest and deadly violence while the opposition accuses the security forces of being behind the killings.
so now he has his way in..and dont you just know the stories are going to come out now about Syria and chemical weapons..and watch the wording..they dont have to use the weapons..just be accused of moving them or doing something with them..this is an invitation for the USA to join in militarily..