President Barack Obama faced a tough decision Friday, April 26, on how to handle Bashar Assad’s use of chemical weapons just a month after he warned it would be “game changer.”
The US intelligence community and the White House have now produced evidence that Assad has used chemical weapons against his own people and so crossed the red line Obama has repeatedly and publicly laid down for a US response. While extremely reluctant to embroil America in the Syrian war, those red lines would be discounted as meaningless by the world, the Middle East and Israel most of al, if he holds back now.
This loss of credibility and face would have three immediate consequences:
1. Assad will not stop using lethal chemicals against his people. After getting away with it scot-free, he will use them against any time he feels his regime has its back to the wall.
2. Tehran and Pyongyang will take US inaction on the Syrian chemical issue as a license to go forward and develop their nuclear and other sophisticated weapons without fear of forceful interference.
3. At some stage in the Syrian conflict, Assad will transfer to Hizballah a quantity of chemical weapons and other advanced war materiel as a reward for the Lebanese Shiite radicals’ stalwart battle in support of his regime. DEBKAfile’s military sources have learned that preparations are already in train for the transfer.