By Alejandro Freixes, CCNN Head Writer
As the situation with Syria’s Bashar al-Assad government using chemical weapons develops, the US has fewer allies. First, the UN hasn’t found anything conclusive yet, despite US intelligence forces saying they most definitely have evidence of al-Assad using chemical weapons in the capital city of Damascus to kill thousands. Then, the UK dropped out after Parliament defied Prime Minister David Cameron’s wishes for a strike.
Meanwhile, major UN power players like Russia and China are not really okay with the US doing anything, especially without the UN’s permission. It could take two weeks for the UN inspectors who were shot at by snipers in Syria, to finish compiling their report for the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon.
On Friday, US President Barack Obama said the alleged attack in the suburbs of Damascus on August 21 was a “challenge to the world” and that it threatened America’s “national security interests.” He went on to say, “We cannot accept a world where women and children and innocent civilians are gassed on a terrible scale. The world has an obligation to make sure that we maintain the norm against the use of chemical weapons.”
However, besides France and Turkey reaffirming their support for the US in a strike on Syria, Obama is being very careful on the international stage. If the US just goes in by itself, the consequences would not just be confined to the Middle East with Syria and Iran. However, he did give the al-Assad government a “red line” they weren’t allowed to cross, and the use of chemical weapons most definitely would qualify. If the US does nothing, al-Assad may feel encouraged to just do as he pleases.
Obama definitely does not plan to send any soldiers into the country, confirming “no boots on the ground” and no “long-term campaign.” He doesn’t want another Iraq or Afghanistan on his hands, dragging America into another long engagement. US Secretary of State John Kerry laid out a “high confidence” intelligence report about the Syrian attack, and also described al-Assad as a “thug and a murderer.”
“I think there are no good options in Syria,” said retired Army General, James “Spider” Marks, a contributor to CNN. “There is an array of bad options and you have to take the least bad option that is out there.”
Featured image of Umayyad Mosque in Damascus courtesy of Jerzy Strzelecki on Wikipedia.