The US and the thin red line
According to the official data of UNHCR, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the number of Syrian exiles has grown to 1.4 million, while the number of dead equals 80,000. Furthermore, the reprisals have caused the destruction of sites of extraordinary historical importance, such as the minaret of the Mosques in Aleppo and Omari.
Even though the evidence of the usage of chemical weapons by the Syrian government is getting more and more consistent, the international community is not fully unanimous about the initiatives to engage. The former Israeli Vice Minister of Defense, Zeev Elkin, restates the obligation to control Assad’s arsenal. Great Britain declares to possess “limited but persuasive” proof of the usage of chemical weapons, but the Chief of the Defense Staff, Sir David Richards, fears a global war. The General Secretary, Ban Ki-moon, renewed his appeal for unfettered access to Syria for the United Nations team to probe the alleged use of chemical weapons.
The American intelligence believes that sarin, a nerve gas, has been used, which would mean that the regime has crossed the famous “red line” that would justify an intervention by the United States.
Yet there are still a few elements that have induced the Obama administration to proceed with special prudence; the US is going to leave Afghanistan and is not willing to engage in a new conflict. Furthermore, the clamorous evaluation mistakes about the actual existence of chemical weapons in Iraq have resulted in more prudent requirements now, and even though the coalition obtained recognition, there’s the grounded risk that aid for the rebels could end up in Jihadists‘ hands.
As of today, the American support remains humanitarian, a “nonlethal assistance,” according to the words of the White House spokesperson, Jay Carney. The White House applied sanctions towards Syria and is working so that the Syrian people can have a future that will not include President Assad. Nevertheless, the Republican right wing keeps invoking specific measures, like a no-fly zone and the supply of weapons to the rebels.
Today, President Obama has restated that the usage of chemical weapons would be a “game changer,” and they would have to rethink the range of options available. However, the imaginary red line seems more and more evanescent.