The Syria Question(s)
With no imminent threat to the United States or its allies, several questions need to be answered prior to any use of the United States’ military might. Whether Congress approves limited strikes or not, there are still many unknowns.
First and foremost, was a chemical weapon used to kill reportedly hundreds of Syrian civilians? Was it sarin gas or something else?
According to reports from Ken Timmerman – the President of Foundation for Democracy in Iran – United Nations Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi could not confirm what substance was used in the August 21 attack at Moudhamiya. This is similar to the results of UN investigations on the chemical weapons’ attacks in May.
If the chemical attacks were indeed sarin based – and it looks more and more as though they were – who dispersed the gas? Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s military is definitely capable of an attack of this sort, but what capabilities do the rebel forces aligned with al Qaeda have?
No international governing entity is willing to accept the fact that there are other forces such as al Qaeda affiliates that are capable of delivering such inhumane devastation; but, then again, who would have thought them capable of bringing down the World Trade Center buildings in New York City with two passenger jets?
Who gains from the use of sarin gas on civilians? Is it the Syrian government or rebel factions? The Syrian government has nothing to gain through the use of chemical weapons unless one thinks that Syria’s dictatorial president is on a suicide mission. Rebel forces striking civilians – and in some cases their own fighters – seems illogical, but what better way to swing the ongoing civil war in their favor than have the United States enter the war on their behalf.
If it is determined without any doubt that Bashar al-Assad’s troops were responsible for these catastrophic losses of human life, why limit action to missile strikes, why not take down the regime, capture the chemical weapons depots and let the Syrian people govern themselves?
The short answer is that the Obama Administration is more interested in making a statement and keeping a “red-line” promise than actually caring about the Syrian people.
It is highly unlikely that missile strikes by the United States will completely eliminate the Syrian military’s capability to deliver weapons of mass destruction in the future. A great deal of time has passed since the Obama Administration announced that targeted strikes were imminent. It is, however, highly likely that the Syrian military has taken steps to conceal the location of any WMDs.
With the majority of international leaders agreeing to the prevailing intelligence reports which state that the Syrian government is responsible for the attacks, why is it that the international community has taken one step back when asked to join an effort that looks like an effort to “punish” Syria?
Could it be that they aren’t entirely sold on the intelligence reports. As noted by Mr. Timmerman in his August 29 Daily Caller article entitled “Verify Chemical Weapons Use before Unleashing the Dogs of War” intelligence gathered may have been manipulated to prove Syria’s involvement instead of casting doubts.
Until these questions are answered and doubts erased, support for military intervention will be left to those who are looking to save what credibility the president still has in the international community, the credibility of the United States, or are willfully duped by sketchy intelligence at best.