The Mideastwire Blog

Excerpts from the Arab and Iranian Media & Analysis of US Policy in the Region

Obama administration in sublte, but major step back on Syria chemical weapons activity

The Obama administration has just accomplished a mind boggling retreat on its August “redline” vis a vis syrian chemical weapons. This step back is particularly worrying because it signals that the Obama folks were never adequately prepared for the chaos and violence which they helped to unleash and which is now growing exponentially in Syria with multiplying unintended contingencies (through both benign neglect policies as well as, at times, accelerator policies which egged on intervention and violence).

The New York Times gets it wrong here, in today’s story where it quotes Clinton as saying:

“This is a red line for the United States,” Mrs. Clinton said. “I am not going to telegraph in any specifics what we would do in the event of credible evidence that the Assad regime has resorted to using chemical weapons against their own people. But suffice it to say we are certainly planning to take action if that eventuality were to occur.”

“…Although Mrs. Clinton’s reference to a “red line” echoed a warning issued by President Obama in August, it was the most explicit warning from a ranking American official since reports of renewed chemical weapons activity began to surface in recent days.

– NO – this is not an echo – it is a decided step back. Here is what the president actually said in August:

“…The president noted that he has not ordered any armed U.S. intervention yet, but said: “We have communicated in no uncertain terms with every player in the region, that that’s a red line for us, and that there would be enormous consequences if we start seeing movement on the chemical weapons front, or the use of chemical weapons. That would change my calculations significantly.”

– As such, this is in fact a major shift backwards, one under the pressure which the Obama policy on syria helped to unleash and which is now boxing in the region and the US to some pretty awful, increasingly likely scenarios.

Essentially – Obama said IF YOU START MOVING your WMDs THERE WILL BE A HARD RESPONSE.

Well – there is movement, we are told…. and even Hizbullah activity NEAR the bases we are told…

So what the heck is going on?

For my alternative Syria policy go to:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nicholas-noe/a-third-way-on-syria-is-possible_b_868383.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/07/opinion/in-syria-we-need-to-bargain-with-the-devil.html?pagewanted=1

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/feb/12/nicholas-noe-negotiate-assad-syria

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Written by nickbiddlenoe

December 3, 2012 at 4:19 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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