While the world’s attention is on ensuring that Syria’s government can no longer use chemical weapons against its population, we shouldn’t forget that Syrian government forces have used conventional means to slaughter civilians. Survivors told us devastating stories of how their unarmed relatives were mowed down in front of them by government and pro-government forces.
Joe Stork, Human Rights Watch.
The other “red line.”
Given the current tensions the region, as well as potential threats to U.S. government facilities and personnel, we are taking these steps out of an abundance of caution to protect our employees and their families, and local employees and visitors to our facilities.State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf • Discussing the department’s partial evacuation order for the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, which also comes with a warning against travel in Lebanon and southeastern Turkey. The move comes at a time when the U.S. is considering an airstrike on Syria.
I didn’t set a red line. The world set a red line.President Obama • Appealing to the international community, in hopes of receiving more support for military strikes in Syria, during a speech in Stockholm on Wednesday. The President also said he did not believe his own credibility was on the line, when it comes to action/inaction in Syria, but that the same could not be said for America and the rest of the international community. Tomorrow, President Obama will meet with leaders of the other G20 nations, and the ongoing conflict in Syria is more than likely to become a topic of heavy discussion. source
Assuming the U.S. Congress authorises them, Washington (together with some allies) soon will launch military strikes against Syrian regime targets. If so, it will have taken such action for reasons largely divorced from the interests of the Syrian people. The administration has cited the need to punish, deter and prevent use of chemical weapons - a defensible goal, though Syrians have suffered from far deadlier mass atrocities during the course of the conflict without this prompting much collective action in their defence. The administration also refers to the need, given President Obama’s asserted “redline” against use of chemical weapons, to protect Washington’s credibility - again an understandable objective though unlikely to resonate much with Syrians. Quite apart from talk of outrage, deterrence and restoring U.S. credibility, the priority must be the welfare of the Syrian people. Whether or not military strikes are ordered, this only can be achieved through imposition of a sustained ceasefire and widely accepted political transition.International Crisis Group (via soupsoup)