Syria Calls Obama’s Chemical Weapons Bluff

Assad-burning-FOR-WEB-580So, we now have three trusted intelligence agencies—Israel’s, Britain’s and France’s—declaring that a number of chemical agents have been deployed in the Syrian civil war. Arriving late—too late—at the same obvious conclusion, the United States has finally agreed with its allies.

The Brits and French base their assessment on soil samples and interviews, and report that chemical weapons have been used in Aleppo, Homs and perhaps Damascus. U.S. and British intelligence agencies conclude that sarin was used. Both Britain and France doubt that rebel forces have access to chemical weaponry. An Israeli general reports that “the regime used chemical weapons against fighters in a series of incidents in recent months…apparently sarin.” A chlorine-type gas known as “CL 17” may also have been used. ABC News reports, “hyper-salivation…eye pain…seizures…loss of consciousness” among victims in Aleppo. In nearby Aftrin, survivors report “a sharp, bitter odor that stung their eyes,” according to ABC. Doctors in Aleppo administered as much atropine as they had on hand—too bad that wasn’t included in Secretary of State John Kerry’s “nonlethal” aid package—and sure enough, it helped victims survive. Importantly, atropine is used as an antidote to nerve agent.

What’s happening in Syria and what’s not happening in Washington is important—and not just for strategic reasons (the ouster of Bashar Assad would strike a blow against Iran and limit Iran’s reach) or humanitarian reasons (some 70,000 people have died in a war that, like Libya in 2011 and Bosnia in the 1990s, could be ended by the application of U.S. power). The unanswered, unpunished use of chemical weapons in Syria is important because of what President Barack Obama said last year.

Last August, in full-fledged campaign dudgeon, the president warned that the use of chemical weapons in Syria would be a “red line” for his administration. “A whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized,” he said, with his stentorian self-assurance, “would change my calculus.” Chemical weapons, he warned, would be “a game-changer.”

Not exactly. Chemical weapons are being used, and nothing is changing in the Oval Office. It pays to recall that this under-the-radar chemical war is anything but unexpected. We always knew that Assad possessed one of the largest chemical-weapons programs on earth, including mustard gas, sarin and VX nerve agent. We always knew Syria had mated these weapons with artillery shells and missilery. We always knew that Syria had five major chemical-manufacturing facilities and some 45 chemical-weapons storage facilities. We have always worried—at least since 9/11—about jihadist groups gaining access to someone’s unguarded WMDs. And we know from history—Saddam Hussein in Iraqi Kurdistan, Assad’s father in Hama—that dictators pushed into a corner will do about anything to survive.

Moreover, outside observers warned and worried about loose chemical weapons during Libya’s civil war in 2011. And the warnings continued to sound as the anti-autocracy rebellion swept into Syria. In fact, in this space last July, I concluded that “the notion that Barack Obama—the anti-Bush—would launch attacks against Syria in order to preempt the use or transfer of WMDs is as unthinkable as, well, what might happen with those WMDs.”

And here we are.

This sort of inaction is easy to criticize. But Obama’s inaction in the face of Assad’s crimes is especially glaring in light of Obama’s intervention in Libya. Recall that in announcing his decision to attack Moammar Gadhafi’s forces, Obama declared , “We cannot stand idly by when a tyrant tells his people that there will be no mercy…where innocent men and women face brutality and death at the hands of their own government.”

If that sounds like today’s Syria—and it does—Obama’s inaction looks like yesterday’s response to the mangling of Bosnia. Now, as in Bosnia circa 1993, a well-armed regime is warring against an under-equipped and sometimes-unsavory rebel force. Now, as then, a dictator is winning by default, because Washington is unwilling to answer the call for help. Now, as then, the United States refuses to act, and the world follows suit.

Yet the president’s greatest failure in Syria is not in refusing to intervene—indeed, a case can be made on cold, calculating, Kissingerian grounds that America should stay the hell out of Assad’s sandbox—but rather in threatening to intervene in the event of a chemical-weapons attack and then failing to follow through.

Whether democracy in Damascus is worth risking American blood is open to debate—whether democracy will even take root in Damascus is open to debate—but the importance of American credibility is not. Maintaining the global taboo against using these weapons is not. As Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel observes, “it violates every convention of warfare.” The president fails to grasp these truths. And placing far too much trust in the power of his own words, he fails to understand that actions always speak louder than words. By averting his gaze from Syria’s chemical-laced civil war, he has sent a message around the world that can be understood in every language: Push the envelope as far as you want. Commit any outrage you want. Use any weapon at your disposal. Washington’s words are empty.

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  • Chezwick

    I'm glad if Barry has made himself look foolish and ineffectual….but I hope to God he DOESN'T intervene in the Syrian civil war. The last thing in the world we should be doing is to help fit another piece of a potential reconstituted, Sunni Caliphate into place.

    Let the Sunnis and Shias dissipate their energies killing one another. It's good for Israel, it's good for the West.

    • laisa158

      AMEN….Thanks G-d some understands that the less danger comes from the 'DICTATORS' AND WORSE FROM THE FUNDAMENTALISTS…

    • truebearing

      The least we could do is supply each side with ammunition.

    • Carl

      Absoutely right! We intervened in Libya and the result was Libyan weapons all over the MidEast, aimed at Israel. We have no dog in this fight.

  • truebearing

    How can this be? You mean Barak "I got the talking part done" Obama didn't live up to his word, or mean what he said? Shocking!

    What will Obama do now….give the Syrian rebels some tactical nukes? One way or another, the rebels will be supplied by somebody with equally dangerous weapons and the conflict will escalate. How will Obama ever stifle the urge to help his favorite Muslim Community Organisers, Al Queda?

  • Chris

    If America gets involved on the side Al Quieda affiliated jihadis, there's a danger we may end up with a situation similar to Afganistan after the Soviets split.

  • AdinaK

    Regarding the explosions in Syria, it is imperative to see the forest from the trees. As such, a clear vantage point is afforded through the following understanding: that less than six degrees of separation spans between Assad's butchers and the "rebels" –

    In this regard, does anyone believe that Obama Inc gives a hoot about "red lines"?

    Adina Kutnicki, Israel

  • Alvaro

    "[…] the ouster of Bashar Assad would strike a blow against Iran and limit Iran’s reach."

    It would also be a great victory for Al-Qaeda and their Saudi supporters: Personally I'll take Assads Alawites and Christians over Saudi-Arabia's Wahhabis any day.

    Was it Syrians/Iranians flying into the twin towers on September 11 2001?
    Is it Syrians/Iranians financing mosques and imams preaching hatred in every major Western city?
    Is it Syrians/Iranians financing just about every jihadi group on the planet?

    No, the Saudis.

    Coincidentally the Saudis are also US allies and enemies of the Shi’ites in Syria and Iran.

    Don't get me wrong: Assad and Ahmadinejad are criminals, but there are worse criminals in the Middle East, and if everything that has happened the last decade won't alter US policy towards Saudi Arabia, nothing will.

  • Matt

    I say it is a chemical irritant, but anyway Assad is now greenlite, if it the case. But when. Putin's blood dance to the last child. Obama is cool with that. My opinion is if you drop JDAMS and Thermobarics you lose Saddams WMDS. Tartus is not important, what weapons does hizbullah use who sells them to Assad. Your welfare is not important to him. Nor is the regime itself, it is a losing enterprise. So what is. There has to be a reason. Why. Terror we are told, I go back Assad and the weapons.

  • Matt

    As soon as Israel gives the US permission the GCC will supply heavier weapons game changing weapons and we will seize the WMD's. And then send in a 'small force'.

  • Matt

    Is their power in killing or in not killing Vlad should remember that. Which one is more powerful. Doku Umaraov ROE civilians.,8599,200

    I don't care about Boston. It is all old hat the KGB get the Bureau to pull him, then the KGB pull him and he is focused on his enemy. You got those games coming up.

    • JacksonPearson

      When was the last time you changed the water in your bong?


        NEVER.. He drinks it because it's rich in antioxidants and carbon tax credits.

  • charlotte

    Do you really think the Syrians would use this when they know the west will come down on them like a ton of bricks ?
    Here's alleged audio recording of a phone conversation between two members of the Free Syrian Army contains details of a plan to carry out a chemical weapons attack capable of impacting an area the size of one kilometer. They ask their sheik to supply it.
    Now I'm not sure if this is true but Heres this:
    Now what do you think? I'm more inclined to think the rebels got hold of chemical weapons…After all Obama has armed them with Libya's stockpile.

  • Matt

    Just like after the order of Lenin to Chapman, the bombings, the Chechen Parliament, the protests and the ROE. That was only because they thought I was ex-KGB one of them, you need to keep better records.


      And ex-LSD.

  • @kattaB4

    He obviously wants rid of Assad and a secular Syriah in order to help the rebels to install the Muslim Brotherhood in ruling position just like Egypt.

    • Cassandra

      You are right and that.s what I think too. Obama is already sending arms to the rebels. And I also think the same thing was happening in Benghazi. There it went wrong and Obama ducked. The Saudis are also helping the rebels. When Assad goes we will have a another Egyptian spring on our hands thanks to the communist Muslim in the White House. The people who voted for him should truly be ashamed of themselves.

  • kafir4life

    In the old days, President Stinky (BO) Benghazi could deal with a renegade like Assad with the threat of Sending his Sack of State Hillary Cankles Clinton with a VERY strongly worded letter. The threat alone was enough to send most dictators into hiding (it worked on Bill too). Notice that PRNK didn't rachet things up until Stinky's skank was gone.

    But Stinky is really just a little coward. A little boy in a big boy suit. A coward. Garbage.

    • JacksonPearson

      Barack is finding any excuse he can, to get the U.S. military in Syria, a la NATO.
      His goal there is to get Assad replaced with his pals, the Muslim Brotherhood.

  • pierce

    This guy, our President, reminds me of the WOLF in LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD, I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll blow your house down, but the house is still standing. Will he, or won't he? He had better be careful.. The rest of the world is watching, and waiting, and so am I.

    • wsk

      Three little pigs?

  • esperanto

    Check out:

    "Two Videos about 2 Iranian Girls,Ex-Muslims,who in 2009 were Imprisoned for becoming Christian"


    "Akbar(1542-1605),the Greatest Mughal Emperor of India,Apostate of Islam and Founder of a New Religion"

  • candy

    We have no business sending the united terrorist "rebels" a penny ,let alone supplies weapons and $400 million .
    Assad may be a dictator but the terrorist take over will be far worse,for everyone . Assad also isn't a fool ,it is far more likely the rebels used chemicals than Assad,unless he is in a desperate situation .

    Since the EU now has over 1,000 rebel fighters in Syria , the EU needs to deal with this situation .
    Americans are sick of being drug into muslim dramas and self destructive acts. Let them kill each other .

    At this point we all know what Obama is and where his interests lie, and it's not with what is best for Americans.

    • JacksonPearson

      A reestablishment of a Middle East Caliphate is what Obama's seeking.

    • The Homo

      Is there any evidence that the rebels have chemical weapons? We know for sure that the Syrians do: they've admitted it themselves but an official has recanted their claim that they do on Russian TV. Again, a shoddy attempt at misinformation by the Syrian propaganda machine, which, for a while, I thought was actually somewhat functional.


    "The Brits and French base their assessment on soil samples and interviews, and report that chemical weapons have been used in Aleppo, Homs and perhaps Damascus. U.S. and British intelligence agencies conclude that sarin was used. Both Britain and France doubt that rebel forces have access to chemical weaponry."

    Those "rebel forces" are Muslim Brotherhood, Saudi backed Al-Qaeda, I don't doubt that they have acccess to chem-weapons, lets not forget about the defectors from the Syrian military as well.

    NO, we shouldn't get involved, although Hussein-Obama is already supplying weaponry illegally,

    an islamic state of Syria similiar to whats now in Egypt is not in our best interests!

  • geneww1938

    There was plenty of evidence that chemicals were sent to rebels to be used and then blamed on the current Syrian administration.
    The evidence they are using is not who owns or now possesses these chemicals. Just evidence that it was used at some time.

  • Raymond

    Obama Gives 75 Million to so-called Planned Parenthood to
    Push Sex on Kids

  • Raymond

    FBI Director: I Have to Check to See if Obama Has the Right to Kill Americans
    on U.S. Soil.

    • JacksonPearson

      "FBI Director: I Have to Check to See if Obama Has the Right to Kill Americans
      on U.S. Soil."

      I don't believe those enumerated powers were granted to him, anywhere, in Article II, to the Constitution!

  • EthanP

    Yah. And the CIA didn't know? Right. The simple fact is our POTUS is a spineless cretan.

    • pagegl

      That would be "cretin", but otherwise pretty much entirely correct.

  • Smitty

    Instead of chlorine gas, why doesn't the Great Leader just divert all the marijuana that our Border Patrol confiscates from the Mexicans and send it to Syria. They could sit back, toke some blunts and chill out.

  • C.R.


  • C.R.


  • Paul Revere… – it’s like someone new ahead of time the tactics that would be used to usher in the Brotherhood.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Muslims not only kill thier own they have killed millions of others in a bloody reign of
    terror down through the centuries. The millions of Armenians horribly slaughtered
    by Islamic Turkey should be a warning to the depravity in Islam but our schools avoid
    this horrid picture of Historical evil. It may be that Americans have been calloused by
    decades of bloody Hollywood violence and are in a disconnect with what is real.
    We as free Americans are being weakened for such violence to be visited on us
    by leftists, communists, socialist and Islamists from the bed of organized crime, the UN
    Not all Americans are as stupid as the brainwashed left and will not be taken down by
    the ferociously inhuman actions that are being outed by alternate means of communication.
    What is on the way here will be what is there in Syria but in Syria there are no good guys
    fighting it is only one form of evil against the other, both sides see us as a big target.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Troll alert!!!!…………….William

  • Stephen Graff

    Agree that the issue is not about the merits of intervention: that issue can be debated and some can disagree. The issue is about the red line that Obama himself declared with resolute certainty. Failure to act very soon creates the potential for American power to lose its wind and its sails, which is especially troubling when countries like Iran and North Korea are preparing to enter the corridors of nuclear power. The United States will not be able to make any threat to stop them.

  • Parenthetical Phrase

    Obama is SOOOOO over his head — poor thing, he'll probably have to schedule another $5 million vacation just to cope. As for the Arabs, I hope they're taking this all in. As they declare JIHAD against non-Muslims, they are being butchered, gassed, raped, starved, tortured, jailed, shot, humiliated, and abandoned by other Muslims. Hopefully, someone among them is noticing this, although I realize that is hoping for a lot. It is highly likely that the US will take in quite a few seeking asylum who will then take up arms against Americans so that they can create the same chaotic hell hole here that they emerged from.
    God help us!

  • welldoneson

    Pleas, PLEASE do NOT send any US troops into Syria. The "rebels" are in fact Islamist hard-liners trying to take over Syria just as they have taken over Egypt and Libya. Obama knows this. That is what Benghazi was about – supplying arms to Islamists. That is what his entire administration is trying to cover up.

    Not to mention that the chemical weapons being used by Syria are the weapons trucked out of Iraq just before the first coalition went into Iraq. This was reported at the time, and is ignored to this very minute by the idiot left.



      Plus, at the end of the Sadamm regime, the remnants of his airforce flew to Iran.

  • margaret388

    OOPS! -said Obama.
    This crisis was not written in the Alinsky manual.
    What are we going to do? – said Obama looking at Michelle.
    and Michelle said :
    Just remember what you did with the Bengazi crisis, and do the same : NOTHING. I'm sure our people will understand and the press will help us.

  • margaret388

    OOPS! -said Obama.

  • Ellman

    "Washington’s words are empty." For 4+ years Washington has been little more than words with Mr. Verbosity resting his mouth only when on vacation while inundating us with verbiage like a monsoon rain when not on vacation. If words were money Obama would be a trillionaire like his budget deficits.

  • SoCalMike

    Let's help Sunni jihadis advance their latest battlefront!
    Good idea, Alan.
    Mental conformity is poisonous.

  • UraFecalLiberal

    All the bad guys in the world know Obama is a "four flusher", and a boy who never made it to manhood. He'll cave to an authoritative father figure and ask to be beaten and abused, and his hated America along with him.

  • butpymies

    Wow…Whatever the strategic considerations, imagining after 9/11 a script which describes America arming Al Qaeda…Jonathan Winters is actually alive, and managing the flow of history…

  • YourDaddy

    My issue is if we oust Bashar we get Al Qaeda or the Muslim Brotherhood. Also it has been reported that those nerve agents had isotope signatures outside that of known Sarin gas. This ACTUALLY looks like the rebels, yes Obama's rag tag army of Al Qaeda Freedom Fighters and Suicide bombers MAY actually be the ones deploying these gas attacks.
    just my two cents worth. Personally I think we need to stay out of that sandbox unless we plan to turn ALL the sand in that region of the world into glass.

  • roll on

    where is the balance in this article?

  • Bimbam

    I have listed 7 characteristics well-documented of negro behavior.

    This is one of them. That they “jive” (or lie). This was just “big-talk” sound tuff “jive” and the negro gets off of it. But when the real thing happens he is not shamed by it because he is a liberal.

    Liberals have no shame or morals. Gets quite complex when you are a negro and a liberal.

  • Bimbam

    I have listed 7 characteristics well-documented of negro behavior.

    This is one of them. That they “jive” (or lie). This was just “big-talk” sound tuff “jive” and the negro gets off of it. But when the real thing happens he is not shamed by it because he is a liberal.

    Liberals have no shame or morals. Gets quite complex when you are a negro and a liberal. Not that they are sophisticated or anything.

  • infidel4life

    It's time for the USA to stop intervening in the senseless violence of the Muslim world. They have been slaughtering each other for centuries, nothing we can do will change that. This is not a matter of serious national security, the flow of oil to the West is not threatened. Not one American dime should be spent and not one American life should be risked over this Muslim insanity.

  • Nico

    Israel is a beacon of democracy and freedom in the darkness of the Middle East. The West MUST continue to make common cause with the Israeli democracy. Israel is surrounded by forces hostile to its very existence; the Israeli cause represents OUR cause. The Judaeo-Christian values are a foundational pillar of freedom in Western Civilisation. See

  • Mannie

    The Coward In Chief will do what he has always done. He will dither.

  • RedState_Vet

    When is this "Arab Spring" going to end? They have certainly planted enough bodies….

  • Jason bosh

    a bluff?!?!?! just the other day i saw an article about a chemical weapons factory asad ordered destroyed:

  • Danny Caplan

    What the President should do is consider the possible consequences of what he says before he says it. The same goes for Kerry. The level of evil in the world which has increased since Obama has become President has quickened from a cantor to a gallop since Obama's re-election. It worries me to think about how much worse things will be by 2016.