American involvement in the civil war in Syria has been perilous. On the one hand the Assad regime is a no friend to America or its allies (principally Israel) so seeing it fall would seem to be advantageous and on the other hand the opposition to the Assad regime within Syria seems to have Al-Qaeda links. Beyond geopolitics is the humanitarian cost – approximately 40-50,000 Syrians have died in the civil war so far, many of those dead were civilians slaughtered by the Assad regime.
It was in this context that President Obama decided where he would draw the line for direct American involvement in the civil war. America is currently only involved in indirect actions such as covertly supplying Anti-Assad forces with light arms. Obama’s line would be the use of chemical weapons by the regime:
President Barack Obama warned Syrian President Bashar Assad Monday that the use of chemical weapons by the regime would be “totally unacceptable.”
“The use of chemical weapons is and would be totally unacceptable and if you make the tragic mistake of using these weapons there will be consequences and you will be held accountable,” he added.
Now it seems that line may have been crossed.
With rebel gains growing, the army has been increasingly relying on its superior weaponry. It has used air strikes and even long range, scud-type missiles, according to U.S. and NATO reports.
Western powers have warned Assad that using chemical weapons would be a “red line”, which they implied would draw international involvement in the conflict.
Syria repeated on Sunday that it would never use chemical weapons, but activists released reports later that day of what they said was a poison gas attack in the city of Homs.
The reports are difficult to confirm, as the government restricts media access in Syria.
If this reported use of chemical weapons proves to be true, given stated commitments, President Obama may be ordering American forces into another war in the Middle East.