American officials, including Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, have now stated that they believe the Syrian government has used chemical weapons against their people. This act crosses the “red line” President Obama declared existed and that, if crossed, would lead to direct American involvement in the Syrian Civil War.
The United States now believes the Syrian government has used chemical weapons against its people, according to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and a White House letter to Congress.
The White House informed Congress about the chemical weapons use in letters to Sens. Carl Levin, D-Mich., and John McCain, R-Ariz., on Thursday. These announcements are the first U.S. indication of confidence in claims of Syria’s chemical weapons use.
The allegation is that the Syrian government used the chemical agent Sarin.
The White House statement puts the United States closer to the positions of Great Britain, France and Israel about Syria’s use of chemical weapons. British and French officials told U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon last month they had evidence of such use, including soil samples and interviews with witnesses and members of the Syrian opposition.
The two countries asked the United Nations chief to investigate allegations of chemical weapons use in two locations near Damascus on March 19, as well as in the city of Homs on Dec. 23. Ban has appointed a team of chemical weapons experts to investigate the allegations, but the Syrian government has largely blocked the team from doing its work. Syria, meanwhile, has accused rebels of using chemical weapons.
But unlike those other countries the American government has made a public commitment to military intervention in the event the use of chemical weapons could be conclusively proven – as it now appears to have been.
Are we heading into yet another war in the Middle East?