Oh, by the way: Looks like Obama’s chemical weapons “red line” in Syria was crossed

posted at 5:21 pm on April 16, 2013 by Allahpundit

Something that got lost in the shuffle over the weekend and in yesterday’s chaos, although it shouldn’t have. If O’s serious about his warnings to Assad — “I have made clear that the use of chemical weapons is a game-changer” — then Syria will be back on the news radar soon, in dramatic ways. Over to you, British intelligence:

Evidence of the use of chemical weapons has been discovered in a soil sample smuggled out of Syria, The Times of London reported on Saturday.

The report quoted anonymous British defense sources who said that “some kind of chemical weapon” was used in Syria but they could not tell whether the chemicals were used by Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces or by the rebels.

The finding was established by the British Ministry of Defense’s chemical and biological research establishment at Porton Down in in Wiltshire. The sources ruled out that the chemical traces found in the soil were from substances used to control riots with one saying, “There have been some reports that it was just a strong riot-control agent but this is not the case — it’s something else, although it can’t definitively be said to be sarin nerve agent.”

The “strong riot-control agent” they’re referring to is likely Agent 15 or something similar, named as possible causes of the two previous chemical-weapons scares in Syria this winter. If it’s not that, what is it? Another western diplomat from an unspecified country told AFP, “There are several examples where we are quite sure that shells with chemicals have been used in a very sporadic way,” and that the evidence sent to the UN of chemical weapons usage was “quite convincing.” If you’re inclined to dismiss all this as the uninformed mumblings of anonymous sources, note that Britain’s foreign minister said just yesterday that he’s increasingly concerned that chemical weapons have been used. How can he be sure? According to the article quoted above, a soil sample was smuggled out of Syria (no word on which city) that proves something foul was released. I find that amazing, not technically but politically: It’s obvious that Obama doesn’t want to intervene in Syria unless something happens that leaves him with no choice. A mass-casualty attack using chemical weapons would force his hand; a small attack with few casualties that can’t be proved to have been chemical wouldn’t, unless an ally was working hard to show that it really did happen. The fact that this is being leaked to British papers, knowing that it would put Obama on the spot, smells like the Brits are trying to pressure Obama into doing something. But what?

Per WaPo, as of three weeks ago, our options were … not good:

The course Obama intends to take if confronted with proof of a chemical attack is equally unclear. The Pentagon has prepared calibrated options, ranging from airstrikes to sending troops to seize weapons sites. But officials said they haven’t taken the advance steps necessary to carry out such orders because planning has been hobbled by concerns about the political backlash to a potential U.S. intervention as well as struggles to coordinate with regional allies.

“If we had to go in tomorrow, I’d say we aren’t ready,” said an Obama administration official involved in preparations for securing Syria’s chemical weapons. “One thing we want to avoid is having one group securing the sites and another group bombing them.”

Supposedly there are U.S. troops in Jordan training special forces there to go in and seize some of Assad’s weapons depots just across the border. That’s assuming, of course, that Assad is the guilty party in using WMD and not the jihadist nuts among the rebels he’s fighting. There are reasons to think outfits like Jabhat al-Nusra might be able, not to mention willing, to use chemical weapons against the regime, but that’s less likely than the opposite being true and in any case Obama’s already expressed extreme skepticism that any rebel faction might be responsible for WMDs there. It doesn’t really matter for “red line” purposes if they did, frankly: Knowing that jihadi fighters had already broken the chemical-weapons taboo is only further incentive to seize whatever Assad has left and get it out of the country before the rebels grab it and “Phase Two: Beyond Thunderdome” of the Syrian civil war begins. (The Islamists in the rebel ranks are already at each other’s throats.) The question is, by warning Assad publicly rather than privately that chemical-weapons use would have “consequences,” did Obama inadvertently create an incentive for the opposition to use them (if they’re capable) knowing that Assad will be blamed? If you’re a rebel eager for U.S. military help and you think you can get away with detonating a few chemical shells without leaving fingerprints, you might decide to do it and hope that the west holds the nut in Damascus who’s spent two years slaughtering people responsible.

Mike Rogers is already on record as saying that the U.S. should do something about Assad’s chemical weapons and the Senate’s superhawks are always up for an American intervention in some hopeless part of the world, so expect some GOP pressure on O over this if/when the battle over gun control (and immigration?) are over.


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Oh please. This same type of chemical weapon(old artillery shell) was found in Iraq, but the left wasn’t willing to consider it WMD so I don’t see why this should be any different.

Wigglesworth on April 16, 2013 at 5:26 PM

1, 2, 2 1/2, 2 3/4,……….

BobMbx on April 16, 2013 at 5:26 PM

the question is if they were used, who used them??

we already delivered Egypt, and Libya into the rebel hands is that what we are going to do in Syria.

RonK on April 16, 2013 at 5:27 PM

Barry has no balls, so nothing will be done.

GhoulAid on April 16, 2013 at 5:27 PM

Oh please. This same type of chemical weapon(old artillery shell) was found in Iraq, but the left wasn’t willing to consider it WMD so I don’t see why this should be any different.

Wigglesworth on April 16, 2013 at 5:26 PM

Matter of fact, wonder where they got them from?

itsspideyman on April 16, 2013 at 5:28 PM

Stern look and not so nice letter to Syria forthcoming….

dentarthurdent on April 16, 2013 at 5:29 PM

Barry’s red lines are fluid.

vcferlita on April 16, 2013 at 5:33 PM

Lie bigger, change the subject, point at a Republican and call names.

Same old commie crap.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on April 16, 2013 at 5:33 PM

“game changer” means he changes the channel.

aquaviva on April 16, 2013 at 5:33 PM

Obama might just attend Thatchers funeral to hide from journalists for a week or so.

portlandon on April 16, 2013 at 5:34 PM

Matter of fact, wonder where they got them from?

itsspideyman on April 16, 2013 at 5:28 PM

Old and busted: “George Bush Lied. People Died.”

New Hotness: “George Bush know that the weapons were moved to Syria and he went in anyway”.

Obama cannot go into Syria for this very reason.

oldroy on April 16, 2013 at 5:35 PM

Awwww hell, you did it now, Syria, here comes the Steel-Spined Man of Action to kick your asz!

Bishop on April 16, 2013 at 5:36 PM

Try adding “lolz jk” to the end of every sentence Obama says about foreign policy. Everything will start to make sense.

CaliSwag on April 16, 2013 at 5:37 PM

Stay out of Syria.

Both sides hate us even with the aid already rendered to the FSA. The FSA is being co-opted by Al Nusra which is as close to Al Qaeda as you can be without actually being AQ. The FSA insurgent forces have grown a reputation of killing all Shabia prisoners they take and only allow SAA that are willing to join them to live. There are posted videos of them beheading and executing captured soldiers and SAA sympathizers with US made weapons.

Regardless of the chemical weapons in the region that libs claimed never existed, there’s no reason to send anything else there.

And there’s no good side to support there.

hawkdriver on April 16, 2013 at 5:38 PM

Kinetic military action???

jimver on April 16, 2013 at 5:38 PM

I’m sure he’ll just send his Nintendo pilots over to set the country on fire from the air, and then call it done.

Arab Spring II: Electric Boogaloo.

The Schaef on April 16, 2013 at 5:40 PM

Fire off that sternly worded memo!

The Rogue Tomato on April 16, 2013 at 5:41 PM

Can you imagine the Iraq war, had Saddam had chemical weapons to use against US troops? Wouldn’t it be better to get him to move them to Syria, where this Israelis have much better intelligence, and can bomb what they need? Than go in and remove Saddam when there is less danger of mass US and civilian casualties?

oldroy on April 16, 2013 at 5:41 PM

Before McCain weighs in, remember:


Pic of the Day: DEFCON-McCAIN

Resist We Much on April 16, 2013 at 5:42 PM

SEND IN THE MOOCH!!!!

Blake on April 16, 2013 at 5:42 PM

“One thing we want to avoid is having one group securing the sites and another group bombing them.”

Friendly fire to the max, and not impossible given the state of Obama’s military command.

And there’s no good side to support there.

hawkdriver on April 16, 2013 at 5:38 PM

Indeed.

AesopFan on April 16, 2013 at 5:43 PM

And there’s no good side to support there.

hawkdriver on April 16, 2013 at 5:38 PM

But aren’t we kind of supporting the rebels? Gosh, sounds like there no good either….

oldroy on April 16, 2013 at 5:43 PM

What to do?

Like always blame republicans, lack of gun registration, and the sequester for him doing nothing or the wrong thing.

jukin3 on April 16, 2013 at 5:44 PM

there > their…

oldroy on April 16, 2013 at 5:44 PM

Matter of fact, wonder where they got them from?

itsspideyman on April 16, 2013 at 5:28 PM

Probably Germany, France or Canada. I think those were the countries that sold Iraq most of the dual use chemicals. The U.S. sold single digit % of what was purchased by Sadham.

Mimzey on April 16, 2013 at 5:44 PM

dith·er (intransitive verb) \ˈdi-thər\

dith·ereddith·er·ing \-th(ə-)riŋ\

Definition of DITHER
1: shiver, tremble
2: to act nervously or indecisively : vacillate
— dith·er·er \-thər-ər\ noun

Examples of DITHER
1)We don’t have time to dither.
2)She did not dither about what to do next.

Seven Percent Solution on April 16, 2013 at 5:46 PM

The course Obama intends to take if confronted with proof of a chemical attack is equally unclear.

I believe the response is: What difference does it make?

PackerBronco on April 16, 2013 at 5:47 PM

Oh, by the way: Looks like Obama’s chemical weapons “red line” in Syria was crossed

Yeah, but was it Obama’s red-red line.

In any event, you’ll still have to wait for his next laser-like focus on the subject.

Dusty on April 16, 2013 at 5:49 PM

It’s an internal mater of Syria, let them handle it or let the region handle it if Syria is too messed up to sort this crap out.

If we step into the fray we will end up being blamed for every bad thing that has and will happen there.

Fine, solve your own problems Middle East.

I hear Israel has a decent Army…

Neo on April 16, 2013 at 5:50 PM

I believe the response is: What difference (at this point) does it make?

PackerBronco on April 16, 2013 at 5:47 PM

Fixed that….

oldroy on April 16, 2013 at 5:52 PM

The Rogue Tomato on April 16, 2013 at 5:41 PM

+1

socalcon on April 16, 2013 at 5:57 PM

Fire off that sternly worded memo!

The Rogue Tomato on April 16, 2013 at 5:41 PM

Lol :) careful what you wish for, next thing we know Obozo is going to call Assad a murderous bastage :) and such unwarranted provocation would damage our relation with the Muesli world…

jimver on April 16, 2013 at 5:57 PM

“If we had to go in tomorrow, I’d say we aren’t ready,” said an Obama administration official…

Par.

BKeyser on April 16, 2013 at 5:57 PM

Kerry is working up an apology for the U.S. finding out Syria used chemical weapons.

Limerick on April 16, 2013 at 5:59 PM

The REB didn’t say exactly what he’d do if his ‘red-line’ was crossed. Maybe it means he goes to Marxist Vineyard for two weeks instead of one?

slickwillie2001 on April 16, 2013 at 5:59 PM

The course Obama intends to take if confronted with proof of a chemical attack is equally unclear.

I believe the response is: What difference does it make?

PackerBronco on April 16, 2013 at 5:47 PM

Zactly…what difference does it make whether he kills them with gas or he shoots them /sarc

jimver on April 16, 2013 at 6:00 PM

And the Iranians have crossed the red line…

And the North Koreans have crossed the red line…

And the Russians openly laugh….

And the muslim brotherhood cashes our checks and laughs….

So glad we have a preznit the rest of the world respects.

HumpBot Salvation on April 16, 2013 at 6:00 PM

Obama’s next brilliant move…beer summit?

Meople on April 16, 2013 at 6:01 PM

Obama will address the crossing of the ‘red line’ the same way he’ll handle North Korea and the terrorist bombing in Boston. He’ll talk.

And… in the case of North Korea he’ll capitulate and send them food, medical equipment, medicines and supplies, as well as heavy equipment such as bulldozers, and technology claiming it as a victory in ‘exchange’ for their ‘disarmament’ ( said disarmament which will doubtless proceed about as well as our oversight of USSR disarmament), and in the case of Syria, again, he’ll send food, arms, medical supplies, and technology.

North Korea has staged this entire affair as a form of blackmail. They meant to get this nation and others to the table to ‘negotiate’ with them so they could get the things they wanted from us all, namely food, cash, medical supplies, technology, and heavy equipment, an easing of restrictions and sanctions, and inclusion in trade.

Syrian rebels are heavily infiltrated and allied with al quaeda according to recent reports. So aiding them becomes aiding the same people who attacked Boston and NY.

thatsafactjack on April 16, 2013 at 6:04 PM

Obama’s next brilliant move…beer summit?

Meople on April 16, 2013 at 6:01 PM

Al-Shark summit!

slickwillie2001 on April 16, 2013 at 6:04 PM

Syrian rebels are heavily infiltrated and allied with al quaeda according to recent reports. So aiding them becomes aiding the same people who attacked Boston and NY.

thatsafactjack on April 16, 2013 at 6:04 PM

Obama will do whatever he can to keep his intents as clouded as possible, take whatever actions get to keep his real intentions as concealed as possible…from the West. Sending Kerry to bow and apologize seems to be likely while Obama tells the US not to “jump to conclusions”.

Lourdes on April 16, 2013 at 6:09 PM

Something that got lost in the shuffle over the weekend and in yesterday’s chaos, although it shouldn’t have.
==============================================

There is only so much time in a day,
and watching the Breaking News Site,
almost 24/7,there is alot going on,
again,there is only so much time in
the day!!

canopfor on April 16, 2013 at 6:15 PM

Speaking of Red Lines,I thought that policy
by Team Obama,was only reserved for dealing
with the GOP!!
(sarc)

canopfor on April 16, 2013 at 6:17 PM

The redline vanished when he finished his press conference.

tommer74 on April 16, 2013 at 6:23 PM

Send in mcgilla to lecture them on school lunchs and exercise.

acyl72 on April 16, 2013 at 6:24 PM

Shut up that’s what! /BHO

trs on April 16, 2013 at 6:27 PM

Yer up to yer azz in alligators, Barry. Whatta gonna do ,O Fearless Leader?

katy the mean old lady on April 16, 2013 at 6:30 PM

Obama destabilizes the world, then wonders why he has to put out multiple fires simultaneously.

Seriously,

Syria, Lybia, Egypt, Iran, Korea … the list goes on.

scotash on April 16, 2013 at 6:33 PM

crickets…………..chirp..chirp..chirp.

humm, I don’t hear a thing.

losarkos on April 16, 2013 at 6:34 PM

You say that the chemical is likely Agent 15 which is a non-lethal gas the US military weaponized during the cold war before destroying their stock piles in 1989.

I looked over your articles and none of them make reference to it. They all reference various HIGHLY deadly nerve gases.

Karmashock on April 16, 2013 at 6:35 PM

Letter that has tested positive three times for Ricin was sent to Republican Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi.

Resist We Much on April 16, 2013 at 6:38 PM

He can justifiy his red line stance by saying they came from out of country not from withing Syria…

albill on April 16, 2013 at 6:43 PM

Letter that has tested positive three times for Ricin was sent to Republican Senator Roger Wicker of Mississippi.

Resist We Much

Clearly a right wing nut job.

xblade on April 16, 2013 at 6:46 PM

Let the bloodthirsty Arabs kill each other.
If only we could keep their killing confined to just each other.
But in this case, no need for us to be involved.

dentarthurdent on April 16, 2013 at 6:51 PM

The course Obama intends to take if confronted with proof of a chemical attack is equally unclear.

Really?

He’ll just ignore it. Therefore, it didn’t happen.

GarandFan on April 16, 2013 at 7:00 PM

Assad will be put on Super-Secret Double-Probation, as Teh Won votes Present once again.

Another Drew on April 16, 2013 at 7:19 PM

Ok, we’ll change the “red line” to “blue” and we’ll change the game from Monopoly to Jenga.

catmman on April 16, 2013 at 7:23 PM

Assad will be put on Super-Secret Double-Probation, as Teh Won votes Present once again.

Another Drew on April 16, 2013 at 7:19 PM

.
Maybe Obysmal will double-dog red line them………….

FlaMurph on April 16, 2013 at 11:24 PM

Oooh, red-lines? Fighting-talk! What happened to UN resolutions?

It seems as though all deliberation, consultation, diplomacy and law has deserted. Just a matter of what colors the president sees on a particular day.

Also, the citing of British intelligence (that can be disowned later) is reminiscent of the Iraq war casus belli pre-amble (remember Nigerian Yellow-cake – oh, yes, that’s where Ahmedinijihad is right now – Nigeria, inspecting uranium).

Now that we know that personal whim is the essence of Obama’s foreign policy, we don’t need to dig further. It completely explains why Mubarak had to go and Gaddafi had to be butchered. Liberals always know what the right thing to do is and never need to explain their actions.

virgo on April 17, 2013 at 12:49 AM

Pic of the Day: DEFCON-McCAIN

Resist We Much on April 16, 2013 at 5:42 PM

“Stay blood thirsty, my friends.”

BillH on April 17, 2013 at 3:59 AM

I’d like to think that British intelligence are always infallible, that British civil servants are always honourable, and that reporters are always accurate and unbiased. History urges me to consider alternatives.

YiZhangZhe on April 17, 2013 at 1:23 PM

What now?

Draw another line.

FORWARD!!1!

RedNewEnglander on April 17, 2013 at 2:48 PM