Following an apparent chemical weapons
attack on a Syrian rebel stronghold, there are multiple reports that the U.S. is preparing for a potential military strike against Bashar al Assad’s regime.
Most sources say that President Obama has not made a final decision on any strike, but that it would involve cruise missiles fired from ships in the Mediterranean. This option would not risk any U.S. lives, but send a clear message that the use of chemical weapons would not be tolerated.
The United States said it was realigning naval forces in the Mediterranean to give President Barack Obama the option for an armed strike on Syria and a senior U.N. official arrived in Damascus to seek access for inspectors to the gas attack site.
From the Associated Press:
Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel declined to discuss any specific force movements while saying that Obama had asked the Pentagon to prepare military options for Syria. U.S. defence officials told The Associated Press that the Navy had sent a fourth warship armed with ballistic missiles into the eastern Mediterranean Sea but without immediate orders for any missile launch into Syria.
From CBS News:
CBS News has learned that the Pentagon is making the initial preparations for a cruise missile attack on Syrian government forces. We say “initial preparations” because such an attack won’t happen until the president gives the green light.
One official suggested to NBC News that any strike would be limited in scope:
“If the president wants to send a message” — most likely with limited airstrikes against a few targets — “we’re good at sending messages,” one official said. But if the White House wants to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad, “We’re not able to do that” without a long-term military commitment, the official said.
Obama has previously warned Assad against crossing a “red line” on chemical weapons, saying it would be a “game-changer” toward his military approach to the conflict.
It has been reported that hospitals in Damascus were flooded with thousands of victims after this week’s alleged attacks, with hundreds of victims alleged to have died.
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