Pressure Mounts for the United States and Allies to Respond in Syria

Monday, August 26, 2013

A woman flashes the V for 'victory' sign in protest against the Syrian regime. (YASSER AL-ZAYYAT/Getty)

The latest reports of an alleged chemical weapons attack that killed hundreds in Syria has sparked a mounting investigation by United Nations (U.N.) officials. Amid renewed pressure, the United States and its allies continue to weigh their options on how best to respond. Last week, France called for a “reaction of force.”

"What we've seen indicates that this is clearly a big event of grave concern," President Obama told CNN on Friday.

The Syrian government has continued to deny the use of any such weapons. On Friday Russia urged the government to cooperate with U.N. investigators’ search for evidence of chemical warfare.

President Obama has warned that any Syrian attempt to move or use chemical weapons would constitute crossing a “red line," but deliberations within the Obama administration over how to respond are at a stalemate. 

Lara Setrakian is a journalist and founder of Syria Deeply. She joins The Takeaway to discuss the latest attacks and the possible response to come from the United States and its allies. P.J. Crowley provides a sense of the military and non-military options being considered in Washington, D.C. Crowley is the former Department of State spokesperson and currently at George Washington University.

After Secretary of State John Kerry delivered remarks on Monday about the use of chemical weapons in Syria, The Takeaway spoke with Barry Pavel, the Vice President of the Scowcroft Center at the Atlantic Council, about the military options on the table. 


Lara Setrakian

Produced by:

Ellen Frankman

Comments [4]


99 years since WW1...

Aug. 27 2013 12:05 AM
jack dresser

General Martin Dempsey, Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and outgoing CIA Deputy Director Michael Morrell have both warned strongly against US intervention to depose Assad.
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Very importantly, we must not reinforce the usual propaganda focused on a demonized strongman. As we know too well, the US only demonizes authoritarian regimes we have not installed and don’t control. Assad as designated demon has been preceded by bin Laden, Saddam and Qaddafi, all used as excuses to attack, invade and destroy other countries in violation of the UN Charter which prohibits “use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state” and Article VI of the United States Constitution which defines US treaty obligations as “the Supreme law of the Land.”

Our efforts must be aimed squarely at preservation of the Syrian state and compliance with international law. The surest course to that end, and the only course we have a right to demand, is non-interference consistent with the UN Charter: complete cessation of all direct and indirect US aid to the opposition (misidentified as “rebels”), demands that our Gulf State and other allies do likewise, and non-interference in next year's Syrian election.

The war cannot continue without arms re-supplied to the opposition and without funding to sustain the mercenaries. Assad has promised amnesty to those who lay down their arms. Unqualified non-intervention will predictably return the Syrian state to a future decided by self-determination, its right under international law.

US chemical weapons training of the "rebels" was reported yesterday:

With US naval forces hovering off the Syrian coast, the Russian naval base nearby, and the FSA hodgepodge bands of professional psychopaths and Salafi/Wahhabi fanatics under tenuous control, we are looking at 1982 Lebanon on steroids. Considering that Assad has plenty of advanced weapons and powerful external support, is prevailing on the battlefield, and would be crazy to cross a “red line” he has no need to cross that would bring the crusaders down upon him, the chemical attacks are obvious false flag operations by a desperate opposition.

Both the escalation risk and war crimes by our proxies are compelling reasons for us to immediately demand an end to any and all support of the “rebels.”

Aug. 26 2013 12:55 PM
jack dresser from Oregon

Brutal Sunni forces now dominate the opposition, would likely gain control of any weapons provided, and would maintain control of many areas within Syria under a stalemate ceasefire that could not prevent ongoing covert support and re-supply from the US and its Sunni Gulf State (Saudi, Qatari) and other allies (Turkey & Jordan with long borders on Syria), as well as ongoing atrocities. A dismembered Syria - like Lebanon, Iraq and Libya - rendered impotent to effectively oppose US/Israeli aggression against Iran, severing the “Shia Crescent” and making them vulnerable to Wahhabi/Salafi aggression, further inviting Russian intervention to prevent this potential takeover, and thereby risking a potential great power confrontation.

These outcomes correspond with an Israeli strategy formulated in 1982 to dominate the region by driving wedges into the natural sectarian fissures in Arab societies, rendering them ineffective as nation-states ( Accordingly, the neo-conservatives have been lobbying vigorously for US intervention in Syria (

Syria, like former Iraq and Libya, is a modern sectarian state that has heretofore provided a stable refuge in the Arab world for victims of Israeli and US aggression driven from Palestine, Lebanon, and Iraq, whose lives are once again imperiled and disrupted by our new crusade.

Assad has already negotiated with demands of the legitimate Syrian opposition, developing a constitution that was approved in 2012 by an overwhelming plurality of the Syrian electorate with elections scheduled next year that would allow Syrians to test this constitution and the Assad government’s willingness to comply with it. We must acknowledge this and respect the Syrian people’s right to decide on their own government and leaders free of foreign interference.

Aug. 26 2013 12:51 PM
jack dresser from oregon

Haven't we heard all this before? Saddam and chemical weapons? The usual deceptive manipulation of public opinion by focus on demonized authoritarian leaders as excuses to attack, fracture and destroy other countries as functional nation-states? Both the evidence and ordinary logic contradict this familiar narrative in Syria.

Our most recent (now outgoing en route to assure mayhem in Egypt) ambassador to Syria is Robert Stephen Ford, former deputy to John Negroponte in Iraq who together fomented and fueled the sectarian violence that continues to tear apart that nation-no-more, following the “Salvadoran Option” (as reported by Dahr Jamail in January 2007) developed by Negroponte in the 1980s as ambassador to Honduras (

According to numerous credible reports, preparations for the “Salvadoran Option” in Syria have been implemented at least since 2008 from a base in Iraq, leading to appointment of Ford as ambassador to Syria in 2011, whereupon Ford dignified an uncoordinated assortment of mercenaries and Sunni fanatic (Wahhabi, Salafi) gangs by designation as the “Free Syrian Army” with each terrorist organization controlled by embedded US-NATO special forces and intelligence operatives.

A key strategy used by US black-ops to dismember another country with political and/or sectarian divisions is false flag attacks, used in Iraq to inflame Sunni/Shi’ite violence that has destroyed Iraq as a functioning state. With Ford in place in Syria, this is entirely predictable and transparent to those not bewitched by our media propaganda. A previous gas attack was determined by the UN to have been inflicted by the “rebels” (largely foreign mercenaries and militant jihadists paid by the US, Saudis and Qatar with arms passed through to them by collaborating Turkey and Jordan), and not coincidentally occurred soon after Obama’s “red line” announcement. Assad, an MD, is not stupid enough to have deliberately inflicted the one atrocity that might bring the US OVERTLY down on him.

Similarly, the current gas attack occurred immediately after (and conveniently nearby) the UN investigative team on chemical weapons arrival. Assad is winning on the battlefield. WHY would he risk triggering an escalated US intervention? Obvious answer: he wouldn’t, and didn’t. Who would profit from a chemical weapon atrocity? Only the opposition. Obama's “red line” pronouncements are the cue for false flag operations, not for Syrian state suicide.

Aug. 26 2013 12:43 PM

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