The Not-So-Red Red Line in Syria

Despite evidence that chemical agents were used in Syria, President Obama said on Tuesday there are still too many unanswered questions to significantly alter US strategy toward the Syrian conflict at the moment. For example, it’s still not clear “how they were used, when they were used, who used them,” he said during an April 30 press conference at the White House. “We don’t have a chain of custody that establishes what exactly happened. And when I am making decisions about America’s national security and the potential of taking additional actions, I’ve got to make sure I’ve got the facts,” said Obama. “If we end up rushing to judgment without hard evidence, we could find ourselves in a position where we can’t mobilize the international community to support what we do,” he added. Obama said he has called on the United Nations to investigate the use of the chemical agents in the two-year civil war. “If I can establish in a way that not only the US, but also the international community, feels confident in the use of chemical weapons by the [Bashar al] Assad regime, then that is a game changer because that portends potentially to even more devastating attacks on civilians and raises the possibility that those weapons can fall into the wrong hands,” he said. (Obama transcript) (See also The Syrian Question from Air Force Magazine’s March issue.)