• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Subscribe
  • RSS

Syria Intervention Looks Inevitable

syria-obama-map

Western military action in the Syrian civil war now appears likely.

The Telegraph‘s Tim Ross and Ben Farmer report that “Britain is planning to join forces with America and launch military action against Syria within days in response to the gas attack believed to have been carried out by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces against his own people.”

Royal Navy vessels are being readied to take part in a possible series of cruise missile strikes, alongside the United States, as military commanders finalise a list of potential targets.

Government sources said talks between the Prime Minister and international leaders, including Barack Obama, would continue, but that any military action that was agreed could begin within the next week.

As the preparations gathered pace, William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, warned that the world could not stand by and allow the Assad regime to use chemical weapons against the Syrian people “with impunity”.

Britain, the US and their allies must show Mr Assad that to perpetrate such an atrocity “is to cross a line and that the world will respond when that line is crossed”, he said.

British forces now look likely to be drawn into an intervention in the Syrian crisis after months of deliberation and international disagreement over how to respond to the bloody two-year civil war.

Meanwhile, AFP reports, world defense chiefs are gathering in Jordan to discuss the situation.

Senior military officers from Western and Muslim countries were gathering in Jordan Monday to discuss the regional impact of the war in Syria, Jordanian officials said.

State-run Petra news agency quoted a Jordanian military spokesman as saying that the meeting comes at the invitation of Jordan’s chief of staff Meshaal Mohamed al-Zaban and General Lloyd Austin, head of Centcom, the US command responsible for 20 countries in the Middle East and Central Asia.

US army chief General Martin Dempsey would take part, as would chiefs of staff from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Canada, said the official, cited by Petra.

A Jordanian government official confirmed the meeting, saying it would be held on Monday and Tuesday.

And the Assad regime’s last-ditch concession allowing UN weapons inspectors in appears in vain. Lauren Williams for The Daily Star:

Pressure is mounting on the United States and its allies to respond to an alleged chemical weapons attack outside the Syrian capital that officials say was probably perpetrated by the government, even if they cannot establish responsibility with certainty.

U.N. weapons inspectors were to begin moving in to the site of the attack that medical agencies say killed hundreds in the Eastern Ghouta area outside Damascus, after Syria Sunday bowed to pressure to grant them access.

But a U.S. official said the agreement to grant access had come too late to be credible, casting doubt over the team’s ability to establish culpability.

Syria confirmed it had agreed to allow the inspections, and the U.N. said Damascus had agreed to a cease-fire while a U.N. team are at the site.

Restricted access in the days following the attack and continued government bombardment of the affected areas have made detailing a clear picture of what exactly happened last Wednesday difficult. But medical samples, along with videos of the attack and witnesses’ testimonies, have been collected, and Western powers have made increasingly assertive claims that they believe President Bashar Assad’s regime was responsible.

France followed the United States and the United Kingdom Sunday in concluding the government was behind it.

French President Francois Hollande told his U.S counterpart Barack Obama Sunday that “everything was consistent” with the conclusion that Damascus was responsible.

Meanwhile, a senior U.S. official said there was very little doubt that the Syrian government had used a chemical weapon against civilians.

“Based on the reported number of victims, reported symptoms of those who were killed or injured, witness accounts and other facts gathered by open sources, the U.S. intelligence community, and international partners, there is very little doubt at this point that a chemical weapon was used by the Syrian regime against civilians in this incident,” the U.S. official said.

“At this juncture, any belated decision by the regime to grant access to the U.N. team would be considered too late to be credible, including because the evidence available has been significantly corrupted as a result of the regime’s persistent shelling and other international actions over the last five days,” the official said.

Britain also said that evidence of an attack could have already been destroyed ahead of a visit.

Scott Shane and Ben Hubbard of the NYT add:

Moving a step closer to possible American military action in Syria, a senior Obama administration official said Sunday that there was “very little doubt” that President Bashar al-Assad’s military forces had used chemical weapons against civilians last week and that a Syrian promise to allow United Nations inspectors access to the site was “too late to be credible.”

he official, in a written statement, said that “based on the reported number of victims, reported symptoms of those who were killed or injured, witness accounts and other facts gathered by open sources, the U.S. intelligence community, and international partners, there is very little doubt at this point that a chemical weapon was used by the Syrian regime against civilians in this incident.”

The statement, released Sunday morning on the condition that the official not be named, reflected a tougher tone after President Obama’s meeting at the White House on Saturday with his national security team, during which advisers discussed options for military action.

While administration officials emphasized that Mr. Obama had not decided to take action, they said he was determined not to be drawn into a protracted debate over gaining access for the United Nations investigators, because of doubts that they could now produce credible findings.

Officials say that a list of possible targets for a military strike has been circulating in the White House since late last week. The list, which the Pentagon originally prepared months ago for Mr. Obama, includes both chemical-weapons sites and broader military and government targets, depending on the type of action the president orders. If strikes are carried out, the targets would probably be hit by cruise missiles fired from Navy ships.

This is some incredibly belligerent rhetoric if the use of force is simply an option on the table rather than a fait accompli. I suppose it could be an aggressive bluff aimed at convincing Assad that action is inevitable if he doesn’t capitulate. But Assad has given every indication that he sees no option short of keeping the family business alive.

Related Posts:

About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. DC Loser says:

    I think we have no idea what the unintended consequences of intervention will be. Lebanon is already slipping back into Civil War with the attacks between Hezbollah and the Sunni factions, and Jordan is sitting on the precipice. Iraq is another country that can be destabilized by the Jihadists going back into Syria. This is a mess we have to keep ourselves out of. We can’t do any more of these wars in the regions.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  2. Todd says:

    As has previously been discussed in other posts, there are no good options for the U.S. here. That said, the pressures to do something will almost surely be too great to overcome. Given that, I can only hope that our military actions in Syria look much more like Libya than Iraq.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  3. Rob in CT says:

    I still hope we’ll stay out, but my hope is fading.

    The boys* have their hammers. He looks out into the world and sees a forest of nails… even if he’s not all that into carpentry.

    * – not that I really see much evidence that girls avoid using their hammers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  4. walt moffett says:

    Wonder how they will work around a Russian veto in the UN Security Council?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  5. stonetools says:

    Let’s just see what the intervention is, before we start wringing our hands and talking about Iraq II.
    I trust Obama to make sure the intervention is limited, short term and not involving the commitment of ground forces. I think he is reluctant to commit at all. The bottom line here is he doesn’t want to see routine use of large scale chemical weapon bombardment against civilians in this or future wars. That’s actually a worthy goal. Let’s see if he can keep that genie in the bottle.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  6. Ron Beasley says:

    I just heard that UN Inspectors were fired on by snipers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  7. Tyrell says:

    It seems like the middle east went down hill completely after the British got out.
    President Obama needs to call a summit meeting of the countries in that whole area, including Israel and Iran. Time to crank up a plane and do some shuttle diplomacy. Sec. Kerry is going to be busy. It will be interesting to see how he stacks up with giants of the past: Marshall, Acheson, Dulles, Rusk, Haig, Schultz, Baker, and the incomparable Dr. Kissinger.
    “Mister, you can go home pig or pork. Make up your mind!” (Marshall Dillon, “Gunsmoke”)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 13

  8. refn says:

    I guess the USA has to go stop the rest of the world from finding all the chemical weapons they smuggled into the region again.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 4

  9. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Just like with Libya, we’re moving towards intervention without a convincing case being presented that it is a good idea. And stonetools is demonstrating a remarkable argument here — “if Obama says it’s necessary, then that’s good enough for me.”

    Here’s an alternate take: Obama is a petty man. A year ago, he laid down the law: Syria will NOT use chemical weapons, or there will be a price to be paid. One year later to the day, Assad flipped Obama the bird. And now Assad must be punished for his insolence in recognizing that Obama was talking out of his ass, and calling the bluff.

    So, because Obama shot his mouth off and made a truly stupid move by issuing that “red line,” we as a nation have to back up his stupid move.

    This sounds vaguely familiar to me, but i can’t quite place it…

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 24

  10. James in Silverdale, WA says:

    1,001 times NO.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  11. michael reynolds says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Do you know the term non sequitur? Look it up.

    Obama is a petty man. A year ago, he laid down the law: Syria will NOT use chemical weapons, or there will be a price to be paid. One year later to the day, Assad flipped Obama the bird. And now Assad must be punished for his insolence in recognizing that Obama was talking out of his ass, and calling the bluff.

    So Obama was “talking out of his ass,” when he said he would retaliate against chem weapons, and this is demonstrated by Obama doing exactly what he said he would do. Which was a bluff, somehow?

    Um, what?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 1

  12. michael reynolds says:

    If this is just a punitive raid – throwing some cruise missiles at military, government, intel targets, then, meh. Okay. There’s almost never a bad time to blow up some Assad people.

    If this is intervention with an eye to affecting the final outcome, then no. I think that would be a mistake. Not because I wouldn’t enjoy seeing Assad’s dead body being dragged around the streets of Damascus, but because I am not convinced that what follows after wouldn’t be as bad or worse.

    But Obama has earned some trust here. When we did Libya there was all sorts of pundits and commenters crying that we’d have boots on the ground and decades of occupation. We ended up knocking off a tyrant, losing a handful of diplomatic personnel and occupying nothing.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 13 Thumb down 7

  13. C. Clavin says:

    Meantime it comes out that we helped Saddam use chemicals against Iran.
    And when I say we…I mean stupid f’ing Republicans acting in my name.

    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2013/08/25/secret_cia_files_prove_america_helped_sadda
    m_as_he_gassed_iran?page=0,0

    Stay the fvck ovt of this mess.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  14. C. Clavin says:

    “…We ended up knocking off a tyrant, losing a handful of diplomatic personnel and occupying nothing…”

    But according to Jenos it was a massacre.
    BENGHAZiiiiii!!!!!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  15. Ron Beasley says:

    @michael reynolds:

    but because I am not convinced that what follows after wouldn’t be as bad or worse.

    Amen brother and I convinced it would be the latter.
    I can see several scenarios where Assad was not responsible for the gassing.
    - A faction of the rebels did it in an attempt to draw the US and the West into the conflict.
    - Hezbollah is responsible without Assad’s knowledge.
    - A rouge element of Assad’s army.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  16. DC Loser says:

    Pat Lang is not buying the “proof.”

    http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2013/08/drinking-more-koolaid.html

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  17. Gustopher says:

    I don’t want us involved.

    But, if we’re going to involve ourselves, I don’t want a slow, creeping escalation of missile strikes where everyone learns that the cost of using chemical weapons is some cruise missiles hitting some carefully selected military targets.

    Skip the military targets, level the Presidential palace and major government buildings.

    We can’t be certain that we will get Assad, but we can screw up his commute. And if he has a favorite coffee shop, level it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  18. 11B40 says:

    Greetings:

    I just hope that we are prepared for the tsunami of Muslim gratitude that is sure to follow our intervention. “Muslim gratitude?” you say. “Why yes!” say I. It’s like a Missouri-Warhol River; a verbal mile wide, and actual inch deep, and flows for about 15 minutes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  19. michael reynolds says:

    @11B40:

    I don’t think we predicate our foreign policy on “Muslim gratitude.” Not quite sure why one define it as “Muslim gratitude,” while we’re at it. The billion or so Muslims around the world would not be directly affected by an intervention in Syria. Or even indirectly. The beneficiaries, insofar as there are any at all, would be the Syrian rebels, while the people hurt would be the Syrian government, both of which are Muslim.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  20. anjin-san says:

    And if he has a favorite coffee shop, level it.

    So you don’t have a problem killing the poor SOB who is just making coffee and trying to take care of his family and live his life?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  21. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @michael reynolds: You really shouldn’t try playing stupid. You’ve shown you’re too intelligent for that.

    Obama drew his “red line” because he actually thought his words would bring about his desired income, It’s one of his trademarks. Now that Assad has told Obama to put up or shut up, Obama has to decide if he’d rather back down and admit he was talking out of his ass, or commit the US to smacking Assad down for his effrontery.

    And let me spell out what I was alluding to — remember all those people who accused Bush of going after Saddam just because Bush I didn’t finish off Saddam, and tried to assassinate Bush I out of revenge? They said that the Iraq war was Bush using the US military to settle a personal hash. That was a crock, but it’s starting to look like Obama’s actually using that same playbook.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 12

  22. Mikey says:

    Related and interesting:

    Syria will require more than cruise missiles

    In 1994, after directing the U.S. Air Force’s official study of the Persian Gulf War, I concluded, “Air power is an unusually seductive form of military strength, in part because, like modern courtship, it appears to offer gratification without commitment.” That observation stands. It explains the Obama administration’s enthusiasm for a massive, drone-led assassination campaign against al-Qaeda terrorists. And it applies with particular force to a prospective, U.S.-led attack on the Syrian government in response to its use of chemical weapons against a civilian population.

    President Obama has boxed himself in. He can no longer ignore his own proclamation of a “red line.” The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in a breach of proper civil-military relations, has publicly telegraphed his skepticism about any use of force in Syria. But the scale, openness and callousness of the Syrian government’s breaking of an important taboo seems likely to compel this president — so proud of his record as a putative war-ender — to launch the warplanes yet again in the Middle East.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  23. 11B40 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Greetings, michael reynolds:

    Just a bit of Islamophobic sarcasm, michael. Gratitude is one of those things that supremacist ideologies like Islam have trouble both understanding and putting into effect. My basic point, as it has been for a while, is that Islam is the millstone. And if your plan doesn’t include constraining, undermining, or eradicating Islam, you don’t have a plan. What you have is a hope.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 9

  24. gVOR08 says:

    @anjin-san: As you know, there was a fair amount of discussion of that yesterday. http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/dont-support-the-troops/ This is what I’ve referred to as “Israeli Army ethics”. ‘We only intended to kill the terrorist. We didn’t intend to kill his neighbors. We knew the Hellfire missile would kill them, but it doesn’t count unless we specifically intended to kill them.’

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  25. C. Clavin says:

    “…remember all those people who accused Bush of going after Saddam just because Bush I didn’t finish off Saddam, and tried to assassinate Bush I out of revenge?…”

    And all this time I thought we invaded and occupied Iraq because of his continuing development of WMD. Wait…that was a crock too.
    Basically Iraq was crock.
    At least Jenos has finally admitted that.
    What’s it like to support a crock, Jenos? Have you been able to wash the blood off your hands?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  26. gVOR08 says:

    @11B40: It looks like we’re about to shoot at some more Muslims. One step closer to the war on Islam you seem to want becoming a self fulfilling prophecy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  27. Gustopher says:

    @anjin-san: Any attack will kill innocents, which is part of why I don’t want us to get involved.

    But, if it is inevitable, and if we aren’t going to strike hard enough to make a difference in the outcome of the Syrian civil war, the least we can do is actually make sure if affects Assad personally, in some small way. If we hit the infrastructure, we just hurt the poor and Assad fires up his generator and drinks bottled water.

    Find the things he cares for and destroy them. He may not have a favorite coffee shop, but there’s bound to be something.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  28. Pharoah Narim says:

    My money is on that this was staged to draw the US and their money into a conflict. There are lots of bored foreign snipers in-country from the Iraq days looking to sell their craft and make some money. Of couse, people that would never go near an area where someone they never met was trying to kill them wont be happy until they send someone else there to stoke their Army fantasies.

    When are we going to stop using the “against his own people phrase”. They’re NOT his people. Most of the countries in the Middle East are artifical creations of the British empire which is part of the problem. Let the area resolve along its natural ethnic lines like it was in the Ottoman Empire. The are was much less explosive then.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  29. michael reynolds says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    1)We say “hey, don’t use chemicals or we may hurt you.”
    2) They use chemicals.
    3) We hurt them.

    Where in that do you find a “bluff?” Do you understand the word? It’s only a bluff if you don’t follow through.

    One can certainly debate the wisdom of drawing that line, but your characterization of it is, as always, fatuous.

    As for Obama’s record: one war ended, one war winding down, one Libyan thug knocked with zero combat casualties, Osama bin Laden dead, al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan decimated, al Qaeda in Yemen under constant attack, no new 911.

    Shall we contrast that with George W. Bush?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 1

  30. C. Clavin says:

    @ M. Reynolds…
    Nice list of accomplishments for a guy the Tea Baggers call an Affirmative Action President.
    And it doesn’t even include rescuing the auto industry…passing near universal health care…saving the economy from a Republican death spiral…cleaning up the student loan industry…and on and on.
    Imagine if he were actually competent.
    http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/03Cv1OZbWpgPg/610x.jpg

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  31. dazedandconfused says:

    Kerry’s statement today sure backed James conclusion up. Kerry essentially claimed that while the UN team will not determine who did it, anyone who claims it was “faked” is an idiot.

    Disconcerting isn’t a strong enough word.

    If he wasn’t reflecting the Presidents opinion when making a statement as stridently bellicose and as dismissive of future investigation as this, the President needs to demand his resignation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  32. michael reynolds says:

    @dazedandconfused:
    Yeah, I just listened to it on the radio driving home. A very distinct signal there. We are clearly preparing action. What kind of action remains to be seen.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  33. C. Clavin says:

    Well…at least if we are preparing for action….it’s not action based on trumped up and cherry picked nonsense.
    I still don’t like it…but at least it’s not some neo-con wet-dream.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  34. 11B40 says:

    @gVOR08:

    Greetings, gVOR08:

    You seem to be having a bit of difficulty differentiating between Muslims and Islam. My understanding is that Islam, in that Dar-al-Islam versus Dar-al-Harb kind of way, has been at war with the rest of the world since about 632 A.D. Individual Muslims, maybe yes, maybe no, but their many “feelings” aren’t an adequate basis for allowing their violent, supremacist Koranny-thingy ideology to go unchallenged.

    Obviously, those concepts aren’t likely to be factored into our Islamophilic President’s foreign policy. Barack Obama seems to be very much down with those “brothers”, too.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  35. michael reynolds says:

    @11B40:

    My understanding is that Islam, in that Dar-al-Islam versus Dar-al-Harb kind of way, has been at war with the rest of the world since about 632 A.D.

    Yes, well, you’d be wrong, unless what you mean is that they hope to proselytize and convert non-Muslims. If that’s what you mean, please explain the differences in that regard between Islam and Christianity.

    Christians regularly assert that all non-Christians will be consigned for all eternity to the fires of Hell. And Christians have spent much of the last 2000 years torturing, exiling or murdering anyone, man, woman or child who disagrees with them on matters of doctrine. And this did not ameliorate until political power grew to trump religious power and secularism helped take the edge off fanaticism — a work still in progress.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  36. dazedandconfused says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Carney backed it up afterwards, so Kerry didn’t go rogue on him.

    I imagine they are aware that asserting they “know” Assad did it means that if they can’t provide solid evidence to support that, there will be hell to pay.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  37. Tyrell says:

    @michael reynolds: I might be long in the tooth, but I am not so old that I was around during the Inquisition (Europe) when the church was a force to be feared and most of them had torture chambers instead of coffee and donuts. If I had been I would have spoken out and done something. But progress on my time machine is going kind of slow, having trouble getting the atom accelerator calibrated. As soon as I get it on line, I will head to Spain of the 1500′s and that affair where the church went around burning people for nothing. I will get a stop to that immediately. A stun gun will fit in my pocket and work wonders for someone’s attitude. After that, I plan a little meeting with a man named Booth. We will see how that turns out.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  38. Neil Hudelson says:

    Jenos is the perfect standard bearer for the Republican party. He decided, long ago, that Obama’s “red line” was a meaningless bluff. When Obama proves this clearly wasn’t a bluff, but a promise, Jenos claims that the fact that he’s acting shows that he miscalculated his bluff so acting actually proves it was a bluff.

    In other words, Jenos’s logic cannot fail, it can only be failed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  39. edmondo says:


    the gas attack believed to have been carried out by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces

    He should have used drones. They would have given him a Nobel Peace Prize.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  40. michael reynolds says:

    @Tyrell:

    If you think Christian violence ended with the Inquisition or the Crusades, you need to read some history not packaged for you by Bill O’Reilly.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  41. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @michael reynolds:

    We ended up knocking off a tyrant, losing a handful of diplomatic personnel and occupying nothing.

    A thumbs up for the truth.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  42. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Neil Hudelson: Jenos is the perfect standard bearer for the Republican party. He decided, long ago, that Obama’s “red line” was a meaningless bluff. When Obama proves this clearly wasn’t a bluff, but a promise, Jenos claims that the fact that he’s acting shows that he miscalculated his bluff so acting actually proves it was a bluff.

    Let me clarify: When Obama made his “red line” statement, he expected that simply because he said something, it would be carried out and he wouldn’t have to actually do anything. Assad responded by flipping the bird, daring Obama to put up or shut up. Now Obama has to choose between admitting that his stupid “red line” statement was truly stupid and meaningless, or committing the US military to an action that has no real justification and offers no benefits to the US, but has the effect of showing that he’s not a complete and total tool.

    Kind of like his little UnWar in Libya, come to think of it…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 10

  43. 11B40 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Greetings, michael reynolds:

    I’m afraid that it’s going to take a lot more than this misinformation to extinguish my hopes for you.

    Why just a couple of evenings ago, I was down a one of my soviet’s finest emporia, working on my Women’s Studies project when I noticed that the waitress seem to be less than her usual perky self. When I inquired the reason, she told me of an assault of her optics by someone, whose nefarious purpose remains as yet unexplained, who showed her a picture of the Saudi flag whereon, she reported with significant duress, there was a scimatary-type of sword under all the Islamic gibberish.

    Well, narcissist that I am, I mostly prefer people dealing with my food to be in as calm an emotional state as possible, I related my understanding of how that came to be in hopes of restoring her. It seems that one sultry evening down by the oasis, Betsyah Rossiyah al-Muhammed abu Ali was doing some needlework for old King Saud who was going out for the evening raid. When he called for his sword, she thought he meant for the flag, and so it came to be. One of history’s interesting but certainly explainable Islamic coincidences.

    Michael, michael, my dark eyed beauty. It seems to me that, while you’re making progress on your taqqiyya abilities, you seem to be neglecting your Koranny-thingy study and that is not going to make your Imammy happy. It may well be time to go all the way back to the beginning and start all over again. Admittedly, your Muslim bros haven’t been setting as much of the world afire as they used to or would like to (and I truly enjoy the way they can go on whining about imperialism and colonialism like they never did any of it themselves ever) but this “Yeah, but Christians were bad, worse, worst argument.” is specious.

    You see, if you had kept up with your Koranny-thingy study (and I can’t really recommend that you dive into the haddithy-thingies at this point) you’d have seen that what the non-moderate, non-peaceful Muslims are doing these days is what their not-holy books call them to do. Their kingdom is of this world and they’re about turning others’ cheeks if not heads about 360 degrees. Hopefully, someday soon you will see that Islam is nothing more than the globalization of 7th Century Arab tribal culture under the guise of religion. Nobody needs anymore 7th Century. Face it, who but Muslims could drive Buddhists into murderous rages.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  44. Tyrell says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: We need to take another look at the British model of involvement in the middle east during centuries 18-20. There are some good lessons of how to be in there effectively. It helped that they had great leaders in there.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  45. michael reynolds says:

    @11B40:

    Rather than waste my time trying to compensate for your lack of education, or attempt to dissuade you from your distasteful bigotry, I’ll just limit myself to this: please, please, for the love of your God, stop attempting humor. Leaden and Germanic are the two words that come to mind.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  46. C. Clavin says:

    “…When Obama made his “red line” statement, he expected that simply because he said something, it would be carried out and he wouldn’t have to actually do anything…”

    If your opinion is based on meaningless conjecture….then you opinion is meaningless.
    But we all knew that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  47. bill says:

    well, obama never really laid any substantive amounts of chemical weapons usage that he’d tolerate – so he has a weak escape route to say it has yet to be breached. and he hasn’t learned that sheetheads don’t think like the rest of us either- weakness is just what it is. a nice drone to assads camp could cure some of that, but then what happen later- who wants to rule that washed up country anyway?
    and as i said before, muslims killing each other is usually good for America- terrible as it is that kids are involved but they’d probably grow up to hate us anyway. it is that bad over there.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  48. michael reynolds says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Can I ask you a serious question? Why? Why do you do this?

    Time after time you pop up and say something that could be refuted by a bright 12 year-old. It’s as if you simply lack any capacity to expose your random prejudices to critical scrutiny.

    Simple pride I would have thought would compel you to give it a little more thought, just to avoid, yet again, looking foolish. Are you into humiliation? You keep serving softballs, and they keep getting knocked right back down your throat. You never win. Ever. Sometimes I just want to let it go out of pity. It’s like watching some skinny little guy with one too many beers on board who decided to take on the 300 pound bouncer.

    Why? Why?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  49. Robert C says:

    I remind all the kool-aid drinkers on this site that the USG has yet to provide any evidence that Assad did this. There are members of the USG citing social media as e/o Assad’s complicity! Drink up one and all…fool me twice…shame on you.

    RC

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  50. superdestroyer says:

    I just wish someone would dig out the Powell Doctrine and determine whether the Obama Administration is following it.

    In short, the Obama Administration cannot explain what they hope to achieve by limited military involvement, what the end is, how success will be defined, or even what level of force is needed.
    As other have pointed out, this is just a reaction to media reports and is being done to look like they are doing something. In the long run, any adminstration that is doing something just to appear to be doing something is usually making a mistake.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  51. Rick Almeida says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I think it’s pretty clear that Jenos is paid by the comment. It is less clear, but probable, that he does so seated in a taxpayer-funded scooter whist waiting for his Social Security or disability benefits.

    Less likely, but possible, is that he’s actually a bot.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  52. Pharoah Narim says:

    Make no mistake. Its already known if chemical weapons have been used and approximately how much. These things are easily discoverable though remote technology. The inspector angle doesn’t really add or takeaway any new information. What’s important to know is WHO and WHY?

    Chemical weapons have no strategic value–they have shock value aimed at influencing politics. So the U.S comes out and says, “we’re out of this….unless Chemical weapons are used” Weeks later, Chemical weapons are used. The U.S. tap dances its way out of a response— but re-iterates its “red-line” of no chemical weapons. Predictably, Chemical weapons are used again….this time with video images. Ask yourself, who wants Western involvement? Who wants the conflict limited to its current participants? That will lead you to your perpetrator.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0