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August 23rd, 2013
08:18 AM ET

Syria and the Obama's 'Red Line'

International eyes remain on Syria, where anti-regime activists say hundreds were killed in an alleged massacre.

At least a thousand victims, many of them women and children, are reported dead in a possible chemical weapons attack near Damascus.

Disturbing images from that alleged attack continue to call more attention to the region, raising questions, once more, about President Barack Obama's "red line."

State Dept. Spokeswoman, Jen Psaki addressed the situation to the press, saying “the president has directed the Intel community to, here in the United States, to urgently gather additional information. That is our focus on this end.”

“The U.N. is asking the Syrian government to allow a chemical weapons inspection team to investigate,” reports CNN’s Jill Dougherty.

“U.S. officials say, so far they, cannot ‘conclusively determine’ whether chemical weapons were used. And they're not saying exactly what President Obama would do if they were.”

If these reports are found to be true, Psaki said “this would be an outrageous and flagrant escalation of the use of chemical weapons” by the regime and “the president has a range of options to consider” in that case.

Just last August, President Obama drew his red line, saying: "A red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus.”

But Senator John McCain argues that means nothing to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Sen. John McCain told CNN, “The president of the United States says, that if he uses these weapons that it would be a quote "red line and a game changer". He now sees that as a green light, and that is the word of the president of the United States can no longer be taken seriously.” 

McCain believes it's time to take military action, but the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey urges caution.

"The use of U.S. Military force can change the military balance, but it cannot resolve the underlying and historic ethnic, religious and tribal issues that are fueling this conflict."

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Filed under: Chemical Weapons • Security • Syria
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