As little as two weeks ago, President Obama was touting progress on stripping Syria of its chemical weapons as proof that his foreign policy approach was sound. Today, we hear from his Secretary of State that in fact the claimed progress is not quite such a sure thing:
“I have seen evidence, I don’t know how verified it is…but I’ve seen the raw data that there may have been, as France has suggested, a number of instances in which chlorine has been used in the conduct of war,” Mr. Kerry said in London. “If it could be proven, then that would be against the agreements of the chemical-weapons treaty and against the weapons convention that Syria has signed up to.” […]“With respect to the [chemical arms] and what the consequences are, it has been made clear by President Obama and others that use would result in consequences.” Mr. Kerry said. “We’re not going to pin ourselves down to a precise time, date, manner of action, but there will be consequences if it were to be proven.”
Hate to say we told you so, but our own editor Adam Garfinkle has been beating this drum for a while now—since December of last year at least. In early April, he picked up on the rumors that Assad was continuing to use chemical weapons, well ahead of most mainstream news sources.As Garfinkle says, the United States has been serving as garbage man for Assad’s regime, getting rid of the chemical weapons that were no longer battlefield-ready. He never divulged the location of all of his chemical weapons stockpiles—certainly not the ones where the “good stuff” was being stored.The Obama Administration’s ultimatum isn’t looking quite so bold anymore. Perhaps they could rename it the “pink line”?