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Legacy of the Red Line
Surprise! Assad Still Has Sarin, Is Happy to Use It
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  • Unelected Leader

    Of course he does. Just another lie/failure of Obama et al. However, the US and Europeans shouldn’t be worried about it. Shouldn’t be backing Islamists, and shouldn’t be taking millions of economic migrants.

    • Proverbs1618

      I like the way you roll. I find myself nodding to your points.

  • Syria: Still not a vital interest of the United States.

  • FriendlyGoat

    I don’t guess I see much difference between a “red line” not enforced against Assad in a Dem administration and no intention to counter Assad anyway in a succeeding GOP administration.

    • Eurydice

      I can see the difference. There were a series of publicly announced “red lines”, meaning “don’t cross, or else” and implying stern action and setting up hopes. The American public was not on board, and each time there was no stern action. The conclusion from this was not only that there would be no action, but that other declarations of intent coming from the White House would be equally as empty. The current administration is stating a policy which seems to be what the American public wants, John McCain notwithstanding.

      • FriendlyGoat

        Obama attempted a bluff with the red line on the chemical weapons for the sake of the people who might be hit with chemical weapons. It didn’t work because, as you say, the American public was not in a mood to go to war with Assad for the sake of Syrians. But, as a practical matter, not going to war with Assad in the Trump era is the same as not going to war with Assad in the Obama era.

        • Eurydice

          Sure, but these decisions can’t be compartmentalized, there are events leading into them and consequences resulting from them. I wonder if the people in Syria consider these “practical matters” to be identical. Still, I suppose if they are identical, then Obama and Trump should share both kudos and blame.

          • FriendlyGoat

            The people in Syria probably will come to understand that Obama wanted the American people to be interested in them (even if it turned out that we’re not) and that Trump sees that as far less important. We have moved back, I think, to the mindset that bad dictators are okay for keeping the lid on Islamic places as long as nothing gets in the way of “America First”.

            Bush II and Obama both believed (or wanted to believe) that places such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Yemen, maybe even Somalia could be fixed by military clean-up, outside money and elections. After some expensive experiments, the only thing which seems to be “working” is a new strongman in Egypt and even that is fraught with human rights abuses. Trump’s big idea (not yet implemented) is “safe zones” in Syria so refugees don’t leave and go to other countries. We’ll have to see whether that even happens and, if so, how it works.

          • Jon Robbins

            How about we just stop half-assing around the world and sowing chaos wherever we go?

          • FriendlyGoat

            How about we speak in terms of who we plan to kill, for what purpose and with what consequences?

          • Jon Robbins

            OK, but how about we sequence that as adopting a strategy and linking it to some half-way consistent moral framework. Then we can talk about justifications for our use of violence.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Fine with me. Right now—–and throughout the Trump campaign—–all I see is a shroud of mystery of what we might do (because we can’t be tipping off our potential enemies). The thing is, no one in America gets to see “the plan” either. It is convenient if we don’t actually have a plan and I suspect we do not. The one thing we know is that we’re not going to war with Russia, China, Iran, DPRK and miscellaneous terrorists all at once—-even if we bluff to the contrary.

            Just today, the president says he has changed his view of Assad. No one knows what that means other than that Trump evidently now agrees with Obama and Hillary Clinton that Assad is not okay for keeping long term.

    • Dale Fayda

      There is a big difference. When Obama was drawing “red lines” and Kerry was asking for “incredibly small military strikes”, the future of the Assad regime was still very much up in the air. In fact, the opposition came close to strangling it back in 2015, before the Russians jumped in and definitively changed the situation on the ground in the span of a couple of months.

      It’s not that Obama just didn’t enforce his ridiculous “red line”; it’s that he tried to influence the events in Syria, but FAILED. He FAILED gloriously, spectacularly, comprehensively. His support for the Syrian opposition – a failure; all of them are now looking to Russia and/or Iran for support. His attempt to build up a US-backed fighting force – a farcical debacle: His deal with Assad and Putin to eliminate the former’s chemical weapons arsenal in exchange for the US forgoing any direct military operations against him – a monumental failure, as described in this very article. Obama’s Arab coalition – another failure: The Syrian refugee crisis – another Obama failure:

      To sum up – Captain Transparency has screwed up the US policy on Syria so irreparably that Trump really has no good options there and likely doesn’t want to play that game anyway.

      Face it – Assad and Putin won in Syria and Obama lost. He was out-played, out-thought, out-fought and out-waited.

      • FriendlyGoat

        Perhaps Congress will be more willing to declare a war for the purpose of replacing Assad now that the CIC is a Republican? And perhaps someone will tell both Congress and the President what that replacement will look like ahead of time?

        • Dale Fayda

          Perhaps. Perhaps not.

          Doesn’t change the facts about Obama’s spectacular failure in the ME.

  • Greg

    I am not surprised, Ukraine has learned the hard way that International Agreements are only paper and truly mean nothing. The UK, France, USA and others who signed the Budapest Memorandum have proven no nation can expect help or that those who sign will honour their signature.

  • ginzy1

    I am sure Ben Rhodes will find a way to blame Israeli “settlements” or the Israeli annexation of the Golan Heights for the sarin attack.


    Efrat / J’lem

    • D4x

      Rhodes is too busy at his new gig, on the Board of the United States Holocaust Museum.

      Hello ginzy1 – been a long time since we met in a thread, back when tnr was a safe space for Israel. I changed my screen name.

  • Jon Robbins

    So why would Assad use chemical weapons when he is doing very well, with Russian help? Why would he use sarin in Idlib but not in Aleppo? Why didn’t he use sarin in 2014-15 when he was at a low ebb before the Russian intervention in late 2015?

    This is just like the August 2013 sarin false-flag when Assad was alleged to have employed sarin in the suburbs of Damascus even as international chemical inspectors were transiting the city to investigate chemical weapons claims elsewhere in Syria.

    It’s interesting that every time one of these laughable allegations comes up, our media don’t bother to give even the most cursory assessment of motive. Why would Syria use chemical weapons? It makes no sense at all.

  • Simpatica

    He got it from Sadam

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