Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Um, Until Assad Wins or Loses?

David Ignatius asks how many times Assad can cross the chemical weapons "red line" that President Obama drew after reports emerge of Assad's renewed use of chemical weapons. Obviously, the answer is until Assad wins the war or loses it.

You mean the Kerry-Lavrov deal to take away Assad's chemical weapons arsenal was farcical?

Are Presidents Obama and Putin really ready to tolerate a situation where the use of chemical weapons is seen as "normal," despite a Russian-American agreement that they should be banned?

While reports of Assad's latest chemical weapons use may not be solid (yet?), I can totally see our government suppressing this to avoid being put under pressure to do something about it.

Remember, we already believed Assad was ready to use poison gas:

U.S. intelligence agencies believe there is a strong possibility the Assad regime will use chemical weapons on a large scale as part of a last-ditch effort to protect key Syrian government strongholds if Islamist fighters and other rebels try to overrun them, U.S. officials said.

Given that Russia first telegraphed and then did indeed intervene in Syria to effectively establish a safe zone for Assad that others won't enter to fight Assad or establish a rebel safe zone, why wouldn't we also see Assad use chemical weapons when we already suspected Assad would use them to survive this civil war?

As for what President Obama and Putin are ready to tolerate given the WMD deal, President Obama simply wanted a reason to avoid getting militarily involved in Syria (how'd that work out?); and Putin was trying to save Assad.

So what makes Ignatius think either one is unwilling to tolerate Assad's use of chemical weapons?

UPDATE: And the war hit the 400,000 dead mark. R2P is non-operative.