Graham and McCain call for US intervention in Syria
Syrian government and the opposition accuse each other of using chemical weapons. The US considers this a “red line” – and two US senators are now urging Washington to declare war in response to alleged use of the weapons.
As the Assad government and the opposition throw out accusations over the use of chemical weapons and the US is assessing the situation, two US senators are urging the president to go to war. Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) released a statement on Wednesday, urging President Obama to ‘take immediate action’ and consider deploying troops.
"President Obama has said that the use of weapons of mass destruction by Bashar Assad is a 'red line' for him that 'will have consequences,'" the statement reads. "If today's reports are substantiated, the President's red line has been crossed, and we would urge him to take immediate action to impose the consequences he has promised."
At a minimum, the senators want the US to provide arms to rebels, establish safe zones to protect civilians, and launch targeted strikes against the Assad regime’s aircraft and SCUD missile batteries. And Graham said that he would even urge the president to declare war, if that is what it would take to stop chemical weapons from being used.
"I don't care what it takes," Graham told Foreign Policy’s The Cable. "If the choice is to send in troops to secure the weapons sites versus allowing chemical weapons to get in the hands of some of the most violent people in the world, I vote to cut this off before it becomes a problem."
A political analyst says foreigners who are funding the Western-backed Syrian opposition are responsible for the barbaric crimes committed by militant groups in the country through the use of chemical weapons.
Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi has described the use of chemical weapons by the militants as the "first act" by the so-called opposition interim government. The Syrian minister also said Turkey and Qatar bore "legal, moral and political responsibility" for the chemical attack in the northern city of Aleppo on Tuesday. Twenty-five people were killed and over 80 others were injured when militants fired rockets containing "poisonous gases" into Aleppo's Khan al-Assal village.
Press TV has conducted an interview with Mohsen Saleh, a professor at Beirut University, to further discuss the issue of weapons of mass destruction used in Syria.
The UN Secretary-General has voiced grave concern about the reported use of chemical warfare in Syria.
Ban Ki-moon points out in his statement that the use of such warfare by any party to the conflict under any circumstances is a glaring crime.
It transpired on Tuesday that a shell with a war chemical exploded in the area of the Syrian city Aleppo.
At least 25 people died, while dozens of others were injured as a result. The Damascus government and the opposition have accused each other of using chemical warfare. Russia took the incident as an extremely alarming and dangerous event.
There is a "high probability" that Syria deployed chemical weapons in the ongoing civil war, but final verification is needed, the chairman of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee told CNN on Tuesday.
"I have a high probability to believe that chemical weapons were used," Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Michigan) told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "We need that final verification, but given everything we know over the last year and a half, I would come to the conclusion that they are either positioned for use, and ready to do that, or in fact have been used."
Rogers and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, struck ominous tones in an interview on CNN's "The Situation Room" about the possibility that Syria had crossed what President Barack Obama has said was a "red line" that could lead to the United States getting involved militarily in the conflict.
Rogers' statement comes as the specter of chemical weapons attacks in the Syrian civil war emerged Tuesday, with the government and rebels each blaming the other for using such munitions.
In remarks earlier Tuesday, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough told Jake Tapper on CNN's "The Lead" that the president takes the issue of chemical weapons in Syria "very, very seriously."
Voice of Russia, RT, telegraph.co.uk