The Obama administration has determined that the Assad regime in Syria is using chemical weapons against the rebels and so has decided to send arms to the rebels. As CBS News puts it.
The Obama administration has concluded that Syrian President Bashar Assad‘s government used chemical weapons against the rebels seeking to overthrow him and, in a major policy shift, President Obama has decided to supply military support to the rebels, the White House announced Thursday.
“The president has made a decision about providing more support to the opposition that will involve providing direct support to the [Supreme Military Council]. That includes military support,” Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communication Ben Rhodes told reporters.
President Obama has repeatedly said that the use of chemical weapons is a “red line” that, if crossed, would be a “game changer” for more U.S. involvement in the Syrian civil war.
“The President has been clear that the use of chemical weapons – or the transfer of chemical weapons to terrorist groups – is a red line for the United States,” said Rhodes in a separate written statement.
“The President has said that the use of chemical weapons would change his calculus, and it has,” he continued.
In terms of further response, Rhodes said, “we will make decisions on our own timeline” and that Congress and the international community would be consulted. Mr. Obama is heading to Northern Ireland Sunday for a meeting of the G8 group of nations; Rhodes indicated the president will consult with leaders of those countries.
“Any future action we take will be consistent with our national interest, and must advance our objectives, which include achieving a negotiated political settlement to establish an authority that can provide basic stability and administer state institutions; protecting the rights of all Syrians; securing unconventional and advanced conventional weapons; and countering terrorist activity,” Rhodes said.
To date, the U.S. policy on Syria has primarily focused on offering the rebels nonlethal assistance and humanitarian aid.
I think that this is a very bad idea. There are no good guys in this conflict. On one side there is a vicious secular Arab nationalist/socialist government that has an awful human rights record. On the other side there are rebels who are Islamist and almost certainly have ties to al-Qaeda and will probably impose Sharia law on Syria. Neither side is likely to be grateful for any aid we provide and both sides hate us and the West. As far as I can tell our only options are staying out of this conflict or, if we’re feeling especially cynical and Machiavellian, to keep the fighting going as long as possible.
And then there’s this from the Los Angeles Times.
Two years into a civil war that shows no signs of ending, the Obama administration is considering resettling refugees who have fled Syria, part of an international effort that could bring thousands of Syrians to American cities and towns.
A resettlement plan under discussion in Washington and other capitals is aimed at relieving pressure on Middle Eastern countries straining to support 1.6 million refugees, as well as assisting hard-hit Syrian families.
The State Department is “ready to consider the idea,” an official from the department said, if the administration receives a formal request from the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees, which is the usual procedure.
I don’t think this is a good idea either. Hasn’t the bombing of the Boston Marathon taught us anything about the wisdom of allowing refugees from war-torn Muslim countries? We really do not need to import more radicalized fanatics who hate us into this country. In fact, I would suggest, as a matter of policy, that no Western country accept Muslim immigrants under any condition and the Europeans should consider ways of evicting the immigrants who are slowly taking over their countries.