The west is helpless in the wake of Syria chemical attacks

Rick Moran
We won't put boots on the ground, we won't go too far in trying to get rid of Assad, we won't give the rebels the weapons they need to win.

About all the west has done - and all we're likely to do - in response to the gas attack on civilians outside of Damascus by what was probably government troops is bitch and whine and make empty threats.

BBC:

The UK, France and Turkey are leading calls for a tough international response to an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria on Wednesday in which activists said hundreds were killed.

The UK is calling for UN weapons inspectors already in Syria to be granted access as a matter of urgency.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said that if proven, the attacks would merit a "reaction of force".

However, there is no sign that the UN team will be allowed to investigate.

The team only has a mandate to visit three sites agreed between the UN and the Syrian government.

"The UK along with 36 other countries has written to the secretary general formally referring this incident to the UN and calling for the UN team to be granted the necessary access to enable their investigation into these latest allegations as a matter of urgency," the British Foreign Office said in a statement.

"We believe a political solution is the best way to end the bloodshed," said the statement, but added that Prime Minister David Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague "have said many times we cannot rule out any option ... that might save innocent lives in Syria".

Mr Fabius told the French BFM TV channel that if the attack was confirmed, "it's right at the moment when the inspectors are in place," adding that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would be mocking the international community.

Mr Fabius did not elaborate on what "force" would mean but did rule out the use of troops to intervene in Syria.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu also stressed the need for action.

"All red lines have been crossed but still the UN Security Council has not even been able to take a decision," Mr Davutoglu said.

The UN Security Council met on Wednesday for an emergency session after news of the attacks emerged. UN officials said it was a "serious escalation" and that clarity was needed over the attacks.

UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said any investigation would require the consent of the Syrian government and was dependent on the security situation. 

Some 35 member states called for the UN team already in Syria to be dispatched immediately to the scene.

However, correspondents say the investigators are unlikely to be allowed access.

No one wants ground troops to help overthrow Assad. No one wants to get Russia mad. No one wants to give al-Qaeda backed rebels heavy weapons.

As long as we realize the consequences of not doing anything - fine. A probable Assad victory that will embolden Iran. And most importantly, the unwritten law against using chemical weapons will have been breached and it will be easier next time for a dictator to use them. And he will be able to use them without fear that the west will do anything about it.

With deterrence gone, Assad laughing at Obama's "red line," and Russia and Iran continuing to help Assad win the war, the west is about to absorb an unmitigated defeat. Whatever radical Islam is losing in Egypt, it is gaining in Syria. Not a pleasant state of affairs.


We won't put boots on the ground, we won't go too far in trying to get rid of Assad, we won't give the rebels the weapons they need to win.

About all the west has done - and all we're likely to do - in response to the gas attack on civilians outside of Damascus by what was probably government troops is bitch and whine and make empty threats.

BBC:

The UK, France and Turkey are leading calls for a tough international response to an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria on Wednesday in which activists said hundreds were killed.

The UK is calling for UN weapons inspectors already in Syria to be granted access as a matter of urgency.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said that if proven, the attacks would merit a "reaction of force".

However, there is no sign that the UN team will be allowed to investigate.

The team only has a mandate to visit three sites agreed between the UN and the Syrian government.

"The UK along with 36 other countries has written to the secretary general formally referring this incident to the UN and calling for the UN team to be granted the necessary access to enable their investigation into these latest allegations as a matter of urgency," the British Foreign Office said in a statement.

"We believe a political solution is the best way to end the bloodshed," said the statement, but added that Prime Minister David Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague "have said many times we cannot rule out any option ... that might save innocent lives in Syria".

Mr Fabius told the French BFM TV channel that if the attack was confirmed, "it's right at the moment when the inspectors are in place," adding that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would be mocking the international community.

Mr Fabius did not elaborate on what "force" would mean but did rule out the use of troops to intervene in Syria.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu also stressed the need for action.

"All red lines have been crossed but still the UN Security Council has not even been able to take a decision," Mr Davutoglu said.

The UN Security Council met on Wednesday for an emergency session after news of the attacks emerged. UN officials said it was a "serious escalation" and that clarity was needed over the attacks.

UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said any investigation would require the consent of the Syrian government and was dependent on the security situation. 

Some 35 member states called for the UN team already in Syria to be dispatched immediately to the scene.

However, correspondents say the investigators are unlikely to be allowed access.

No one wants ground troops to help overthrow Assad. No one wants to get Russia mad. No one wants to give al-Qaeda backed rebels heavy weapons.

As long as we realize the consequences of not doing anything - fine. A probable Assad victory that will embolden Iran. And most importantly, the unwritten law against using chemical weapons will have been breached and it will be easier next time for a dictator to use them. And he will be able to use them without fear that the west will do anything about it.

With deterrence gone, Assad laughing at Obama's "red line," and Russia and Iran continuing to help Assad win the war, the west is about to absorb an unmitigated defeat. Whatever radical Islam is losing in Egypt, it is gaining in Syria. Not a pleasant state of affairs.