In an announcement from the White House today, President Obama said he has spoken with all concerned parties, “the U.N., Congressional leaders and our allies”, and that while he said he “would prefer that the international community would have already responded” he is prepared to go it alone in a “unilateral response”.
President Obama said that the operation would be “limited and narrow” and would not involve any “boots on the ground”. He went on to say that this is not an “open ended approach” and that the operation is “still in the planning process”.
The President made it very clear that there is no question that the chemical weapons attacks were made by the Assad government, but there is no evidence that Assad himself gave the order.
President Obama will have a short window for his military response, he said he will wait until the U.N. inspectors leave Syria this Saturday, August 31 and he is set to leave for St. Petersburg, Russia the middle of next week to attend the G-20 meeting. He will have 4 days to launch his “limited and narrow” operation.
Secretary of State John Kerry said today that President Obama “asked all of us on his national security team to consult with the leaders of Congress, as well, including the leadership of the congressional national security committees.”
“Kerry goes on to say that “Syria has the largest stock pile of chemical weapons in the middle east” and we know that he has used them.”
“We know that the regime was specifically determined to rid the Damascus suburbs of the opposition, and it was frustrated that it hadn’t succeeded in doing so.”
“We know that for three days before the attack, the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons personnel were on the ground in the area, making preparations.”
“And we know that the Syrian regime elements were told to prepare for the attack by putting on gas masks and taking precautions associated with chemical weapons.”
“We know that these were specific instructions”.
“We know where the rockets were launched from, and at what time. We know where they landed, and when. We know rockets came only from regime-controlled areas and went only to opposition-controlled or contested neighborhoods”
The United Nations inspectors will prepare their report and submit it to Ban Ki-Moon the Secretary General of the United Nations this Saturday.
UN Spokesperson Martin Nesirky told reporters today that Mr. Ban returned to New York last night “with precisely with the aim of reaching out to Member States and he started that…just a short while ago with the permanent members of the Security Council,” China, France, Russia the United Kingdom and the United States.
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