Leaders around the world are talking, and they all aren't necessarily saying the same thing. Despite the number of conflicts that deserve international involvement, the Al-Assad regime in Syria has everyone’s attention. The issue at hand is chemical weapons. While everyone agrees that it is potentially a serious problem, the US previously lied about weapons in the Iraq war. Their credibility is damaged, and they're still embroiled in more than a decade of unsuccessful wars. Throw in the lack of international agreement on clear terms of engagement, and no one is currently doing much of anything about Syria other than talking.
This has left the Obama administration in a bit of a lurch, and pushing towards a conflict, with or without the support of the rest of the world. Here’s what seven of them have had to say.
"The Middle East is a powder keg, and the fire is approaching today." This has been said as a warning to countries planning to attack Syria, following speculation that Al-Assad would attack neighboring countries in an attempt to throw the entire region into war.
"Failing to respond to this outrageous attack would increase the risk that chemical weapons could be used again, that they would fall into the hands of terrorists who might use them against us, and it would send a horrible signal to other nations that there would be no consequences for their use of these weapons." This statement was issued as a warning that the world must react swiftly or risk further global proliferation of chemical weapons.
President of the Russian Federation
“According to current international law, the use of weapons against a sovereign state can only be granted by the Security Council of the United Nations. Any other motives or methods that would justify the use of force against an independent and sovereign state are unacceptable, and can only be seen as aggression.” Remarks made concerning Russia’s position on any US strike without UN approval.
Britain's Foreign Secretary
“I know that some people in the world would like to say that this is some kind of conspiracy brought about by the opposition in Syria. I think the chances of that are vanishingly small, and so we do believe that this is a chemical attack by the Assad regime.” This was said in response to allegations that the chemical attack was part of a false flag conspiracy to create a reason for military action against Syria.
US Secretary of State
"Sure, he could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week ... without delay and allow the full and total accounting for that, but he isn't about to do it and it can't be done, obviously." Remarks made concerning options the Syrian government had to stop US strikes.
Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesman
“More and more evidence emerges indicating that this criminal act had an openly provocative character. The talk here is about a previously planned action.” The position of the Russian Federation has been that the attacks were planned by an outside source to create a false reason for strikes.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
"At this point our intelligence is keeping up with that movement." This was said following confirmation that the Syrian government is actively moving prisoners and non-combatants to potential military targets.
So, there is a lot going on, and while some of it is he said she said, there is a serious conflict in the works. This follows two years of civil war, and revolutions throughout the Middle East. Stay tuned to see what happens next.
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