President Obama’s favorite ploy of “leading from behind’ in order to separate himself from his policies, is in big trouble, in the action he has proposed against Syria. British Prime Minister David Cameron was set to lead the attack, but had his wings clipped by Parliament, who wants to see the final UN report before voting for the action. Many other factors are lining up against him and action could be delayed indefinitely.
On Wednesday, Obama declared that there was not a shred of doubt that Assad was responsible for the gas attack of his own people.
“We have concluded that the Syrian government in fact carried these out,” Obama said in an interview with “NewsHour” on PBS. “And if that’s so, then there need to be international consequences.”
This was echoed by VP Biden and Secretary of State, John Kerry, and several sources within the administration. That is now in dispute, as the AP reports that many in the intelligence community, including some in the Obama administration now say that the fact that Assad ordered the attack is not a slam dunk.
In fact, intelligence sources told the AP that they don’t even know who controls the WMDs in Syria. Multiple sources told the AP that it is not certain that Assad ordered the attack.
The Office of the Director for National Intelligence has issued a report outlining the case against Assad, but those who have read the report, say it is riddled with caveats due to big gaps in intelligence. Congressional committees are to be briefed on the evidence against Assad. it is not known if the caveats will be included in that briefing.
Another problem that could be faced by the Obama administration is that they don’t know where Assad’s WMDs are hidden, meaning that a US missle could hit them and create a massive gas attack in Damascus. Public relations could come into play. The attack, even if it was ordered by Assad killed 355 people. Collateral damage by cruise missile attacks could kill more civilians than the gas did. With 68% of Americans against US action in Syria, that could cause his approval ratings to drop even more than they already have, making his presidency irrelevant.
Further complicating the problem for Nobel Peace Prize winner Obama is the new report that Russia, who is an ally of Syria, is sending war ships into the Mediterranean Sea. If they place themselves between our ships and Syria, it could create tensions between the two countries or on the outside, a skirmish.
In 2005, Barack Obama, John Kerry, and Joe Biden, all senators at the time, all argued against US action against Syria and accused the Bush administration of overstating the problem.