Many in the media are beginning to report that the worst scenario of the Syrian civil war may actually materialize: that the Assad regime is readying its chemical weapon stockpiles for use against the Syrian people.
While this is an alarming new chapter, it’s questionable whether Assad would use these weapons. At the same time, the regime has stated that the U.S. and other hostile governments have fabricated this information to use as a pretext for an invasion to remove Assad. While this conspiracy theory isn’t all that crazy, the U.S. is more than likely setting the stage for a much more sophisticated and highly preferable manner of throwing Assad to the dogs.
As the war in Syria claims more than 40,000 lives to date, the U.S., Syria’s neighbors, and much of the international community have decided to draw a red line – in invisible marker. While the U.S. and Russia have been opposed to how each other wants to handle the Syrian crisis, it appears that they are closer than ever in their opinions on the matter.
Russian and U.S. officials are deeply alarmed by the prospect of chemical weapon use by the regime, and are now working closer than ever to make sure that doesn’t happen. This could signify a big pivot on Russia’s part from its anti-interventionist stance.
Further, some countries in the region have offered to grant the Assad family asylum should they decide to leave the country. This comes at the same time that Secretary of State Hilary Clinton is expected to formally recognize the “National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces” as the new leadership of the Syrian people next week, that anti-regime forces continue to gain ground towards Damascus, and the regime continues to isolate itself by refusing to acquiesce to the inevitable.
Whether rumors of the Syrian regime readying its chemical weapons stockpiles for use are true, or the U.S. is stating it for political reasons, it serves to deal the final blow by the international community to end Assad’s reign of terror regardless. The end is in sight, and the U.S. has found a way to get rid of the regime by force if necessary with considerable support if rumors of chemical weapon attacks continue to spread, legitimately or not.
Direct action is an increasingly popular choice given the atmosphere, but it needs to be done surgically and with solid support in order to maintain credibility. It seems that the U.S. is creatively building this support base by using Assad’s rhetoric against him while simultaneously waging a sophisticated psychological war. But it needs to be done right.
The U.S. actually has a case for action this time as opposed to the Iraq invasion of 2003. There can be no sticking around to make sure Islamists don’t gain power, no restoring essential services, and no “de-Baathification” that put scores of trained military males on the street. Instead, just a good old-fashioned night raid on regime leadership courtesy of JSOC combined with the securitization of chemical weapons depots by regional allies.
Quick in, quick out, one less war criminal, and the Middle East can go back to its regularly scheduled tumult.