Syrian Chemical Weapons: Ignoring Them Would Set Dangerous Precedent

On Tuesday, new claims surfaced that the al-Assad Regime has deployed chemical weapons in its ongoing civil war. These reports seem to supplement French and British accusations, made less than a week ago against Assad's government. The reports delivered by France and Britain to the United Nations indicated the use of chemical warfare as early as December. The evidence used to make this claim points toward nerve agents present in soil samples from the cities of Aleppo, Homs and Damascus. The question remains, with increasing pressure on the United States to act, how will we respond?

What's the evidence? When and where were these weapons used? What kind of gas was it, and what does it do to its victims? Is it time for the U.S. to step up its involvement?

The reaction of the United States is important in indicating the purported "red line" drawn for the Assad regime. President Obama has made several statements indicating that the use of chemical warfare would be unacceptable. Israel has chimed into the conversation with its own evidence and reports. Two senior Israeli officials reported several incidents of the use of chemical warfare, indicating as many as five separate occasions. Their evidence lies in photographs in which victims are purportedly shown to be foaming at the mouth. Israeli officials have stated that the chemical used is a sarin-type gas and odorless agent that is able to quickly kill thousands by causing convulsions, paralysis, and respiratory failure.

Israel and other U.S. allies have called on the United States to step up its involvement following these reports. If the United States decides to ignore international pleas it will experience immense regret down the line. The danger of the allowing the use of these weapons is profound not only for the country, people, and region but for the international community as a whole. This not only sets a horrible precedent in terms of civil conflict and warfare, but it also presents a great danger. With Syria's geographical and political position, it is closely allied to very dangerous groups such as Hezbollah. If these weapons were to get into the hands of Hezbollah's militants, it would pose a threat to the state of Israel and therefore, the United States.

Israeli officials have already expressed concern over the possibility of these weapons entering the wrong hands. Regrettably, they recognize the difficulty behind destroying these weapons through strategic coordinated airstrikes. These decisions are tough to make. However, it is clear that the Obama administration must move forward and draw their own conclusions about Assad's use of chemical warfare. Press Secretary Jay Carney has already stated that there will be a thorough investigation into the matter to come to a better understanding of whether these weapons were in fact used.

Decisions need to be made swiftly. 70,000 have died so far due to this conflict and counting.

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Shimon Moshehai

Shimon is a recent college graduate with a bachelors degree in Political Science from UCLA. His research interests are Middle East Politics, Religion, and International Relations.

MORE FROM

New York politicians used NYC Pride to stand with LGBTQ people in their fight against oppression

Politicians used 2017 New York City Pride to assure LGBTQ people that they would stand for their rights.

Car slams into Eid celebrants in UK, injuring 6; police say terrorism isn't suspected

Police say they believe an Eid celebrant was behind the wheel of the car that injured six outside a mosque.

Oil truck explodes in Pakistan, killing at least 153

The deadly fire broke out as residents rushed to collect the leaking oil from the overturned tanker.

Will Justice Anthony Kennedy retire at end of Supreme Court term? Here's what we know.

Rumors that the 80-year-old swing justice may leave the bench are fueling fear of a second Trump pick on the nation's high court.

3 states and D.C. allow same flammable building materials behind Grenfell Tower fire

The causes of London's Grenfell Tower are similar to the justifications used to waive fire regulations in the U.S.

New Jersey bill would require kids to be taught how to interact with police

Students from kindergarten through 12th grade would receive the education.

New York politicians used NYC Pride to stand with LGBTQ people in their fight against oppression

Politicians used 2017 New York City Pride to assure LGBTQ people that they would stand for their rights.

Car slams into Eid celebrants in UK, injuring 6; police say terrorism isn't suspected

Police say they believe an Eid celebrant was behind the wheel of the car that injured six outside a mosque.

Oil truck explodes in Pakistan, killing at least 153

The deadly fire broke out as residents rushed to collect the leaking oil from the overturned tanker.

Will Justice Anthony Kennedy retire at end of Supreme Court term? Here's what we know.

Rumors that the 80-year-old swing justice may leave the bench are fueling fear of a second Trump pick on the nation's high court.

3 states and D.C. allow same flammable building materials behind Grenfell Tower fire

The causes of London's Grenfell Tower are similar to the justifications used to waive fire regulations in the U.S.

New Jersey bill would require kids to be taught how to interact with police

Students from kindergarten through 12th grade would receive the education.