The Syrian crisis has reached boiling point as UN inspectors have finally entered the Damascene suburb of Eastern Ghouta, the site of last week's alleged chemical attack. The rebels and the government announced a ceasefire over the weekend, and the Syrian government gave permission to the UN to inspect Ghouta on Sunday. But as UN inspectors tried to enter Ghouta earlier Monday, their vehicle came under intense sniper fire and the officials were forced back to their base.
Meanwhile, the British government has announced that it will deploy battleships to the region, which will join forces with the American fleets already there. British governmental sources told the Daily Telegraph that the British government is in talks with international partners including the United States. If military action is agreed upon, air strikes against the Syrian regime could begin within a week. British Foreign Secretary and First Secretary of State William Hague warned, "We cannot in the 21st century allow the idea that chemical weapons can be used with impunity, that people can be killed in this way and that there are no consequences for it."
From the perspective of the Obama administration's red lines, if Assad has used chemical weapons and the U.S. fails to respond, U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East would be a wreck. Put simply, the U.S. would look weak in the eyes of its regional adversaries. This would undermine America's standing with its regional allies. If Syria is allowed to use chemical weapons against its own people, why can't other countries do the same? Additionally, America's European allies are etching to take action in Syria.
British Prime Minister David Cameron has allegedly been in extensive talks with President Obama, French President Francois Hollande, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. They have agreed that serious action is needed, and that working with the UN would be a waste of time as Russia and China have vetoed UN sanctions against Syria. These sentiments have been echoed by Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), high-ranking Republican and member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Corker told NBC's Today show, "I do think action is going to occur." He urged the Obama's administration to launch surgical strikes: "... there's no question chemicals were used … I think it should be surgical, it should be proportional. It should be responsive to what happened on the ground," he said.
For the United States, not reacting is not an option. All that is needed for action is for the UN inspectors to confirm the use of chemical weapons and then war will commence.