Washington : US President Barack Obama is considering a limited military strike against Syria, as Washington accused Damascus of using chemical weapons against its own people, according to a media report . Even as the White House insisted that President Obama has made no such decision and is yet to take a final call on it, the US Navy warships reportedly positioned itself for a strike using long range Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles.
“Such an attack could cause varying degrees of limited damage to the Assad regime’s ability to use more chemical weapons or continue effective operations against the opposition,” the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War said, adding that it, however, cannot eliminate the regime’s military or chemical weapons capabilities. According to The Washington Post, such a strike being considered by Obama is designed to serve as punishment for Syria’s alleged use of chemical weapons and as a deterrent, while keeping the United States out of deeper involvement in that country’s civil war.
“The timing of such an attack, which would probably last no more than two days and involve sea-launched cruise missiles — or, possibly, long-range bombers — striking military targets not directly related to Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal, would be dependent on three factors: completion of an intelligence report assessing Syrian government culpability in last week’s alleged chemical attack; ongoing consultation with allies and Congress; and determination of a justification under international law,” The Post said. Without going into details, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said that among the options include military option, but ruled out boots on the ground.
“The President has made clear for a long time now with regards to this issue – this red line – that he would not rule out any option, including military force. He has also made clear that he does not envision boots on the ground. And that remains the case,” Carney said.
“So from the beginning, when it came to the potential use of chemical weapons in Syria, as well as the use on a limited scale, a smaller scale, and now the use on a broader scale — we have never taken a military response off the table, and we certainly aren’t doing that now,” he said.
As the administration moved rapidly toward a decision, Secretary of State John Kerry said the use of chemical weapons in an attack on Wednesday against opposition strongholds on the outskirts of Damascus is now “undeniable”, the Post reported.
Evidence being gathered by United Nations experts in Syria was important, Kerry said, but not necessary to prove what is already “grounded in facts, informed by conscience and guided by common sense.”
Urging the Obama administration to eventually seek congressional authorisation for any use of military force in Syria, Senator Bob Corker, ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, said he would support a decision by the president to engage in surgical strikes against the Syrian government given the evidence of the Assad regime’s continued use of chemical weapons. House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard P “Buck” McKeon said Obama established a red line policy.