05 September 2013

The not-so-arbitrary Chemical Weapons Red Line

US Secretary of State John Kerry spoke passionately about the abhorrent act of Syrian forces deploying chemical weapons to kill hundreds of people last week.

“What we saw in Syria last week should shock the conscience of the world. It defies any code of morality,” said Kerry.

“Let me be clear: The indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, the killing of women and children and innocent bystanders, by chemical weapons is a moral obscenity.”

Analysts suggest that Kerry’s remarks represent the US taking yet another step closer to intervention in Syria’s civil war. Lawmakers like Senator John McCain are pushing hard for the Obama Administration to take a more active role. The president’s invocation of a red line on the issue of chemical weapons has been a source of debate and anger for those supporting US action in Syria.

“We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized,” said the president said a year ago last week. “That would change my calculus. That would change my equation.”

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