As a bloody civil war has been raging in Syria, the United States has largely stayed on the sidelines, but with growing evidence of a chemical weapons attack there last week, the world is waiting to see if the U.S. will get involved. Maggie Rulli explains.
Maggie Rulli: President Obama is making his case for a possible strike against Syria.
President Obama: “We have concluded that the Syrian government in fact carried these out, and if that’s so, then there need to be international consequences.”
Last week, Syrian rebels said hundreds were dead after the Syrian government launched a chemical attack. The Syrian government denied it and said it was the rebels.
It’s the latest escalation in Syria’s two-year civil war that has claimed the lives of more than 100 thousand people and left millions homeless.
Yesterday the Obama administration briefed some members of congress on secret reports linking the Syrian government to the chemical weapons attack. They’re also preparing to make a report public to try to make the case to the American people
Meanwhile, officials over in the United Kingdom, the U.S.’ top ally, were trying to do the same.
David Cameron: “In the end no 100 percent certainty who is responsible, you have to make a judgment.”
Maggie Rulli: But the British parliament voted the bid down. President Obama says he has not yet decided to attack Syria, but he did explain why military force against the Syrian regime of Bashar al Assad might be unavoidable.
President Obama: “I have not made a decision, but I think it’s important that if, in fact, we make a choice to have repercussions for the use of chemical weapons then the Assad regime will have received a pretty strong signal, that in fact, it better not do it again.”
Maggie Rulli: Most countries have outlawed the use of chemical weapons in warfare. Some senior officials say the evidence is not a “slam dunk”, and that it’s not enough proof that the Assad regime was behind the attack.
U.S. intervention in Syria is also dividing the international community. There would be many players involved if there’s an attack. For example, the U.K., France and Turkey all said they would support a U.S. strike
But countries like Russia, China and Iran say the U.S. should not get involved, and warn there will be consequences if the U.S. does launch a strike.
Syria has said it will defend itself against an attack with any means necessary. President Obama insists that he wants no part in Syria’s civil war
President Obama: “I have no interest in any kind of open-ended conflict in Syria, but we do have to make sure that when countries break international norms on weapons like chemical weapons that could threaten us, that they are held accountable.”
Maggie Rulli: For the next few days, many will be watching the situation closely. Some key players have urged the U.S. to wait but the Obama administration has said it might go ahead with the attacks against Syria, even without the support of the international community. Shelby, back to you.