White House: Syria Crossed ‘Red Line’ on Chemical Arms

Vows to Increase 'Scope and Scale' of Rebel Aid

After a couple of days debating the relative merits of escalating aid to the rebels, including the possibility of arming them, the White House has informed Congress that it has decided the Syrian government used chemical weapons during the ongoing civil war, killing 100-150 people.

With that the White House went on to declare the “red line” in had set for Syria to have been officially crossed, and pledged to “increase the scope and scale of assistance that we provide to the opposition, including direct support to the rebels.”

White House officials were careful not to mention that they had spent the past several days holding meetings on the rebel aid, and presented the decision as a function of spy agencies’ sudden determination of chemical weapons use, which doesn’t appear to have been based on any actual new evidence, but on the same old evidence the White House had repeatedly rejected in the past, when it wasn’t ready to start arming the rebels yet.

With the about-face on that dubious “evidence,” the deals of which have been carefully kept from the public, the Obama Administration can now spin the direct aid to rebels as something they were forced to do, as opposed to an ill-timed decision to arm a severely divided rebellion simply because they want to keep the war going at a time when the Assad government is seen to have momentum.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.