Officials familiar with the situation say that Britain and the United States have “finalized” their plans for an attack on Syria, and will begin lobbing missiles at the country within a matter of days.
If US officials had their druthers, it appears the strikes would start on Thursday, but the complication of British parliament returning to session could hold up the war for an additional day or two. The US Congress is in recess, and unlikely to even be asked to authorize the war until it has already begun.
In a further snub to the United Nations, which has not authorized the war, US officials have reportedly informed them that the attacks will be carried out regardless of what UN investigators find during their inspection of the site of the putative chemical weapons attack, insisting they’ve decided the “red line” has already been crossed. US officials made no secret of their displeasure that the inspection is happening at all, and previously demanded the UN withdraw its inspectors.
The initial strikes are expected to be cruise missile attacks from US warships, which have been moved off the coast of Syria in recent days in anticipation of the war. Syria’s considerable air defenses may keep warplanes from getting involved in the attack initially.