What exactly is Obama's 'red line' in Syria?

Smoke rises from residential buildings due heavy fighting between Free Syrian Army fighters and government forces in Aleppo, Syria. Smoke rises from residential buildings due heavy fighting between Free Syrian Army fighters and government forces in Aleppo, Syria. Narciso Contreras/AP

President Obama said that the use of chemical weapons would bring "consequences" to Syria, but with nerve gas bombs already being filled, would the United States act before Bashar al-Assad unleashes them? Can they act?

Last night's NBC News report has greatly heightened fears that the Syrian regime plans to use its most horrific weapons—and soon. The use of chemical weapons was long ago singled out as a sort of final straw, one that would force the international community to step in and end the conflict its way, and by any means necessary. However, it's just not clear what the United States is willing to do, either before or after the bombs fall. In fact, it may already be too late for military action.

One option would be to wipe out the Syrian air force, which has decimated the nation's cities for months, but would be no match for NATO or American planes. Unfortunately, if the NBC report is true, and the nerve gas weapons have already been armed bombing them on the ground would accomplish little. It would simply unleash the gas into the air. Even if they haven't been loaded, it would be nearly impossible to bomb all of Syria's weapons sites, since there are believed to be more than 70 locations, not all of them identified, and some of the weapons were already moved.

Read more at The Atlantic Wire

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    View
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    View
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    View
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    View
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    View
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    View
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    View

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.