Syria crossed `red line`, take action: US lawmakers to Obama
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Last Updated: Friday, April 26, 2013, 00:03
  
Washington: Top US lawmakers on Thursday appealed to the Obama Administration to take strong action against the embattled Assad regime, saying it has crossed a "red line" as it was confirmed that chemical weapon has been used in Syria.

"The President of the United States said that if Bashar Assad (Syrian President) used chemical weapons, it would be a game changer, that it would cross a red line. I think it's pretty obvious that a red line has been crossed," Senator John McCain told reporters at the Capitol Hill.

"Now I hope the administration will consider what we have been recommending now for over two years of this bloodletting and massacre, and that is to provide a safe area for the opposition to operate, to establish a no-fly zone and provide weapons to the people in the resistance who we trust," McCain said soon after he received a letter from the White House in this regard.

In his letter, Miguel E Rodriguez, Assistant to the US President and Director, Office of Legislative Affairs, told McCain that the American intelligence community has assessed with varying degrees of confidence that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons on a small scale in Syria, specifically the chemical agent sarin.

"Everything that the non-interventionists said that would happen in Syria if we intervened has happened. The jihadists are on the ascendancy, there is chemical weapons being used, the massacres continue, the Russians continue to be assisting Bashar Assad, and the Iranians are all in. It requires the United States' help and assistance. It does not mean boots on the ground," McCain said.

"We have to have operational capability to secure these chemical weapon stocks. We do not want them to fall into the wrong hands. And the wrong hands are a number of participants in the struggle that's taking place in Syria," the Arizona Senator said.

Congressman Howard "Buck" McKeon, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said the use of chemical weapons on the Syrian people is an astounding violation of human rights.

"I trust and agree with President Obama that the use of chemical munitions or the transfer of those weapons to terrorists would be a red line for his Administration, and with it the civilized world.

As the Commander-in-Chief, there is a national security imperative here. As the leader of the free world, there is a deep moral imperative as well. Instead, it appears that the President is outsourcing our national security analysis to the United Nations," he said.

Senator Bob Corker, termed it as deeply troubling.

"This assessment is deeply troubling, and if correct, means that President Obama's redline has certainly been crossed. While more work needs to be done to fully verify this assessment-like making sure we understand the chain of custody of the evidence-it is becoming increasingly clear that we must step up our efforts," Croker said.

"I should make clear, however, that it if it comes to the use of military force, before the president takes any action to commit US forces to any effort in Syria or elsewhere, I expect him to fully consult with the Senate and seek an authorisation for the use of military force," he said.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the Committee has been briefed on the intelligence behind this assessment.

"I am very concerned that with this public acknowledgement, President Assad may calculate he has nothing more to lose and the likelihood he will further escalate this conflict therefore increases. It is also important that the world understands the use of weapons of mass destruction, such as sarin, will not be countenanced, and clearly Assad must go," she said.

"It is clear that 'red lines' have been crossed and action must be taken to prevent larger scale use. Syria has the ability to kill tens of thousands with its chemical weapons. The world must come together to prevent this by unified action which results in the secure containment of Syria's significant stockpile of chemical weapons," Feinstein said.

PTI


First Published: Friday, April 26, 2013, 00:02


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