Syria used chemicals but US won`t repeat Iraq war: Barack Obama

Last Updated: Thursday, August 29, 2013 - 16:42

Zee Media Bureau/Supriya Jha

Washington: In what could add weight to Western nations` planning to act against Syria, US President Barack Obama confirmed Syrian government`s hand in carrying out the deadly chemical arms attack in a suburb near Damascus but said he was yet to decide on a military strike and that the US will not get drawn into a long conflict like Iraq war.

Speaking on "PBS NewsHour" show, Obama said, “We have concluded that the Syrian government in fact carried these out. And if that’s so, then there need to be international consequences".
Even though US Navy destroyers and warships have been positioned near Syrian coasts, Obama appeared elusive on the question of carrying a military strike as he said he "has not made a decision" on what would be the best way to respond but he said Syria must be sent a "pretty strong signal", so that "it better not do it again".

Speaking further on the kind of possible military intervention Obama said that he wasn`t interested in any "open-ended conflict in Syria" but he just wanted to make sure that "when countries break international norms on weapons like chemical weapons" they must be held accountable.
Voicing fears of a rerun of Iraq war, Obama said that he didn`t want US to be involved in any "long conflict" but he wanted to act in a very "limited way" and send a "shot across the bow" so that Syria never repeats the act.

“if we can take limited, tailored approaches, not getting drawn into a long conflict — not a repetition of, you know, Iraq, which I know a lot of people are worried about — but if we are saying in a clear and decisive but very limited way, we send a shot across the bow saying, stop doing this, that can have a positive impact on our national security over the long term," said Obama.

Obama also rubbished Assad regime`s counter-allegation on rebels using the chemicals, saying that "given the delivery systems, using rockets" the opposition could not have staged chemical attack.

President Obama`s comments on Syrian regime being behind the chemical attack came just a day after Vice President Joe Biden directly pointed at Assad regime in the harshest ever remark, saying that he had "no doubt" that Syrian govt was responsible for the innocents` deaths by toxic gases.

The US has, however, not presented concrete proof, and UN inspectors currently in Syria to investigate alleged chemical attacks have not endorsed the allegations.

The August 21 attack in Syria that reportedly claimed 355 lives from toxic gases, has caused an international furore with Western nations demanding force to be used.

Envoys from Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States on Wednesday, however, reportedly failed to reach a consensus on the draft resolution proposed by Britain permitting action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The UK parliament is set to vote today on a resolution that would authorise "appropriate measures" against countries that use chemical weapons.
UN chief Ban Ki-moon said it was the "most serious moment" in Syrian civil war but added that UN inspectors must be given four days time to come up with their assessment.



First Published: Thursday, August 29, 2013 - 09:15

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