President Obama and other world leaders at the G-8 summit Tuesday agreed in calling for an end to the two-year civil war in Syria, but the U.S. and its allies could not convince Russia to unite behind a call for the ouster of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
As expected, Russian President Vladimir Putin would not explicitly endorse an agreement to force Assad, his longtime ally, to step down from power. In other words, the gathering of leaders from the largest industrial nations produced no major breakthrough on a civil war in Syria that has amassed more than 93,000 deaths and counting.
Instead of putting heightened pressure on Assad, the leaders chose to keep the focus on the atrocities in Syria.
“We strongly support the proposal for a conference to reach a political solution to the appalling conflict in Syria through full implementation of the 2012 Geneva Communiqué,” the leaders said in a joint statement. “We will contribute generously to the latest United Nations appeal for humanitarian help. We condemn in the strongest terms any use of chemical weapons and all human rights violations in Syria. We are committed to leading international support for Libya’s security and democratic transition and to urgent work for a lasting peace in the Middle East.”
Charlie Rose last night asked President Obama his new Syria policy. The president first objected to it being called a new policy. "I'm not sure you can characterize this as a new policy. This is consistent with the policy that I've had throughout," he said.
As if there isn't already enough on the agenda for the G-8 Summit, now Syrian president Bashar al-Assad is threatening Europe by hinting at a terror campaign on the continent. If the Europeans arm the Syrian rebels, Assad told the German dailyFrankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, "then Europe's backyard will become terrorist, and Europe will pay the price for it."
Thursday the White House announced that the American intelligence community assesses, with a level of high confidence, that the regime of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons against the opposition multiple times, in a limited fashion. Now that it is clear Assad has crossed the Obama red line by using chemical weapons, the question is, has this changed the president’s “calculus,” as he said it might? The media is reporting that it has.
After a three-week siege, the combined forces of Hezbollah and the Assad regime have taken the important crossroads town of Qusayr, which is just south of the even more important city of Homs in east-central Syria. “Whoever controls Qusayr controls the center of the country, and whoever controls the center of the country controls all of Syria,” crowed Syrian brigadier general Yalya Suleiman.
THE WEEKLY STANDARD podcast with Thomas Donnelly, Resident Fellow and Director of the Marilyn Ware Center for Security Studies at the American Enterprise Institute on his forthcoming editorial on the conflict in Syria.
The use of chemical weapons in the Syrian civil war is, says the secretary of state, "unacceptable." Back when their use was one of those contingencies for which we are supposed to have plans, the president warned that the use of such weapons represented a "red line," for the United States.