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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Obama discusses with his security team the 'military option menu' in Syria

U.S. President Barack Obama met Saturday at the White House with his national security advisers to discuss military options in Syria after the alleged attack with chemical weapons this week. Although the president is reluctant to intervene in another war in the Middle East, the Pentagon chief, Chuck Hagel, told reporters that Obama had requested a "menu of military options"The Pentagon has spent months studying possible targets, especially since spring, after the first chemical attack. The Chief of Staff, Martin Dempsey, Obama introduced an updated list of possibilities in a meeting that lasted about three hours and the president's cabinet has given few details. Before the meeting, a spokesman told the press that there is still "a variety of options" and that decisions will be made ​​"consistent" with the "national interest" of the United States and how to push the "targets" in Syria, ie , the departure of Bashar Assad. The White House repeated on Saturday that Obama had ordered his intelligence "gathering facts and evidence in order to determine what happened in Syria . Once you have verified all the facts, the president will make a decision on how to respond "as an official underlined the presidency quoted by AFP. The White House says there is no timetable for the president to decide .

Options

Although the government is divided, the U.S. Navy has taken positions and has updated its military targets in Syria. "The Department of Defense has the responsibility to present options to the president to all possibilities," Hagel had previously explained to reporters traveling with him to Malaysia. "And that requires positioning our forces, positioning our resources to carry out the various options, whatever you choose the president." The president now has the last word and advocates involved as little as possible and with European and Arab allies. Among the targets identified are bunkers and platforms to launch chemical weapons. The intelligence services of the United States had detected activity in chemical plants on Tuesday, the day before the alleged attacks east of Damascus.

Caution

In his first public reaction to the alleged chemical attack that killed more than a thousand people on Wednesday on the outskirts of Damascus, Obama stressed the difficulties of intervening over the urgency of stopping the slaughter. "The situation in Syria is very difficult and the idea that the U.S. can solve a complex problem is exaggerated sectarian," the president said Friday on CNN. "Sometimes people call for immediate action, launches into something that does not end well and gets us into situations that can result in very expensive interventions, difficult and expensive to feed more resentment in the region, "Obama said. "We remain the indispensable nation ... But that does not mean we have to get involved in everything at once , "insisted the president, under the shadow of the bad experience of the Bush administration in Iraq. "If America is going and attack another country without UN mandate without clear evidence to submit questions about whether international law supports it, whether we have a coalition that works," said Obama, who also recalled the "tens of billions "that will continue to spend in Afghanistan and victims of the conflict:" Every time I visit wounded soldiers at Walter Reed [the military hospital in Maryland], whenever a letter signed by a victim of that war, remember that there are costs."
A year ago, the president said that the use of chemical weapons was a "red line" for Washington. In spring, the Pentagon announced that it believed that the Syrian regime had used sarin, but since then the U.S. military have worked only attack options that the president and some of his aides have refused to approve. According to the New York Times, the president had a slip to publicly mention the red line since the idea was to pass that message to Syria in private.
Obama defends continue diplomatic pressure for UN inspectors investigate, though he admits he does not expect "cooperation" of the Assad regime, which holds that the attacks are a trap orchestrated by opponents.

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