Home > Foreign Policy > Analysis Syria: Is the White House Suffering from Red Line Whiplash?

Analysis Syria: Is the White House Suffering from Red Line Whiplash?

August 30th, 2013
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

09.01.2013 update


Analysis Syria: Is the White House Suffering from Red Line Whiplash?

original article written by Net Advisor

WASHINGTON, DC. The Obama Administration is experiencing apparent whiplash over the President’s August 2012 don’t cross my Red Line in the sand speech. Mr. Obama’s speech led people to believe that the U.S. would respond militarily against Syria or anyone using or moving chemical weapons. Mr. Obama has also said Syrian President Assad needs to “step down.”

[1] IB Times Video: “Obama Warns Syria’s Assad Chemical Weapons A ‘RED Line'”

This red line has been largely ignored by both Syria and the Obama Administration for sometime. On June 4, 2013, CBS News cited a United Nations report that Syria used chemical weapons in at least four attacks.

[2] Syria Death Toll
It appears that chemical weapons have been used in Syria on multiple occasions. Opposition activists report over 1,900 people killed from these weapons, and over 100,000 people killed in total on both sides. Of the number of people killed, reportedly 36,661 were civilians. This was suggested to be the worst chemical attack since Iraq’s former leader Saddam Husein used chemical weapons against his people in 1988.

The U.S. released an unclassified intelligence report suggesting 1,429 civilians killed on August 21, 2013 from Assad’s chemical weapons attack. Assad-backed Syrian media said the U.S. intelligence reports have been fabricated.

As brutal as this looks, this is really a religious war between two different ideologies [Report, Point 5].

[3] Report: Chemical Weapons Use by Assad’s Forces
The U.S. released their assessment of the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons (PDF). The Obama Administration has concluded that Syrian government and not the “rebels” used chemical weapons against its people.

“President Barack Obama says the U.S. has concluded that the Syrian government carried out a large-scale chemical weapons attack against civilians last week.

Obama says the U.S. has examined evidence and doesn’t believe the opposition fighting the Syrian government possessed chemical weapons or the means to deliver them.”

— Source: Huffington Post Video, 08-28-2013

The Obama Administration previously decided to aid the so called “rebels” who seek to oust Syria’s President Assad. The rebels include both “freedom fighters” seeking democracy against Islamic Sharia Law, and they also include al Qaeda terrorists members who the U.S. has been fighting for over a decade.

Replacing Islamic dictator Assad, could lead way to install Syria with a new dictator that could be influenced or controlled by al Qaeda. This is why the Obama Administration is not seeking regime change in Syria at this point.


[4] Fuzzy Red Lines
So Syria crossed Obama’s Red Line – (multiple times over) and everyone should have seen this coming in advance. The Obama Administration has allowed over 19 U.S. Embassy attacks to go unpunished during his first term in office [Our Report].

The Obama Administration’s message to the world seems to sound a lot like this:

It’s OK to attack the U.S. now because no one will do anything about it. In fact if you attack the U.S., you are more likely to get an apology speech as if an attack on U.S. sovereignty was somehow America’s fault.

To date, no one has been held accountable in the 09-11-2012 Benghazi Terrorist Attack and the Administration withdrew investigators from Benghazi last October 2012, arguably to avoid finding anything before the Presidential election in November.

Now there is concern that President Obama apparently feels he needs to save face as the Administration has been considering launching cruise missiles from Naval warships in the region to hit Assad’s military targets.


The Obama Administration said on Aug 27, 2013 it has no intention to push for regime change in Syria.

[5] Another Foreign Policy Fiasco?
The Obama Administration has said it has no intention to push for regime change in Syria.

“The options that we are considering are not about regime change…”

— White House Press Secretary Jay Carney (Source: Reuters), 08-27-2013

So just fire off a few dozen missiles costing the U.S. billions of dollars and we know in advance that there is no plan for resolution? This is what happens when an Administration has no decisive foreign policy plans just like Bush in Iraq, and both Bush and Obama in Afghanistan. Last summer, President Obama released supporters of terrorism back to Afghanistan. Obama’s foreign actions in Libya, Egypt, and now Syria have all been a disaster, creating more instability than before the U.S. got involved.

Naturally, we are just waiting for Iran to develop their nukes and watch the U.S. do nothing about that either. The U.S. can’t or rather chooses not to secure its own borders, so what makes us think we can somehow secure a foreign country?

Nearly 1.8 Million people reportedly have fled Syria to neighboring countries (Graphic credit: MCT)

Nearly 1.8 Million people reportedly have fled Syria to neighboring countries (Graphic credit: MCT)

If political progressives in Washington DC are indecisive about what to do if a country uses chemical weapons, how indecisive do you think they will be when Iran or another county decides to wipe out Israel as Iran’s now former president promised when Iran gets viable nukes.

[6] Prepare for Risk of Escalation
The U.S. needs to run various militarily strategies in the event things don’t go as planned. This includes Russian, Iranian, and other possible responses of further involvement. Does the U.S. have sufficient hardware in place to handle if Iran fires missiles into Israel? That would be an act of war. Even Four Star General Martin Dempsey said the U.S. needs to prepare for what could happen next if U.S. attacks Syria for its chemical weapon use.

“Once we take action, we should be prepared for what comes next…Deeper involvement is hard to avoid.”

General Martin Dempsey, Chairman, U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff (Source: Telegraph.UK), 07-23-2013

North Korea has already declared war on the United States and Obama’s strategy was to just ignore it. North Korea does have a history of making empty threats, but the U.S. should not take threats lightly.

In 2009, President Obama said he would scrap plans for a land-based long-range missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic. The move was to appease Russia.

[7] Lowering America’s Defenses is Not a Defensive Strategy
The Obama Administration scrapped the idea of placing defensive anti-ballistic missiles in Europe just to appease Russia. North Korea has been testing both short and medium range nuclear missiles, and has threaten the U.S. with a nuclear attack (article, video).

Only now has the Obama Administration decided to install some defensive misses in the Western United States. The problem is those defenses will not be operational until at least 2017.

“Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates once said North Korea could have an ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile) by 2016, added Martin, but the extra interceptor missiles to shoot it down won’t all be in place until 2017.”

— Source: CBS News

The only problem that is, the defensive missiles won’t even be tested until about 2017. That could add a year or years to the defense timeline. Again, this is the issue with the Administration downsizing U.S. defense systems then thinking everyone else will join in some ideological hand-holding weapon-free world. It just is not a realistic foreign policy.

Other sovereign nations especially in the Middle-East and North Africa (add Russia and China) won’t subscribe to some Western-driven political ideology. Nuclear missiles are not new, and neither are chemical weapons. The U.S. can’t be indecisive about chemical weapons. The U.S. needs to deal with the fact that North Korea, Iran and who knows who else will have nuclear weapons, and then it will be too late to stop a country from ever using them.

Political cartoon: Russia's Putin protecting his "king" (Syrian President Assad) while playing chess with President Obama who appears indecisive of the next, or first move.

Political cartoon: Russia’s Putin protecting his “king” (Syrian President Assad) while playing chess with President Obama who appears indecisive of the next, or first move.

[8] Nobel Peace Prize Winner Proving Less Peaceful
Mr. Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, after barley taking office in his first term. Since then, the President who said he’d end war, not start or expand them, increased troops in Afghanistan and Africa (graphic Point #14), attacked Libya which topped Kadaffi and has since created a general political mess in Egypt and Syria.

Mr. Obama has increased arms sales to Syria, increased arms sales to Egypt, yet declined to increase it’s own security at the U.S. Benghazi Mission after repeated requests from the Consulate. Four Americas were killed after the Consulate was overrun by a terrorist attack. The Administration was in immediate denial that there even was a terrorist attack.

If Mr. Obama’s increasing arms to the Middle-East seems like an odd “peace strategy,” why is the Administration and progressives at home still seeking to ban, regulate, register or otherwise restrict domestic legal firearm sales because of their potential use of danger?

Apparently it is OK to sell billions worth of fully automatic rifles, RPG‘s, tanks and jets to hostile counties in the Middle-East? Is there something wrong with this picture? Is it really a good idea to increase the number of strategic weapons in the power of corrupt dictators in the Middle-East? That strategy doesn’t sound like a peace plan.

NATO Options Against Syria. (Graphic Credit:  Farwa Rizwan / Al Arabiya English. Source: Popular Science, Kelsey D. Atherton)

NATO Options Against Syria. (Graphic Credit: Farwa Rizwan / Al Arabiya English. Source: Popular Science, Kelsey D. Atherton. Click graphic to enlarge)

[9] Obama: I Will Act if Congress Fails to Act
President Obama has said that he would act (unilaterally) if Congress does not support HIS agenda such as Immigration and Gun Control. This of course violates just about every Constitutional law we have on this matter regarding checks and balances in government. Even Democratic minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said President Obama needs Congressional support before any action is taken against Syria.

The US. decided to broadcast possible attack scenarios to Syria and the rest of the world. Ask anyone who has a minimal understanding about militarily strategy, one NEVER broadcasts their potential plans for attack.

“These military devices, leading to victory, must not be divulged beforehand.”

Sun Tzu (544 BC – 496 BC), from The Art of War (translated by Lionel Giles, at MIT)

All the White House has done is helped give the enemy time to hide, bury, or otherwise move their WMDs, and other potential strategic targets to reduce the risk of U.S. attack on their weapons. Syria is also reportedly moving people in ‘harms way’ arguably to create an international incident when Obama hits ‘military’ targets.

2012-religions in syria (reuters)

[10] PC War President: No War Friday Guaranteed!
The White House has also decided not to attack on Friday. Why? It’s not politically correct. Friday is a Muslim Holy Day for prayer, and it would be ‘bad’ political policy to drop bombs in Syria during prayer, but it’s OK to do that when they are done praying? Of course there is no issue to offend any Christians in Syria who pray on Sunday – the day of rest, called Sabbath.

[11] U.S. Attack More Likely to Come Sunday to Early Monday
In our view, the earliest U.S. attack date would most likely be Sunday. Why? If the President initiates some limited attack, he would want to do it after UN inspectors have left the country by Saturday, August 31, 2013, assuming no more attacks on them by local snipers.

The Administration might also do the attack before the U.S. stock market opens Tuesday, September 3, 2013 (Monday is Labor Day). The financial markets don’t like surprises especially during market hours. The last time the market got whiff of a possible U.S. – Syria attack, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell -170; NASDAQ fell -79 (PDF). In Europe, volatility spiked twenty-four percent.

“The cost of buying options to protect against future swings on the index, as measured by the Euro STOXX 50 volatility index or VSTOXX, rose 24 percent…”

— Source: Reuters, 08-27-2013

To minimize some of the market impact of the attack, best to do that many hours before the market opens so the futures markets can digest the new geopolitical news.

09-01-2013 UPDATE: NOTE: After this report, President Obama decided to seek Congressional approval as required under the U.S. Constitution before taking any military action against Syria  since the U.S. is not currently under immediate threat by Syria.

[12] Biden (2007): The U.S. Has No Authority to Attack
According to a 2007 TV appearance by then Presidential Candidate Joe Biden said the President (referring to Bush) had no authority to attack Iraq and Biden would move to impeach him.

So given the same situation, would the sitting Vice President impeach a sitting President? We’ll actuality only the House of Representatives can initiate that.

[13] Obama (2007): The U.S. Has No Authority to Attack
Senator Barack Obama said in 2007, a U.S. President has no authority to unilaterally attack a foreign nation that did not pose an existing or preventing an imminent attack:

“The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”

— Said Senator Barack Obama (December 2007, paragraph 4) (HTML PDF)

[14] Americans United on Syria: Don’t Attack Them 
After hearing the President’s “strategy” on Syria, Americas took to the Internet and voiced their concerns (Twitter trends Syria, chemical attack, Assad). Recent Reuters/Ipsos and NBC polls now show that Americans are generally united about one thing. No one seems to want the U.S. to engage in any military conflict with Syria, especially since we have no end-game.

The NBC Poll has issues. It suggests Americans might be supportive of a limited attack in Syria as long as it did not risk American lives. In the event NBC polled 8-year-olds, this would be a military operation. There is ALWAYS risk of people being killed in any war including Americans – that it is why it’s called “War,” and not cuddling.

The strikes could be conducted by sea and or by aircraft. It may not be as likely that Syria could hit U.S. Naval ships at sea, but in theory could hit aircraft from the ground. For Americans to think that war can be fought without causalities shows how PC the country has become. Russia did however send anti-ship missiles to Syria back in May 2013.

“Russia, one of the few remaining friends of Bashar al-Assad’s regime, just sent the Syrian government some advanced antiship missiles…

…that…are outfitted with an advanced radar that makes them far more accurate, according to American officials who are familiar with classified intelligence reports. The new missile “contributes to Syria’s overall military capabilities, but specifically it would tend to push Western or allied naval activity further off the coast…””

— Source: Atlantic Wire

[15] To Attack or Not to Attack That is the Question
President Assad’s 11 year old son allegedly posted comments on Facebook, dared the U.S. to attack Syria. After the Obama Administration got wind of the polls against the attack. The White House quickly stepped back increasing their indecisiveness about what to do, or not do. Poking a little political fun, this is our take:

To help show how Obama is politically all alone in this debate, the British Parliament is now against committing military hardware against Syria. France and apparently Australia supports a limited U.S. attack in response to chemical weapons use against civilians.

The Moskva, a missile cruiser flagship of the Russian Black Sea fleet, sails Sept. 10, 2008. (Photo: Vasiliy Batanov, AFP/Getty Images. Caption Credit: USA Today).

The Moskva, a missile cruiser flagship of the Russian Black Sea fleet, sails Sept. 10, 2008. (Photo: Vasiliy Batanov, AFP/Getty Images. Caption Credit: USA Today).

[16] Russia Also Sent Warships Near Syria
In addition to receiving land-based anti-ship missiles, Russia reportedly sent two warships to the Mediterranean near Syria. The Russian goverment denied the implication that Russia is flexing its muscle as the U.S. prepares battle against Syria. Russia, China and Iran have long supported and armed Syria’s Assad.

[17] Iran Draws “Red Line” and Has 4,000 Troops in Syria
Now that red lines are popular in the Middle-East, Iran is drawing one of its own.

“America knows the limitation of the red line of the Syrian front and any crossing of Syria’s red line will have severe consequences for the White House.”

— Massoud Jazayeri, Iran’s Armed Forces’ Deputy Chief of Staff (Source: Reuters)

Iran has also been arming Assad. Additionally, Iran is using its own military to defend the Assad regime in Syria. Iran sent 4,000 troops back in June 2013 to support Assad’s military forces.

Let’s hope that the Obama Administration has a plan to deal with Iran in case they make good on their red line threat too. Good luck with that one.


Syria religious graphic credit: Reuters. Video Credit: MS-NBC’s Hardball Show with Chris Matthews (2007); Political cartoons and other graphics and images credit by their respective owners as noted.

Original Content Copyright © 2013 NetAdvisor.org® All Rights Reserved.

NetAdvisor.org® is a non-profit organization providing public education and analysis primarily on the U.S. financial markets, personal finance and analysis with a transparent look into U.S. public policy. We also perform and report on financial investigations to help protect the public interest. Read More.

Related posts:

Categories: Foreign Policy
Comments are closed.