WaPo | Syria’s descent into hell

As 2012 draws to a close, Syria is descending into hell. At least 40,000 people, and likely many more, have been killed, while millions have been forced to flee their homes. Over the past 12 months, Bashar al-Assad has steadily unleashed ever-greater military firepower in response to what began as peaceful protests by the Syrian people. Starting with tanks and heavy artillery in February, the Syrian regime escalated over the summer to using attack helicopters and fighter jets. In recent weeks, it has begun firing Scud missiles at its own population.

The world has failed to stop this slaughter. President Obama has declared that his “red line” is Assad’s use of chemical weapons. Many Syrians, however, have told us that they see the U.S. red line as a green light for Assad to use all other weapons of war to massacre them with impunity. Many of those weapons continue to be supplied directly by Iran.

Despite the U.S. government’s warnings, Assad has reportedly taken steps in recent weeks to prepare chemical weapons for use against his people. From everything we know about Assad’s regime, and considering that he has methodically escalated this conflict using nearly every other weapon in his inventory, does anyone really believe that this man is incapable of using chemical weapons?


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