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Chemical Weapons And The Moral Stakes In Syria

The moral stakes in Syria and military options after another massacre and chemical weapons charges.

Syrian women who live in Beirut, hold candles and placards during a vigil against the alleged chemical weapons attack on the suburbs of Damascus, in front the United Nations headquarters in Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013. (AP)

Syrian women who live in Beirut, hold candles and placards during a vigil against the alleged chemical weapons attack on the suburbs of Damascus, in front the United Nations headquarters in Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013. (AP)

UN inspectors on the road in Syria today.  And in Washington, a finger apparently on the trigger for military intervention – retaliation – against the regime of Bashir al-Assad.

A senior Obama official saying there is “very little doubt” that the Syrian government last week used a chemical weapon indiscriminately against civilians.   The president himself, meeting with his national security team over the weekend to weigh military options.  Opponents of intervention are still shouting no.  But intervention has never seemed so close.

This hour, On Point:  military intervention and Syria.

- Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Sam Dagher, Middle East correspondent for the Wall Street Journal. (@samdagher)

Jonathan Tepperman, managing editor at Foreign Affairs Magazine. Guest columnist at the International Herald Tribune. (@j_tepperman)

Christopher Harmer, senior Naval Analyst with the Middle East Security Project at the Institute for the Study of War. Served 20 years as a career officer in the US Navy.

Kate Washington, oversees the Syrian refugee response work in Jordan for the humanitarian organization CARE.

From Tom’s Reading List

The New York Times: ‘Little Doubt’ of Chemical Attack by Syria, White House Says – “A senior Obama administration official said on Sunday that there was ‘very little doubt’ that forces of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria had used chemical weapons against civilians last week and that a promise to allow United Nations inspectors access to the site is ‘too late to be credible.’”

CBS News: Syria options weighed as U.S. forces move closer – “U.S. intelligence officials sought Saturday to determine whether Syria’s government unleashed a deadly chemical weapons attack on its people. At the same time, the Obama administration prepared for a possible military response by moving naval forces closer to Syria.”

Associated Press: US Divided Over How to Respond to Mideast Violence – “Persistent violence in Syria and Egypt has sharply divided senior advisers in the Obama administration over a moral dilemma: How far should the U.S. go to stop the killing when its actions could lead to war with Syria or damage relations with Egypt?”

 

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