House Intel Chair Lowers The Bar For U.S. Intervention In Syria

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI)

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, has drawn his own new “red-line” for U.S. intervention in Syria, one that sets the onus for attack far lower than the White House’s.

Rogers, speaking at a conference in Bahrain, said that “the most dangerous days of desperation are starting to take hold” inside Syria which may change the calculus of government. In light of this, Rogers has made clear that he believes the intelligence he’s receiving may call for more direct action by the United States:

As a coalition, we will have the moral obligation (to intervene) if we can say with even a moderate degree of certainty that these weapons have been prepared and are put in an arsenal for use,” Rogers said. “There are things that we should do, that would meet the world’s moral obligation to prevent the use of chemical weapons that would take the lives of tens of thousands and injure millions of Syrians.”

Rogers comments come at a time when reports are coming out of Syria that chemical weapons are already being prepared for launch. According to sources in the Pentagon, the chemicals that create sarin gas have already begun to be mixed and missiles capable of carrying the concoctions are being readied. Members of the Obama administration, including Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, have warned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in the last few days that the use of chemical weapons against his people would be the “red-line” to prompt U.S. intervention. Under Rogers’ standard, the United States should currently be in the process of launching military strikes against Syria.

According to reports, the United States and its allies have been planning for contingencies where seizing Assad’s chemical weapons would be necessary to keep them out of the hands of terrorist groups. While chemical weapons, as banned under the Chemical Weapons Convention, have a historically low rate of fatality when used in war, they prompt a worry among observers due to the painful after-effects they produce, their indiscriminate nature when used among civilians, and the ease of use of such weapons by non-state actors.

(HT: Foreign Policy)