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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Obama Reasserts That The Use Of Chemical Weapons In Syria Would Be A ‘Game Changer’

Obama Reasserts That The Use Of Chemical Weapons In Syria Would Be A ‘Game Changer’

President Obama began his first visit to Israel as president by reaffirming the commitment to the security of the Jewish state. He also restated that the U.S. could intervene in Syria’s civil war if it turns out chemical weapons were used against the Syrian people.

At a press conference with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Obama said the alliance between the leaders’ two countries has never been stronger, especially militarily. He noted that the United States will send $200 million to Israel this year, bolstering the Iron Dome defense system which protects the nation from rockets from the Gaza Strip.

The president also noted that the Assad regime in Syria has “lost all legitimacy.” In response to a question about the potential use of chemical weapons in Syria, Obama said that these claims are being investigated, and if true, they would be a “game changer.” He said he is deeply skeptical of the regime’s assertion that the rebels used chemical weapons.

In his statement, Netanyahu again stated that he’s willing to do anything necessary to prevent Iran from attaining a nuclear weapon. “Israel can never cede the right to defend itself, even to its greatest friend,” he noted.

The Israeli prime minister praised Obama’s assertion that Israel must be the “master of its own fate.” He thanked the president for meeting with him 10 times as president, and making Israel the first foreign trip of his second term.

Twice, the president said “all options are on the table” when it comes to dealing with Iran.

“Iran hasn’t yet reached the red line I described at my UN speech,” Netanyahu said. “But they are getting closer.”

Israeli president Shimon Peres praised President Obama’s commitment to Israel’s security and expressed their shared wish for peace in the Middle East. “This is not only a wish but a possibility — there is no other way to make the future better and no other leader to make this possible,” said Peres, who has been serving his country continuously — except for a three-month hiatus in 2006 — since its war for independence ended in 1949.

Obama was greeted at Ben Gurion Airport by Peres and Netanyahu. Tensions between the Israeli prime minister and the American president have been evident since Netanyahu all but endorsed Mitt Romney in the 2012 election. However, he had nothing but praise for the president during his remarks to the more than 1,000 people gathered to greet Obama.

“We deeply appreciate your friendship and we share your hope that the Middle East will enjoy a future of freedom, prosperity and peace,” he said.

President Obama impressed his hosts by saying “tov l’he’ot shuv b’aretz,” which means “good to be in Israel again” in Hebrew, before going on to say that he was there to affirm the “unbreakable bond” between the two countries.

“I am confident in declaring that our alliance is l’netzach,eternal, is forever,” he added, again using Hebrew.

The president will be in Israel for three days. He’ll visit the Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem, Mount Herzl and the Israel Museum, and meet with Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas before heading to Jordan to meet with King Abdullah II. Critics note that the president’s trip will not force him to confront many of the harsh realities that non-Jews face in the state.

Notably, the song playing as Obama arrived was “Jerusalem of Gold,” an ode to Israel’s connection to the Jewish people that was updated after the Six-Day War to celebrate the unification of the holy city. The status of Jerusalem, along with the continued development of Israeli settlements in occupied lands, have been major issues of contention in now completely stalled peace negotiations between Palestinians and the Israelis.

President Obama noted that the peace process has not progressed as much as he’d hoped. He said he was there to “listen” and find out how the United States could be helpful. He said his visit will be a success if he has a better understanding of the possibilities for and constraints to peace.

“This is a really hard problem,” the president said. “It’s been going on for six decades.”

Both Peres and Netanyahu affirmed their support for a “two-state solution.”

AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

  • I prefer a non-interventionist foreign policy, and abhor over reactions and aggressive behavior, but if the of chemical weapons against civilians by the Syrian military is true, as leaders of the free world, we must take action. In my opinion, there is no need to put boots on the ground, but if there is conclusive evidence that the claims of chemical weapons being used against civilians are true, we should destroy all the chemical weapons facilities where they are stored and the military bases being used to deliver them. I am sure the Mossad knows where those weapons are and who used them against civilians.
    We should also charge those responsible for this horrible escalation of hostilities with crimes against humanity and, when captured, send them to The Hague for prosecution.

    • How many times are we going to get suckered into wars with the threats of WMDs or
      chemicals weapons or rulers who massacare their people? We could take on the
      whole Middle East and end up with another Iraq or Afghanistan. Its time to take a
      really close look at why other countries are trying to push us into another war.
      Just because we have the big guns doesn’t mean we have to prove it.

      • DurdyDawg

        I’m with you Barb.. It seems the threat of war has become a weekly exercise for these idiots and each one looks toward the west for some kind of reaction.. What if we said, “To hell with you and if you decide to murder your own people then we will take any and all aid away from you except for food and medical supplies”.. To me it’s like the little brother starting a fight then relying on big brother to win out for them.. It’s like a manipulation that doesn’t seem to want to go away.. I’m wondering how many of our frogs are trying to keep this in action?

      • Stopping crimes against humanity does not require a traditional war or the occupation of another country. If irrefutable evidence confirming the use of chemical weapons against civilians is available, the implementation of a no-fly zone, ostracism, helping bonafide rebels, and targetting the entities and individuals responsible for such inhumane practice is not only permissible, it is the responsibility of nations that claim to be the leaders of the free world and the enforcers of law and order.
        If we know who is responsible for this and where the chemical weapons are stored, we should destroy them.
        The actions taken by Assad since the Syrian civil war began have been so despicable that even some of his most dependable allies – Russia – have distanced themselves from him. There is no risk of warfare expansion if international action – without boots on the ground – is taken against the perpetrators of a crime against humanity.

    • Anna Drake

      I am sorry to say but Iraq supposed to have WMD and we lost so many of our man and women and allies for Bush LIES. Bush lied and lots of people died.

      War is no solution to any conflict, War never decide winner, only decides who is left.
      Man that stands for nothing (but power) will fall for anything (lies).

      If Israel is worried let them fight their own war. NO AMERICAN SOLDIER OR ALLIES SHOULD DIE FOR ISRAEL OR ANY COUNTRY.

      Let the drones to bomb them to kingdom come. NO boots on the ground – EVER.

  • charleo1

    What’s that the Right is always asking? Still blaming Bush? Unfortunately, the results
    of his disastrous policies, are forever poking their ugly heads into the realities he
    created. To the budget hawks, his bills for the wars, fought on credit, are still coming in.
    The holes created in the Country’s budget by a false economic theory, we still struggle
    to fill. The security of allies, is no doubt less secure. As enemies, and rivals look upon
    our machinery of war, worn by more than a decade of war. And, the mood of a war
    weary American people. The handshakes, and the tapestry of State, designed to send
    a message of resolve, to avoid a war we clearly do not want. And may not be able to
    fight. Seem all the more implausible. Because George Bush already played the cards we desperately need, to be at least in the deck. But, they are not. He played them.
    So what Mr. Bush, as you ride your mountain bike, like the man child, your privileged
    station you were born into made you. What advise do you have for your Countrymen
    today? Shift to a slightly lower gear, just before reaching the crest of a hill?

  • RobertCHastings

    Finally, Netanyahu has been dragged(kicking and screaming, albeit) to the point of at least CLAIMING that he, too, wants a two-state solution. For those who naively compare the Syrian use of chemical weapons on their citizenry to the search for WMDs in Iraq, that is just kerfluffel. We know that Syria has chemical weapons; we know that the security of those weapons is in jeopardy; we know there are many agents without governments that would love to get their hands on them; and we know that Assad will have no qualms, should the end be imminent, of both using them on his own people and selling them to the highest bidders. When we went into Iraq, we did NOT know those things, although our leaders had lied to us about them. In fact, legitimate weapons inspectors, both from the UN and a US replacement for al Baradei, verified the non-existence of WMDs in Iraq. And a former US ambassador verified that there was no quest by Hussein in Nigeria for “yellow cake”. In recent years, Assad has made no bones about the existence within the borders of Syria of chemical weapons. Today, our president will not pursue the same path that Bush did and invade a sovereign country without justification and without verification.

  • jointerjohn

    This is the never-ending story of the three forms of monotheism arising from Judeo history. Judaism, Christianity and Islam are perpetual war machines that mankind would do well to abandon to the dumpster of history.