WASHINGTON (AFP) – On Tuesday, the United States pledged to release its intelligence findings into the Syria chemical attack this week, but said it was “preposterous” that anybody would blame anyone other than the Assad regime.
Underlining signals that an expected U.S. military action would be of limited scope, the White House said it was not seeking to bring about “regime change” in Syria and refused to say whether it would seek a UN mandate to strike.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said there “should be no doubt, for anyone who approaches this logically, that the Syrian regime is responsible for the use of chemical weapons on August 21 outside Damascus.”
“Suggestions that there is any doubt about who is responsible for this are as preposterous” as arguments that the attack did not take place, he said.
Carney’s comments seemed to be a new U.S. swipe at Syria’s ally Russia, which has cast doubt on U.S. claims that President Bashar al-Assad’s regime was responsible for the horrific chemical attack on civilians last week which is believed to have killed hundreds of civilians.
While officials insist that President Barack Obama has yet to make a decision on how to respond the attack, there is near certainty in Washington that he will chose to launch a limited military strike against Syrian targets.
They argue, that after months trying to avoid being draw into another Middle East war, that their action is aimed purely at punishing Assad for the use of chemical weapons, which they say crossed international norms.
They say possible U.S. action should not be seen as an intervention in the vicious civil war or an attempt to directly bring down the Assad regime.