Syria: High Possibility Of ‘Limited’ US Air Strikes
BMI sees a high risk of 'limited' US airstrikes on Syria, owing to the government's alleged responsibility for a major chemical attack last week that killed hundreds of people.
In our latest crib sheet on the Syria conflict, published on Business Monitor Online on August 16, we suggested that direct Western military action against the Assad regime was unlikely for the time being. However, we also warned that 'Washington could [also] intervene militarily under a scenario whereby Assad uses chemical weapons on a very large-scale against the Syrian people.'
Although UN inspectors on the ground have yet to confirm culpability for the attack, and Damascus has vehemently denied responsibility, perceptions are growing in the international media and policy circles that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime carried out the chemical strikes. Given that US President Barack Obama has long maintained that the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime would constitute a 'red line' that could trigger American intervention, many believe that Washington now has little choice but to respond militarily. Indeed, previous assertions that the Assad regime used chemical weapons, albeit on a much smaller scale, proved insufficient to galvanise the US into action. Even if Syrian government responsibility for the latest attack is never proven, some hawks in Washington, London, and Paris, in particular, feel that Western intervention is overdue, owing to the high death toll - estimated at 100,000 - already incurred.