The Obama administration said on Sunday that there is “very little doubt” that Syrian president Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons against his own people, prompting questions about what the US response will be.
Alexei Pushkov, chairman of Russia’s State Duma foreign policy committee, compared Obama and Syria directly to Bush and the Iraq in a tweet sent out Sunday.
“In exactly the same way it was in Iraq, the war in Syria will be illegitimate and Obama will turn into a Bush clone,” Pushkov tweeted.
The Obama administration insisted that no US ground troops should be sent to remove Assad, but the White House will continue to monitor the situation so the president “can make an informed decision about how to respond to this indiscriminate use of chemical weapons.”
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) called for action to remove Assad in a joint statement with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) that said:
The United States must rally our friends and allies to take limited military actions in Syria that can change the balance of power on the ground and create conditions for a negotiated end to the conflict and an end to Assad’s rule. Using stand-off weapons, without boots on the ground, and at minimal risk to our men and women in uniform, we can significantly degrade Assad’s air power and ballistic missile capabilities and help to establish and defend safe areas on the ground.
Meanwhile, Russia warned the US against military action in Syria, citing the effects it would have on the ongoing efforts for peace in the Middle East.
“The threat to use force against the Syrian regime sends the opposition conflicting signals,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “All sponsors of the opposition, which have influence over it, must seek the fastest possible agreement from Bashar al-Assad’s opponents to hold talks.”
Assad responded to the threat of US intervention in an interview with a Russian newspaper on Monday, where he said that any US attack on Syria would only end in failure, and Syria would never be a puppet of the west.
“The US faces failure just like in all the previous wars they waged, starting with Vietnam and up to our days,” he said.
In the same interview, Assad called the accusation from the West that his regime used chemical weapons an “insult to common sense.”
UN investigators are scheduled to examine the alleged chemical weapon site on Monday.
Jesse Farthing is a guest blogger for Ring of Fire.