Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Mouallem said he rejects "utterly and completely" accusations that government forces used chemical weapons. His comments came a day after U.S.
Secretary of State John Kerry said there was undeniable evidence that the Syrian regime carried out chemical weapons attacks accusing the government of "indiscriminate slaughter of civilians."
The United States has been consulting with its allies on options on Syria, and military leaders met Monday in Jordan.
U.S. officials said that President Barack Obama has not yet made a decision on military action, but is likely to order a limited military operation.
The United States, Britain, and France expect they cannot work through the U.N. Security Council because of a nearly certain Russian veto.
The United States postponed a meeting scheduled for this week with Russia on the Syrian crisis because of the U.S. administration's "ongoing consultations about the appropriate response to the chemical weapons attack."
British Prime Minister David Cameron has recalled parliament from its summer recess for Thursday to debate options as the British Armed Forces are reportedly making "contingency plans" for military action.
After being targeted by sniper fire Monday, a team of U.N. inspectors was able to investigate the Mouadamiya suburb of Damascus, one of at least four sites allegedly hit by chemical weapons attacks last Wednesday.
'How to Wage War Against Assad'
Real Clear World
Even if the U.S. can somehow stop all future use of chemical weapons, the military impact will be marginal at best. Moreover, anyone who has actually seen wounds from conventional artillery — or badly treated body wounds from small arms — realizes that chemical weapons do not cause more horrible wounds. If anything, an agent like Sarin tends to either kill quickly or result in relative recovery. The case for intervening cannot be based on chemical weapons. It has to be based on two factors: Whether it serves American strategic interest and whether it meets the broader humanitarian needs of the Syrian people.
If the U.S. is to intervene in Syria, its options must have some strategic meaning and a chance of producing lasting success. They must have a reasonable chance of bringing stability to Syria, of limiting the growth of Iranian and Hezbollah influence, of halting the spillover of the Syrian struggle into nearby states, and helping to deal with the broader humanitarian crisis."
See more here.
'An American Attack on Syria Will Achieve Nothing'
"To attack or not to attack — that is no longer the question. US President Barack Obama, despite the opposition of public opinion in his country, is obliged to launch an attack in Syria because Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has long since crossed Obama's unequivocal red line. One chemical attack in a Damascus suburb has shocked the world much more than the 100,000 people who have fallen in the bloody Syrian battlefield to date.
See more here.
Opinion: Why dictators like Assad just can't quit while they're ahead
John Norris wrote for Foreign Policy: Not content to slowly exterminate his opposition and continue the massive depopulation of his country, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad apparently felt compelled to launch a blatant chemical weapons attack in a Damascus suburb that killed hundreds, if not thousands. If this sort of supervillain behavior sounds familiar, you're paying attention. Assad is replicating the same strategic blunder committed by a long list of his fellow tyrants and strongmen.
What gives? Why would Assad do something so provocative, something so stupid, something so obviously designed to trigger an international military response?
The answer is simple. Assad — like former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, former Liberian President Charles Taylor, and former Libyan President Muammar al-Qaddafi — got so used to poking the great slumbering bear that is the United States and the international community without any response that he assumed he had absolute impunity to do whatever he pleased on the ground.
Read more here.