Mr. President, the Red Line in Syria has been Crossed

May 3, 2013

What exactly are President Barack Obama's red lines when it comes to the crisis in Syria, and when does crossing them translate into actual global action? This week, reports released by the Syrian National Coalition, the opposition party recognized by the U.S., show that Bashar al-Assad’s regime has used chemical weapons against his own citizens. How much more evidence do we need before we finally step in and stop the atrocities?

According to the latest estimates from the United Nations, more than 70,000 Syrians have been killed and more than one million have been displaced in this two-year conflict. The bloodiest month thus far was March of this year, which claimed 6,000 lives. As if these numbers aren’t outrageous enough, al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons goes beyond a dictator attempting to quell a revolution; this is Saddam Hussein-style tyranny.

The international community has much to be concerned with: trade, development, world security and the most pressing issue being the responsibility to protect others.

When has it ever been acceptable for a nation to lose on average 3,000 lives a month? It’s a volatile situation on the ground, and high risks can lead to high dividends. The international community needs to stop al-Assad and his cronies from exercising anymore shame on our collective conscience.

The Obama administration may be moving slowly on intervening in Syria because of the implications any action might cause. However as the death toll has indicated, time is not on our side. Action is needed now to stop the madness and allow the will of the Syrian people to be realized.

Despite evidence that chemical weapons were used in Syria, Obama said he will not act until there is irrefutable proof that al-Assad has been using such weapons. Until the President decides, lethal weapons and ammunition for the Syrian rebels are being packaged as an option.

Now is the time for the U.S. and the rest of the world to exercise their global leadership. Allowing al-Assad’s control to get to the point where he could be using chemical weapons against innocent lives is shameful.

The red line is here, it has been crossed and now is the time for action. No more excuses.

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