In the hours before the September 10 speech in which President Obama stated his strategy against ISIS, The New York Time’s Peter Baker says Obama told reporters that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would bring about his own overthrow by firing on American planes in Syrian airspace.
[Obama] made clear the intricacy of the situation, though, as he contemplated the possibility that Mr. Assad might order his forces to fire at American planes entering Syrian airspace. If he dared do that, Mr. Obama said he would order American forces to wipe out Syria’s air defense system, which he noted would be easier than striking ISIS because its locations are better known. He went on to say that such an action by Mr. Assad would lead to his overthrow.
On December 31, 2012, Breitbart News reported that Obama yawned as Assad allegedly crossed the red line set for him regarding chemical weapons. Israel’s YNet News reported that the weapons contained “paralyzing agents” and that Syria had used them over the course of a “few months” in the latter part of 2012.
Intelligence agencies began looking into the matter, and on April 26, 2013, Breitbart News reported that “intelligence assessments” released by the State Department–showing that chemical weapons had been used–were not enough to convince the White House that Syria had actually used chemical weapons. So no action was taken.
On June 13, 2013, ABC News reported the White House confirmed Assad had used chemical weapons against his own people at various times during the previous year.
Assad won Syrian’s presidential election earlier this year and was sworn in on July 16 for his third term.
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