France Is Talking About Using ‘Force’ in Syria Now

Dashiell Bennett, The Atlantic Wire
See more stories about...
Dashiell Bennett, The Atlantic Wire
Aug. 22, 2013, 7:02 a.m.

NEW YORK — France’s For­eign Min­is­ter sug­ges­ted today that the in­ter­na­tion­al com­munity must re­spond “with force” if it’s proven that hun­dreds of deaths in Syr­ia on Wed­nes­day were caused by chem­ic­al weapons. In a tele­vi­sion in­ter­view on Thursday, Laurent Fabi­us did not spe­cify what ac­tion might be taken or who should do it. (France, NATO, the U.S. or some com­bin­a­tion?) He also spe­cific­ally ruled out send­ing ground forces in­to Syr­ia. However, his state­ment re­flects a grow­ing con­cern that Bashar al-As­sad’s re­gime may have fi­nally gone too far for the rest of the in­ter­na­tion­al com­munity to ig­nore the prob­lem any longer.

His state­ment came after an emer­gency Se­cur­ity Coun­cil meet­ing at the United Na­tions res­ul­ted in pre­dict­ably tooth­less re­sponse. The group did not even of­fi­cially or­der a full in­vest­ig­a­tion in­to the at­tack and al­leg­a­tions of chem­ic­al weapon use, but merely asked for “clar­ity” and ex­pressed “strong con­cern.” No res­ol­u­tions or new sanc­tions were pro­posed. Any form­al ac­tion taken by the Se­cur­ity Coun­cil is likely to be blocked by Rus­sia, which re­mains As­sad’s most stead­fast ally.

The lack of ac­tion also drew out­rage from Tur­key, which shares a bor­der with Syr­ia and has been vo­cally op­posed to As­sad from the be­gin­ning. The tep­id re­sponse from the U.N. is even more dis­ap­point­ing giv­en that one of their chem­ic­al weapons in­vest­ig­a­tion teams is already in Syr­ia, and stay­ing at a hotel just minutes from the at­tack site, but has not been per­mit­ted to in­vest­ig­ate. There are even re­ports that As­sad’s forces have been bomb­ing the same area with con­ven­tion­al weapons, per­haps to cov­er evid­ence.

Is­raeli in­tel­li­gence has also de­clared that the evid­ence of a chem­ic­al at­tack is cred­ible, and that the As­sad gov­ern­ment is re­spons­ible. Rebel op­pos­i­tion groups says as many as 1,300 people were killed in the at­tack.

Re­prin­ted with per­mis­sion from the At­lantic Wire. The ori­gin­al story can be found here.

What We're Following See More »
STAFF PICKS
These (Supposed) Iowa and NH Escorts Tell All
2 hours ago
NATIONAL JOURNAL AFTER DARK

Before we get to the specifics of this exposé about escorts working the Iowa and New Hampshire primary crowds, let’s get three things out of the way: 1.) It’s from Cosmopolitan; 2.) most of the women quoted use fake (if colorful) names; and 3.) again, it’s from Cosmopolitan. That said, here’s what we learned:

  • Business was booming: one escort who says she typically gets two inquiries a weekend got 15 requests in the pre-primary weekend.
  • Their primary season clientele is a bit older than normal—”40s through mid-60s, compared with mostly twentysomething regulars” and “they’ve clearly done this before.”
  • They seemed more nervous than other clients, because “the stakes are higher when you’re working for a possible future president” but “all practiced impeccable manners.”
  • One escort “typically enjoy[s] the company of Democrats more, just because I feel like our views line up a lot more.”
Source:
STATE VS. FEDERAL
Restoring Some Sanity to Encryption
2 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

No matter where you stand on mandating companies to include a backdoor in encryption technologies, it doesn’t make sense to allow that decision to be made on a state level. “The problem with state-level legislation of this nature is that it manages to be both wildly impractical and entirely unenforceable,” writes Brian Barrett at Wired. There is a solution to this problem. “California Congressman Ted Lieu has introduced the ‘Ensuring National Constitutional Rights for Your Private Telecommunications Act of 2016,’ which we’ll call ENCRYPT. It’s a short, straightforward bill with a simple aim: to preempt states from attempting to implement their own anti-encryption policies at a state level.”

Source:
STAFF PICKS
What the Current Crop of Candidates Could Learn from JFK
2 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”

Source:
STAFF PICKS
Hillary Is Running Against the Bill of 1992
2 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

The New Covenant. The Third Way. The Democratic Leadership Council style. Call it what you will, but whatever centrist triangulation Bill Clinton embraced in 1992, Hillary Clinton wants no part of it in 2016. Writing for Bloomberg, Sasha Issenberg and Margaret Talev explore how Hillary’s campaign has “diverged pointedly” from what made Bill so successful: “For Hillary to survive, Clintonism had to die.” Bill’s positions in 1992—from capital punishment to free trade—“represented a carefully calibrated diversion from the liberal orthodoxy of the previous decade.” But in New Hampshire, Hillary “worked to juggle nostalgia for past Clinton primary campaigns in the state with the fact that the Bill of 1992 or the Hillary of 2008 would likely be a marginal figure within today’s Democratic politics.”

Source:
STAFF PICKS
Trevor Noah Needs to Find His Voice. And Fast.
3 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

At first, “it was pleasant” to see Trevor Noah “smiling away and deeply dimpling in the Stewart seat, the seat that had lately grown gray hairs,” writes The Atlantic‘s James Parker in assessing the new host of the once-indispensable Daily Show. But where Jon Stewart was a heavyweight, Noah is “a very able lightweight, [who] needs time too. But he won’t get any. As a culture, we’re not about to nurture this talent, to give it room to grow. Our patience was exhausted long ago, by some other guy. We’re going to pass judgment and move on. There’s a reason Simon Cowell is so rich. Impress us today or get thee hence. So it comes to this: It’s now or never, Trevor.”

Source:
×