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The US military is deploying more forces to Jordan as part of a plan to dispatch 20,000 more soldiers there in a bid to invade Syria under the pretext of securing the country’s chemical weapon arsenals. The Pentagon is sending nearly 200 troops from the 1st Armored Division to establish a “small headquarters” near Jordan’s border with Syria and plan potential military operations, “including a rapid buildup of American forces if the White House decides intervention is necessary,” The Los Angeles Times reports on Thursday, citing ‘senior US officials.’
A London newspaper quoting the Jordan source said the United States was sending two Patriot missile batteries to the area, The Times of Israel reported. The source also said the Patriot missile batteries would be transferred from sites in Qatar and Kuwait, and placed in strategic border spots that could best serve – and protect – the kingdom. Read more: www.washingtontimes.com... Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter
King Abdullah's visit comes just over a month after he and President Barack Obama met in Amman during the president's Middle East trip.
The White House said it was continuing to study assessments by US spy agencies that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons and would not set a timetable for corroborating reports.
President Barack Obama said the deployment of chemical weapons by the Syrian government was a "game changer", while also noting that intelligence assessments proving that such weapons had been used were still preliminary.
Syrian official Sharif Shehadeh called the US claims "lies'' and likened them to false accusations that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction ahead of the US-led invasion of that country.
In response to a question, Carney said that President Barack Obama would consider a range of options including, but not exclusive to, military force, should it be determined that Syria has used chemical weapons.
U.S. President Barack Obama again warned the Syrian regime not to use chemical weapons Friday but said that more investigation is needed to determine whether or not his previously announced "red line" for Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad had been crossed.
"Yesterday some of you saw that I asked my people to brief Congress about the fact that we now have some evidence that chemical weapons have been used on the populations in Syria," Obama said, standing beside Jordan's King Abdullah II.
"Now, these are preliminary assessments. They're based on our intelligence gathering. We have varying degrees of confidence about the actual use, but there are a range of questions around how, when, where these weapons may have been used."
The newly revealed intelligence assessment was delivered to Congress Thursday in response to a bipartisan letter asking for the administration's view on whether reports of chemical weapons use inside Syria were true. But The Cable has learned from multiple sources that the samples used to make that assessment, collected from the suburbs of Aleppo after a March incident, were delivered to the U.S. government more than three weeks ago. They consisted of blood samples, hair samples, and other items, such as soil from the area surrounding the attacks.
Another reported alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria occurred in the Damascus suburbs in March, and Syrian activists also claim that the regime used chemical weapons last December in Homs, but two State Department investigations failed to confirm that allegation.
On Thursday, the Syrian Support Group (SSG), a U.S.-based organization with close ties to the Free Syrian Army, reported two more alleged chemical weapons attacks in the town of Daraya, as first reported by the Daily Beast. The SSG reported that 105 people were injured and scores of animals died as well.
A Syrian minister said it was a "dangerous escalation" and the "first act" of a new rebel authority. However, both a chemical weapons monitoring body and the US said there was no evidence they had been used.
On Thursday, US spy agencies said they were investigating reports from Syrian opposition groups that Assad's forces have used sarin gas on at least two occasions during the two-year-old conflict.
"Our intelligence community does assess with varying degrees of confidence that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons on a small scale in Syria," Caitlin Hayden, a US National Security Council spokesperson, said. Hayden said that the US assessment was based in part on "physiological samples" and pointed to the possible use of sarin, a man-made nerve agent used in two attacks in Japan in the 1990s. It can cause convulsions, respiratory failure and death.
However, she said the chain of custody of the weapons was "not clear, so we cannot confirm how the exposure occurred and under what conditions".
In a cautious assessment mirroring that of Obama's administration, Cameron said the use of chemical weapons was a red line that should trigger greater pressure on President Bashar al-Assad.
"It is limited evidence but there is growing evidence that we have seen too of the use of chemical weapons, probably by the regime," Cameron told the BBC.
"It is extremely serious: this is a war crime ... We need to go on gathering this evidence and also to send a very clear warning to the Syrian regime about these appalling actions," he said.
Two days before the night when Israeli planes attacked a weapons convoy or "Scientific Research Center" in Syria - according to reports in the foreign press - Iran sent Israel an explicit warning message. Tehran, said the Iranian announcement, will view any attack on Syrian territory as an attack against Iran itself.
Really? Even with all those headlines I linked to from today? Seems pretty clear to me the intent of this administration. They've had no trouble starting war thus far.
You aren't saying that Mr. Kill List Obama is a panzy, are you? Cannot hold up his end of the bargain? He does kill kids with flying
House members were briefed Friday morning by Secretary of State John Kerry, Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and Joint Chiefs Vice Chairman Adm. James Winnefeld about an intelligence assessment that Bashar al-Assad’s forces used chemical weapons. Lawmakers left the meeting mostly united that the U.S. should step in, but they agreed inserting American ground forces would be a mistake.
Ruppersberger said, in the wake of the administration's revelation that the intelligence community believes Assad’s regime likely used chemical weapons twice recently, U.S. officials are considering options such as directly arming rebel fighters and setting up a no-fly zone to keep regime war planes and strike helicopters grounded.
Sherman added to that list “supporting refugees” and “cash for opposition groups.”
“I’m not going into anything classified when I say the secretary laid out what some of those options would be,” Sherman said. He added “I cannot say, ‘It has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt — yet — that these weapons were used ... by forces loyal to Assad’.”
Lawmakers were uncharacteristically united about what a no-fly zone would look a lot like the 2011 U.S.-led — and later turned over to NATO — mission in Libya. “Like we did in Libya, we got the Arab League involved, we got NATO involved,” Ruppersberger said. “I don’t think we, the United States, want to go into another war.”
But Pelosi said “it is pretty clear” that “this is not Libya.” That’s because “the Syrians have anti-aircraft systems” and other modern weaponry “that would make going in there much more challenging.
Sherman also raised concerns about Syria air-defense systems. The administration would be wise to realize a no-fly zone would not be a “no-casualties option.”
Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said U.S. officials should work with its allies on the no-fly zone, and several other issues.
“NATO, led by Turkey, could effectively set up the no-fly zones, the no-chemical weapons zones, the no-troops zones,” Issa said. “This is not a call to war, but reducing Bashar Assad’s ability to kill his own people.”
Several lawmakers told reporters the Obama administration must consider what would happen if it forms a coalition that eventually drives Assad from power.
“What happens after Assad leaves? That’s another thing we have to look at,” Ruppersberger said. “You [would] have issues with Israel, you have Turkey, you have Jordan.”
All are close U.S. allies in a region where Washington often has few dependable friends.
Issa was most upbeat about the post-Assad era, suggesting local officials could quickly fill the governance vacuum.
“Once you create safe havens where the U.N. agencies can go in to provide relief ... what you’ve really done is created the ability for local governance — for mayors, governors, and so on — to take responsibility in those areas,” Issa said.
There were few calls for Obama to seek congressional authorization for a Syria mission. He was widely criticized during the Libya operation for opting against doing so.
Ruppersberger urged Obama administration officials to press Moscow, Assad’s last lone powerful ally, to help force him out. “I think Russia’s involvement would be a game changer.”