News / Middle East

Obama: World Cannot Permit Use of Chemical Weapons

President Barack Obama listens to Jordan's King Abdullah II during their meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington,  April 26, 2013.
President Barack Obama listens to Jordan's King Abdullah II during their meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, April 26, 2013.
— President Barack Obama says the world cannot stand by and permit any use of chemical weapons, and says the United States will work with international partners to vigorously investigate evidence in hand so far.  

In remarks before his meeting with Jordan's King Abdullah, Obama said the U.S. now has "some evidence" with "varying degrees of confidence" that chemical weapons have been used in Syria.

He said a range of questions remain about how and when such weapons may have been used.  The U.S. will pursue a vigorous investigation in consultation with partners and the United Nations, moving as effectively and quickly as possible.

Obama said the U.S. and partners must act prudently and make assessments deliberately, but said the world cannot stand by and permit the use of chemical weapons.

"All of us, not just in the United States but around the world, recognize how we cannot stand by and permit the systematic use of weapons like chemical weapons on civilian populations," he said.

Obama mentioned the danger of chemical weapons falling into the hands terrorists, which he said adds increased urgency to the Syrian situation.

As to whether his "red line" has been crossed, he said his message has been clear.

"For the Syrian government to utilize chemical weapons on its people, crosses a line that will change my calculus, and how the United States approaches these issues," he said.

At the same time, Obama said preliminary evidence is "not an on or off switch" for potential action, but an ongoing challenge for the U.S. and international community which must gather further evidence.

Earlier, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama is keeping all options on the table, including military force, while the investigation into chemical weapons use proceeds to firmly establish that a 'red line' has been crossed.

The two leaders also discussed pressures on Jordan of supporting a huge influx of refugees from Syria, and King Abdullah underscored concerns about fragmentation of Syria and the rise of extremist groups.

"We are now seeing the surge of the second threat of militant terrorist organizations that  have risen over the past several months," said King Abdullah.

In his remarks, President Obama said again that President Bashar al-Assad has "lost legitimacy" adding that a multi-sectarian political solution to the conflict is required, but hard to accomplish.

Bringing an end to the Syrian conflict, he said, is a long-term proposition that will not be solved easily overnight.

  • Smoke rises from what activists said was a missile fired by a Syrian Air Force fighter jet loyal to President Bashar al-Assad in Deraa, Syria, April 26, 2013.
  • This citizen journalism image shows anti-Syrian regime protesters holding banners and waving the Syrian revolutionary flags, Aleppo, Syria, April 26, 2013. (Aleppo Media Center AMC)
  • Civilians try to extinguish a fire following shelling activists blamed on forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, Deraa, April 25, 2013.
  • People walk next to a vehicle damaged by what residents say was a missile fired by Syrian rebels in the town of Hermel in Bekaa, April 24, 2013.
  • This citizen journalism image shows members of the free Syrian Army preparing their weapons, in al-Amerieh, Aleppo, Syria, April 25, 2013. (Aleppo Media Center AMC)
  • This citizen journalism image shows a wounded Syrian man holding his injured son after an air raid on the northwestern town of Saraqeb in the province of Idlib, Syria, April 25, 2013. (Edlib News Network ENN)

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: kanaikaalirumporai
April 27, 2013 6:10 AM
If this of Mr Obama is anything genuine, them where was he four years ago this time when one of US's beloved friend and ally, the barbarous regime in Sri Lanka employed a far worse chemical agent that not only kills by suffocation but disintegrate the victim's body afterwards against a whole population? His so called supreme spy-outfits would have found out with ample evidence about this to stand the scrutiny of any court, but he chose to give culprits red carpet welcomes and employ empty and impotent UNHRC resolutions and use the opportunity for bargain talks with the regime. This could be the thinking behind the reluctence to act here too. Once Assad comes out with good suggestions, everything is done!


by: Bakhtiar from: KRG- Iraq
April 27, 2013 5:58 AM
What i do believe current international relations arrangements does not allow any collective response to Syrian crises. International system recognized by anarchical system and international governmental organizations such UN have been paralyzed because of fierce battle of balance of power as defensive realists described it.


by: Invisible Lines
April 27, 2013 12:44 AM
When does the loss of so many lives equate to a RED LINE,
which then results in action against certain governments?

Invisible lines must have existed in Somalia, Rwanda, Congo, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and more recently Zimbabwe, where so many lives were lost.


by: Igor from: Russia
April 27, 2013 12:06 AM
During the Vietnam war, the USA used Orange Agent in large scale - a kind of chemical weapon. Millions of Vietnamese have been killed or become invalid by that weapon. Now the USA is trying to deny that it is a kind of weapon to evade its responsibilites and is playing the role of a policemman to punish those it lays the blame at. What a hypocrite!


by: Dr Sam
April 26, 2013 3:15 PM
Barbed comments dont always help people understand the situation and portrays many good British citizens in a bad light.
Russia, China and several other Eastern Bloc countries sell weapons, apart from landmines and ground to air missiles as well as supplying them to "Liberation Movments or Revolutionary Groups". Rhodesia was a classic point, where such weaponry was supplied in large quantities to these Liberation Movements. Many Countries have endured painful
times and sadly continue to do so, unless the West stands fast on humanitarian rights.


by: Lidice82 from: Czech Republic
April 26, 2013 2:34 PM
Love from our hearts to US/Israel from the 82 silent voices of Lidice


by: ZD98 from: Czech Republic
April 26, 2013 2:24 PM
I love reading the comments here... concerning Britain... remember the ultimate British betrayal? "Czechoslovakia - that distant land of which we know nothing..." you may not remember... but we can not forget!!!


by: Godwin from: Nigeria
April 26, 2013 1:58 PM
The Nigerian and African news watchers are very familiar with George Owell's Animal Farm type of politics, but I don't know if same applies elsewhere, including Europe and USA. If it does, they would not have to bother so much about the kind of goal-shifting politics of 'Red lines' that chemical weapon use would draw. First USA said it would be a game changer. Now it has been used, and the White House is saying "the Syrian government has used sarin gas on a small scale". Therefore no action?

What have you said now that has not been said earlier? What political solution are seeking now that has not been sought earlier? USA should not be like North Korea in saying things it does not mean. A red line is a red line, then what next? That's all everyone is waiting to hear. Or is it today that you realise that the western stand on the resolution of the Syrian crisis is going to favour militancy and aggravate situations out there, especially for Israel? Presidents below 50yrs of age play dangerous games with diplomacy. They think you only have to say it, but they do not know what next.


by: Dr. Samantha Holyfield from: UCSC
April 26, 2013 11:47 AM
BND, here is something to think about which might give you a better conceptual approach... Britain gets a substantial discount on Oil purchases, the lowest rates in Europe... they would do anything to facilitate the purchase of cheap oil - sell weapons to known terrorist rogue States like Libya, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Chechnya... foment unrest in Russia, China, Syria, Bahrain, Kuwait... prostitute their own Banking systems to manipulate the American and European Banks... the list of their depravity is endless... there is only one Nation that sees them as they truly are in their ugly and natural dimensions... despite decades of covert antisemitism innuendo and insinuation and attempts at delegitimization... and that is Israel. Believe it or not... it is true.

Now, the Oil they get so cheaply is not used to propel forward their flagging economy... no, they use it to milk their own citizens at the highest rates in Europe... making their citizens the biggest dupes in Europe.
Contrary to our provincial American perceptions, the British citizenry are the biggest idiots in Europe. forget the nice British accent that we all like... it masks a fundamental almost neurological stupidity and factual imbecility crude and uncouth servility...


by: BND from: Germany
April 26, 2013 10:16 AM
I would plead with anyone here who knows to explain to me why Britain has been trying so hard for the passed two years to remove Assad from power? We all know that they can't do it directly... but they can persuade (or try to manipulate) the Americans to "ask" the Israelis to decapitate the Syrian regime. The Israelis, like the Russian and the Germans are hesitant because the wisdom of the "plan" is not apparent...

Yes, we are disturbed by Assad use of chemical weapons... but we think he should be encouraged to use it more discretely... and not pay the ultimate price for the use of it... Remember, Syria is the field of the proxy battle between Iran and Saudi Arabia - which in turn supplies oil for Britain... could that be the reason??? after all... the British have done it before... they sold their soul to Qadafy in Libya... remember?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid