WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama's chemical weapons position on Syria may be giving Bashar Assad an unintended opening: The embattled Syrian leader appears willing to use other deadly tactics, including Scud missiles, without fear of U.S. retaliation.
Obama has said Syria's use or proliferation of its chemical weapons would change his "calculus" about a conflict the U.S. has been loath to intervene in militarily. He has referred to this as his "red line."
The White House says Assad's escalation against rebel forces is a sign of his growing desperation as his opposition gets stronger and enjoys more international support, including from the U.S. But some human rights groups and Middle East experts say Obama's red line has given Assad a green light to launch attacks on his own people through other means.