The Obama administration believes it has definitive proof that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad deployed mass gassing of Syrian civilians last week, killing more than 300 people, leading the administration to prepare to make a military strike against Assad.
Though White House spokesman Jay Carney was reluctant to provide details, officials say the White House has begun to notify Congressional leaders of a possible strike. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told the BBC on Tuesday that the Pentagon has complied with President Obama’s request for options for all contingencies.
“He has seen them, we are prepared,” Hagel said. “We have moved assets in place to be able to fulfill and comply with whatever option the president wishes to take. We are ready to go.”
White House press secretary Jay Carney said that when Obama “has made a decision and has an announcement to make, he’ll make it.”
Carney said the U.S. and many other nations are convinced that the Assad government was responsible for the attack.
Carney said the only remaining decision for the president is “what is the appropriate response to this clear violation of international norms?”
What might an attack look like? U.S. officials said it would be of limited scope and duration, using “stand-off” weapons such as sea-launched cruise missiles or long-range bombers. They would be designed as much to send a message of resolve and warning, as to seriously damage the regime.