August 23 2013
photo by Reuters/Adrees Latif
It was a year ago that President Obama declared the use of chemical weapons by the Assad government to be a red line that would bring a swift and sure U.S. response.
Yet here we are with mounting evidence that chemical weapons have been deployed and the United States remains on the sidelines. Why? Well, a lot has changed in Syria since Obama issued his red-line warning.
At the time, the situation in Syria looked less complicated and the U.S. policy centered on two clear objectives: the overthrow of Assad and supporting the Syrian rebels. It also helped that at the time the rebels had made some significant strategic gains and there was reason to hope they might prevail on their own.