Dec 10 2012

Syrian Government and Rebels Up the Ante, While US Raises Implications of Chemical Weapons

In Syria, President Bashar Al-Assad refuses to relinquish power in what is now a full blown civil war with well over 40,000 casualties. Rebels are threatening to seize Damascus Airport, and have already seized a military base near the Turkish border as fighting has spread into neighboring Lebanon. The country has become more and more isolated with civilian flights being disrupted for the past two weeks and the internet completely shut down by al-Assad’s regime.

Meanwhile talks have just taken place in Geneva between Russia, the US and the UN’s Special Representative for Syria, Lakdhar Brahimi, to create a UN Security Council Resolution on the crisis. Russia, which has been enabling the al-Assad regime by supplying weapons, agreed to participate in the talks on the condition that Assad not be asked to step down.

And, in a troubling turn, the US and its European allies claim that they have ‘evidence’ of increased activity around chemical weapons sites in Syria. While Syrian leaders have denied that they will use chemical weapons, they have now written letters to the UN claiming the US is accusing them of using chemical weapons in an excuse to launch a military invasion.

GUEST: Stephen Zunes, Professor of Politics and International Studies at the University of San Francisco, where he chairs the program in Middle Eastern Studies.

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