By Torbjorn Soltvedt
It remains unclear whether chemical weapons were used by the regime or parts of the armed opposition in an attack that killed 25 people in the al-Assal region north of Aleppo, on March 19th 2013, however, both the risk of chemical weapons being used and the risk of a proliferation of such weapons to non-state actors is increasing.
Although the use of chemical weapons would likely trigger some form of external military intervention, it is possible that the regime will underestimate the resolve of the West, despite warnings from US president Barack Obama. The ‘red line’ drawn by the US president in August has shifted and therefore the possibility of a miscalculation by the Assad regime is increasing. While the Obama administration initially warned that it would consider intervention if the regime moved or utilised chemical weapons, its policy has shifted to only include the use of chemical weapons. (more…)