Coffee House

Cameron and Obama warn Assad of ‘serious response’

25 August 2013

10:32 AM

25 August 2013

10:32 AM

David Cameron spoke to Barack Obama yesterday about the situation in Syria. A Number 10 spokesman gave the following read-out of the call:

‘They are both gravely concerned by the attack that took place in Damascus on Wednesday and the increasing signs that this was a significant chemical weapons attack carried out by the Syrian regime against its own people. The UN Security Council has called for immediate access for UN investigators on the ground in Damascus. The fact that President Assad has failed to co-operate with the UN suggests that the regime has something to hide.

‘They reiterated that significant use of chemical weapons would merit a serious response from the international community and both have tasked officials to examine all the options. They agreed that it is vital that the world upholds the prohibition on the use of chemical weapons and deters further outrages. They agreed to keep in close contact on the issue.

‘The Prime Minister also spoke to Prime Minister Harper who agreed that the situation was extremely troubling and that the international community must respond appropriately.’

William Hague had already said that he believed this was a chemical attack by the regime against Syrians, but the significant line in this statement is ‘significant use of chemical weapons would merit a serious response from the international community’ and the agreement between Obama and Cameron that the world must deter further outrages. Much has been made of the flexibility of Obama’s ‘red line’ on chemical weapons, and it is essential that the leaders do not give the impression to Assad that he can use such weapons without censure.

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While a ‘serious response’ is unlikely to involve troops on the ground, there are other options, such as air strikes. And on a political level, Cameron must tread carefully as so many in his party are opposed to military intervention. Bob Stewart told Sky News this morning that Parliament should be recalled if military action is on the cards. And before the summer recess, a number of Tory MPs were warning that intervention could lead to enough letters going to 1922 committee chairman Graham Brady to trigger a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister.

All of these domestic concerns are of course nothing compared to the incredibly complex international picture, with Iran warning this morning of ‘severe consequences’ of ‘any crossing of Syria’s red line’ by the US. But it’s worth noting that while there is little dispute that something must be done, forging an agreement on what that something is will still be a mighty task.


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Show comments
  • Peter Stroud

    Neither Obama, US Republicans calling for military action or Cameron probably know how much the Jihadists are involved in the Syrian opposition. Until this is established, it would be foolhardy embark on any military assistance. The US Embassy in Libya has been attacked, the Ambassador murdered with members of his staff: Christians have been persecuted, and graves of our WW2 casualties smashed, all since we assisted rebels. We must not make the same mistake in Syria.

    Furthermore, no action should be taken without the approval of Parliament. It seems that the majority of voters are very worried about another intervention by the West in Middle Eastern politics.

  • Andy

    Seems the prevailing attitude here is Westphalia – that it matters not what a sovereign does within their borders. No ones business but theirs. Carrying that idea to its logical conculsion means all asylum seekers should be returned whence they came.

    • Daniel Maris

      Well that’s not my attitude. But every case is different and has to be weighed up. In the case of Syria there is not the direct casus belli that there was in Iraq where, after invading a sovereign UN state and having been forced out,Saddam was trying to renege on the terms of the armistice. There was also the prospect of doing some good there, I think – though sadly the internecine hatreds and our inability to organise the administration produced a sorry situation.

      Saddam’s regime was always far more murderous than Assad’s. In Syria, it was the opposition in Syria who decided to start a civil war – that’s fair enough, given they are living under a dictatorship, but it doesn’t mean we are obliged to take sides, particularly when that opposition destroys Christian communities, engages in human rights abuses and is allied with Al Queda.

      Long term our objective has to be to build a real democratic constituency – there are signs that exists in Egypt and Tunisia to some degree for instance.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …yes, you socialist nutters are all about nation building. As you say, it’s your long term objective, generally done at gunpoint, as we know.

  • Trofim

    I can’t understand why being gassed is so much more dreadful than having your limbs blown off. Can anyone enlighten me?

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Hardly any doubt but that it was a chemical weapons attack. The real question is by whom. The US would have us believe it was by the Assad government. But face it, the US has form when it comes to false flag attacks. The public have been conned too often and are starting to doubt everything their government tells them. And that goes double for the MSM.
    “Never believe anything until it`s been officially denied.”

  • chan chan

    Be careful calling Obama ‘Obama’. Chris Matthews at MSNBC now says that to call Obama ‘Obama’ is racist.

  • Curnonsky

    It has lately been revealed that the American ambassador to Libya who was killed in Benghazi had been involved in an officially-sanctioned weapons smuggling operation to supply the Syrian rebels with ex-Gaddaffi arms. Is it not possible that these included chemical weapons? If nothing else the murkiness of the whole mess should inspire caution, especially among indecisive jellyfish like Dave and Barry.

  • BoiledCabbage

    What is the point of Cameron pitching in with a Military that has been cut to the bone on his watch? Will he send an aircraft carrier?

  • London Calling

    I would still like the facts, which only the UN can verify….its quick to judge that worries me, if the rebels have chemical weapons in their arsenal why? unless your going to use them….is it truly unthinkable to use chemical weapons just to ratchet up a response from the west ……….:(

    If it is Assad’s regime who are responsible for the Chemical attack…….the Red Line has been crossed and the West has no choice but to act……….

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …you act.

      Get yourself right over there and act.

      • Daniel Maris

        I think you’re wrong to encourage intervention – there’s too much urge to “act” – that’s something socialist nutters advocate and clearly you are one of their “useful idiots”.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          …is that what the voices are saying today?

          • Daniel Maris

            That’s typical of you socialist nutter Camerloons…trying to divert attention from your nefarious plans.

            • the viceroy’s gin

              …the voices are active today. Caffeine?

    • NotYouNotSure

      The most logical thing is for the rebels to use chemical weapons instead of Assad, they know about the red line, so does Assad, which of the two would have most to gain by using them ?

      If the rebels are guilty here, then would people like you be invoking the “red line” and asking for them to be bombed ? And if not why not ?

  • John

    In Syria, the government forces, now supported by a clear majority of the population by the way, are making steady progress in eliminating the rebels in Darayaa, Idlib province, Latakia province and both Aleppo and Damascus. Many of the original moderate rebels have returned to the government fold. Assad has made remarkable and completely unrecognised concessions to local democracy and autonomy which have changed the dynamics of the Syrian state.

    The great objective is now to isolate and then eliminate the Al Qaeda fanatics who control the area of Ar Raqqa and still operate in parts of Damascus and Aleppo.
    ( they have the Kurds on the eastern side of them and no change from them).

    Curious then, that as the government starts to gain the upper hand, that Cameron wants to start a war effectively to support Al Qaeda. There is a lot of evidence that Syria was deliberately destabilised by Western governments, including the British governemnt and the Americans via the CIA who delight in pursuing their own private foriegn policy.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      There’s a method to this madness, as much as I hate to acknowledge it. Al Qaeda is at war with Iran here, in Iranian-backed Syria. Grand strategy of the highest order says you should set a trap and let all your enemies kill each other in it. I don’t know if anybody involved here is actually smart enough to pull this off, so if it happens it had to be by accident.

      But the critical part of it is to stay out and leave your enemies to do what you want them to, what they want to do… kill each other.

      • Daniel Maris

        Socialist nutters of which you are clearly one always advocate mass slaughter.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          …actually, we smart folk allow you socialist nutters to do that, because it’s what you do always and best, as we know historically.

  • Gar5_1

    Flooding ALL & ONLY White countries with non-Whites and telling
    everyone to “assimilate” to create a “brown future” is White genocide.

    Africa will still be full of Africans.

    Asia will still be full of Asians.

    Only White children will suffer from this.

    Read the UN genocide conventions: It is GENOCIDE!

    Anti-racist is a codeword for anti-White.

  • Dogsnob

    As no-one in my government or those who are supposed to disseminate information, has bothered to give any kind of account of precisely what Assad’s regime is supposed to have done to start this whole business, it is impossible for us to make any kind of judgment.
    Why would Assad risk the opprobrium of the World though, by carrying out this latest atrocity? It is all very suspicious to me and we would be silly to buy into any knee-jerk accusation.

    • BoiledCabbage

      Putin wants sport, having seen the weakness of Obama in Benghazi and Egypt.

    • Andy

      Do you seriously think Assad gives a toss what the world thinks ??? He is fighting for his life. Unless he wins and keeps hold of power all that awaits is the hangmans noose.

      • Dogsnob

        But his fight to avoid the noose is the very reason he must pay heed. He has to win without drawing in any coalition outside force. Saddam didn’t give a toss and look how he ended up.
        That’s why it’s hard to believe Assad would be so daft as to do anything which would exchange his current fightable civil war, for an assured self-destruction by massively superior forces.

        • Andy

          Do you seriously expect that the West will go in and overthrow him ? Of course we wont because his Russian backers are standing by him. Saddam ended up on the gallows because he miscalculated: Assad wont because he has done his sums correctly. The West might lob a few cruise missiles in his general direction, do a bit of huffing and puffing, but that will not be enough to dislodge him. From his perspective gassing a few rebels – and the objective was not to kill thousands of them, merely to terrify them – was worth the chance.

          • Dogsnob

            Go in and overthrow, no.

            I think you are right with the missile lobbing scenario but in my view it will have more effect than you envisage. I think there’s a good chance the US (UK pitching in with a few token pieces of ordnance) will largely eliminate the weapon systems which have enabled Assad to keep a lid on the rebels so far; thus turning his tide, with the rebels doing the legwork, eventually getting to be the hangmen. I’m not in favour of any of it, but think it’s likely to go this way.

            I’m interested in your reference to the canny calculations Assad might have made, also I am puzzled as to why Russia so trenchantly defend Assad? Surely it’s no longer enough merely to back whoever the West confront? Genuinely I can’t figure out what Russia stands to gain?

            • Andy

              With respect I do not think lobbing a few missiles in will alter the Syrian game one way or another. Assad has fought the rebels to a standstill, but it is a bloody mess. The stalemate might result in Syria fragmenting along ethnic lines. Whether that would be a bad thing I wouldn’t like to say.

              To me – and I am in a minority – it seems certain that it was Assad wont done it. He may have calculated that gassing a few rebels was worth the candle. But he may not totally control the regime – he is not his father. I have read reports that that the brigade that is thought to have carried out the attack was commanded by the presidents brother, who is regarded as ruthless and a hothead.

              What does Russia gain ? Well there is Tartus which is probably important to the Russians. Also Assad is (nominally) a Socialist Dictatorship and was a client and ally of the old Soviet Union. The Russian government is deeply anti-western, but that is another topic.

              • Dogsnob

                What you say makes sense, especially the point that the Assad regime is much more than one man.
                I suppose my basic concern that this issue has highlighted, is that the people in charge of what we do, are not up to the job and will get eaten. The US is similar.

  • Augustus

    The West needs to think carefully if it wants to interfere militarily with the Syrian war. By proceeding to bomb Assad’s regime it will be acting as al-Qaida’s air force. And those Salafist jihadists would indeed greatly benefit from Western air raids on the Syrian army. But why should we have to clean up this mess? Let the Muslim countries resolve their religious wars by themselves.

  • Nick

    Britain’s broke….We spend millions on attacking Libya.
    Britain’s broke….We give millions in foreign aid.
    Britain’s broke…..We contemplate spending billions on HS2.
    Britain’s broke…..We give benefits to illegal immigrants.
    Britain’s broke…..We haven’t even got an aircraft carrier (and I mean one with jets)
    Britain’s broke……And brain dead Cameron wants to attack Syria…but we’re broke.
    What on this planet Earth am I f ing well missing?….Please someone tell me.

    • BoiledCabbage

      2015?

      • Nick

        Vote UKIP
        Vote UKIP
        Vote UKIP

    • NotYouNotSure

      Cameron is clearly a nobody on the world stage, but Americans think that by having him speak its “the international community” acting in unison.

      The reason I put international community in quotes, the countries asking for the bombing don’t even make up 20% of the worlds population, so its rather dishonest to call yourself international or community.

      • Nick

        Agreed and the UK and US governments will use Syria to take attention away from their own domestic problems.
        Both countries massively in debt but they want another expensive war….Marvelous.

    • HookesLaw

      You are missing a brain – you are certainty not using it to think

      • NotYouNotSure

        Thats an incredible argument, this is sure to swing everyone to your world view.

      • Nick

        If I’m missing a brain,how can I use it to think?
        Perhaps you’ll be happy in 6 months time with dead UK soldiers landing at the RAF base having been repatriated from Syria.
        Is that what you want,British soldiers dying for muslims?…..Again.

        • HookesLaw

          You are too self evident in proving my point.
          Where is Gadhaffi? Were British soldiers involved?

          http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-23830370
          ‘Thousands of Tunisians have rallied in front of the National Assembly in the capital Tunis calling for the Islamist-led government to resign.’
          Democracy as we understand it would never exist in these places if we sat back and did nothing.
          But I guess you and your fellow Aryans don’t care too much about the world beyond your front door.

          • Nick

            No but British RAF airman were involved and could have been shot down at anytime.And for what? For muslims who hate us?
            And good luck to the Tunisians rallying and calling for the Islamist government to resign…….And good luck to all muslims fighting for freedom and a better way of life.
            But there are plenty enough of them to achieve their goals and they don’t need western help or sacrificed UK servicemen’s lives to make it so.
            And please don’t bother me with your sanctimonious hand wringing comment about caring beyond my front door.That’s because I care too much about the population and well being of UK citizens first and foremost.

            • Rtd Colonel

              Seem to recall a mixed MI6/SAS Group being terribly exposed / captured by the ‘Freedom Fighters’ of Libya – could have been worse had most of those Benghazi Bad Boys (over 50% 0f foreign ‘Jihaddis’ recorded as comomg from that part of democratic Libya!) not been in Iraq at weddings or doing charity work – Hooky (Seem to remember he was awarded a VC at Rorkes Drift – the Irony)

              Hookey: F=kX

          • Colonel Mustard

            Not over yet. The blithering idiot Cameron is committing UK forces to international interventions and storing up further trouble for us here when he has neither the resources or money to do so.

            http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2353215/Hundreds-British-soldiers-deploy-Libya-months-train-army-battle-Al-Qaeda-extremists.html

            That man is the biggest fool who has ever set foot in No.10, worse even than Brown.

  • Russell

    What has Prime Minister Harper (of Canada) got to do with a conversation between Cameron and Obama?

  • Wilhelm

    ”Assad has got chemical weapons and he’s using them on his own people !!! ” Hmm, Now where have I heard that before ? That chemical attack is very suspect, staged by the muslims to put the blame on Assad, perhaps ?

  • Wilhelm

    Why is the British government sticking its nose into other peoples business where it’s not wanted ? isn’t it ironic that Putin is more in tune with the wishes of the Western Europeans peoples. Would we like it if Syria stuck its nose into our business, like say, when blacks rioted in London or northern Ireland ?

    China has invaded Tibet and it’s using mass immigration to subvert the Tibetan culture and people, from Stephen Fry and Cameron, not a cheep.

    • Wilhelm

      Talking of ‘ national treasure’ Stephen Fry, the poor mans Peter Ustinov, who elected him as Prime Minister in waiting ? look into his background, he isn’t British.

      • HookesLaw

        ‘Not even british’ … what a nasty bigoted racist tw’t you are.
        How is the grand wizard these days. How do you keep the bedsheets so white? Do you still keep the sjambok well oiled.

        What a pathetic miserable rag the Spectator has become to be the cesspit of choice for you lot.

        • Wilhelm

          Hooky my friend, what’s upsetting you now ?

  • Colonel Mustard

    This is entirely consistent with that blancmange-faced f***er’s knee-jerk, blown by the winds of trend, “something must be done” approach to government. And it is usually either something very trivial or something involving huge amounts of money (which we don’t have) spent on foreign affairs.

    Those clowns lecture everyone on how Labour maxed out the country’s credit card and then do precisely the same. We either have no money, in which case we can’t afford to go to war, Mr Cameron, or we do, in which case you should spend it making the lives of your own people less bloody miserable.

    This moron is prepared to sanction millions on air strikes in a war that doesn’t concern us whilst pensioners who have spent their whole lives working, playing by the rules and contributing to society can’t afford to heat their homes in winter.

    • Nick

      Colonel Mustard I salute you sir.Not only because I agree with what you say but also because of your comment….’that blancmange-faced f***er’s knee-jerk’.
      Try saying it when you’ve had a few down the local.

      • Colonel Mustard

        Thank you. It is an extraordinary face, of staggering vapidity and pinkness. Managing to convey arrogance, stupidity and petulance in about equal proportions whilst totally lacking strength and character. All of which have been amply demonstrated by his various “actions” since coming to office. The Bullingdon Club turned out to be the correct call for this useless pudding after all.

    • dalai guevara

      Who in their right mind would want to oppose this view and not challenge it?
      It deserves the top spot for not looking outward and to others, but inward.

  • Lady Magdalene

    This was reported back in January and was posted on the d’Ancona article in the DT today by someone called Barometer:

    http://in.news.yahoo.com/us-backed-plan-launch-chemical-weapon-attack-syria-045648224.html

    quote “The Obama administration gave green signal to a chemical weapons attack plan in Syria that could be blamed on President Bashar al Assad’s regime and in turn, spur international military action in the devastated country, leaked documents
    have shown. As per the scheme ‘Qatar would fund rebel forces in Syria to use
    chemical weapons’

    This is about all that remains of what was originally a story in the Daily Mail based on emails intercepted by a hacker. All trace of it has disappeared from the DM, of course.” end quote
    Why would Assad gas his own people, if he knew that it would result in a US attack?

    • the viceroy’s gin

      Yes, it would make absolutely no sense for Assad to gas civilians. That’s clear. Even a dolt like Call Me Dave should be able to understand that.

      Assad is destroying the rabble on the ground. The rabble control much of the country side, and are doing their islamofascist usual against Christians and other residents living there, but they can’t defeat the Syrian regulars in the remainder of the country, without outside help. Obama wants to be that outside help, apparently.

    • chan chan

      The DM has retracted that story after the company concerned sued them. Their legal firm, Carter Ruck, proved the emails were fakes. And if you read the mails, you would wonder why they had to go to that expense. The fake mails were pathetic.

  • Austin Barry

    Just let both sides in Syria get on with it. Why should we, the despised Infidel world, help these murderous savages?

  • dalai guevara

    The images coming in have been truly shocking. Desperation is shaping all actions on the ground. How can we stay out of this but help resolve the matter at the same time?

    • the viceroy’s gin

      There have been no “shocking” images coming in, unless you have been living in a cave for a century or so. In your case, that’s a possibility.

      You don’t know what’s shaping anything on the ground, no matter your fantasies.

      Your third statement is typical leftist stupidity. Read it over about ten times, and see if it helps you unstupid yourself. In fact, carve it into a stout oaken club, then hit yourself over the head a few good whacks. That might knock some sense into you.

      • dalai guevara

        What fantasy?
        You cannot fake 1000+ bodies in a morgue with no bullet holes to the chest.
        Where did I assert WHO was to blame?

        • the viceroy’s gin

          You assert stupidity, lad.

    • chan chan

      The images are not shocking. Just business as usual in the retarded zoo that is the middle east.

      • dalai guevara

        gas is gas
        fracking is fracking
        note the difference
        the question remains who used the technology available to them

        • chan chan

          But it still isn’t shocking. If you paid any attention to the middle east to any depth, this is par for the course.

          • dalai guevara

            Mate, I have worn gas masks in my lifetime, many times – and it wasn’t because I was sanding my floorboards at home, ok?

            I know propaganda when I see it. This will turn out to be real.

            • the viceroy’s gin

              …and it still won’t be shocking, to anybody but you lefty muppets.

              • dalai guevara

                1000+ bodies with no bullet holes cannot be made up. they either exist, or they don’t

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …and it isn’t shocking, to anybody but you lefty muppets.

  • Hexhamgeezer

    We sure are enjoying the fruits of BHOs ‘Dhimmi Dividend’ after his Al-Azhar speech.

  • @PhilKean1

    When even the Iranian’s feel confident enough –

    – to threaten America not to cross THEIR red line – and with David Cameron, voluntarily disarmed, impotent, puny, a laughing stock and frightened to make the slightest move without the backing of a properly armed America – I suggest that he should resist the need to demonstrate his humanitarian credentials, keep quiet, and set to the task of preventing what is happening in the Arab states – happening in Britain, when the electorate finally realise they have lost all power to choose – and remove – those who seek to Govern them.

  • alabenn

    Two Eunuchs talk on the phone and the World shivers, what a crock of cr”p nothing will happen, why should it. this is a face saving exercise by a couple of weak leaders who have not even marched their men to the top of the hill yet.

    • Hexhamgeezer

      Not a single serviceman or woman’s life should be wasted in that nest of vipers. Whether it is Bosnia, Afghanistan or Libya we are held in contempt regardless by !$lam.

      The true tragedy here is the long slow ethnic cleansing of ancient Christian communities throughout that region not that folk would know about that thanks to Al-Beeb – now THAT is something worth involving the UN and threatening and fighting the death cult about.

  • D T

    Those islamists fanatics are capable of everything. We all notice that in this alleged attack the victims were all civilians and not a single rebel!!!!!!!!! Whats the use of this attack for the rejime????? Nothing only damage……. In Khan Al Assal the islamists used chemicals which prove that they have them and used again in the past…..the conclusions are yours…..As for the access to UN, how can someone guarantee their safety in an area under extremists control?????? If something happen to them who is going to be blamed again……The army is conducting an operation to secure that area the soon as possible in order to grand access to everybody needed….

    • Andy

      I doubt it was anyone but Assad.

      • D T

        The UN took permission from Syrian government to work on the site covering them by ceasefire in the area. I think we are going to know pretty soon all the truth.

      • D T

        News are rolling…..AFP reports that access granted by the Syrian government is not credible, as US tell us!!!!!!!

    • The Laughing Cavalier

      You’ll be telling us next that the Israelis gave the gas to Al Qaeda.

      • Andy

        Obviously must watch George Galloway on PressTV.

      • D T

        No i will not. The sarin and other nerve gases are not a privilege of Israel. Syrian Army have it in the depos. Nobody knows exactly where the jihadists find it but this will be the task of the ongoing investigation. The Khan Al Assal case is sawing however from reports that the missile they use was not standard……

  • Mynydd

    At the moment it’s not known who is responsible for the chemical attack. There are two possibilities; Assad or the rebels. If Assad, what action can Mr Cameron/Hague take other than declaring war on Syria? If the rebels, what action can Mr Cameron/Hague take or none. If these questions, especially the second one, are not answered it’s once again just talk by Mr Cameron/Hague, or, they will look to blame someone else for the inaction.

    • D T

      As Daniel writing we left the Christian population in the middle and nobody cares about them. What are we doing to protect them???? We only care about the islamists and their rights…..In Egypt people and the army (first time in the recent history of the area) join forces!!!! in order to oust Morsi and the criminal brotherhood……in Syria what is the reason to support them????? The thing is going to develop bad for the West and nobody of those ignorant fanatics will say thank you…..Look at Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq and so many places……All these countries are back day by day to ground zero after costly interventions…..

  • Daniel Maris

    The game played by the West in Syria has been appalling.

    We should never have encouraged the militant Muslims. By doing so we have created the conditions for mass casualties, the wipe-out of the Christian communities and complete destabilisation of the Middle East, leading potentially to war involving WMD – which could poison the whole planet, not just the Middle East.

    As long as we refuse to recognise that the principles of Sharia need to be opposed firmly here and across the planet and real democrats given meaningful aid, policy disasters like this will continue to happen.

    • http://owsblog.blogspot.com Span Ows

      Well said. From practically day one of this conflict the Christian community there were in favour of Assad because they knew/know what is in store for them if he fails. The other point is Assad has no need for the use of these chemical agents, only the rebels and/or the West have a reason to use them (force Obama’s red line)

      • D T

        And i also hate these declarations and comments everyday……They are running more than the speed of light to conclude and say something like attending a rase especially UK and France ministers….Every single thing to convince us that the jihadists are the good guys and not the ”machete” case……..for GOD sake….

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