The US president added that he had no doubt that chemical weapons were used by the Syrian regime, not the rebels, saying that for violating international norms and human decency, Assad “should be held accountable.”
At the same time, the White House suddenly appeared Wednesday night to be engaging in maneuvers for
One such maneuver was a leak from White House sources about a delay in releasing to America and the world the promised evidence of Assad’s culpability in the use of chemical weapons against the Syrian people. It was postponed because “the report was not yet ready.”
Another were grumbles from the president’s circle that President Obama had found himself jammed in an awkward timeline generated by his
This left the optimal dates for his decision to go through with the attack as Friday night, early Saturday, Aug. 31 or after Labor Day, which falls on Sept. 2.
Although Obama appeared still to be standing by that decision, debkafile’s Washington and Moscow sources disclose he has applied the brakes on the momentum for its implemention to buy time for US Secretary of State John Kerry to wind up secret negotiations with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and strike a deal: The US would soften its military action against the Assad regime and his army and reduce it to a token blow, after which the American and Russian presidents would announce the convening of Geneva-2 to hammer out a solution of the Syrian crisis and end the civil war.
The Kerry-Lavrov back channel has not yet achieved results and so, Thursday, the fate of the US strike on Syria was still highly fluid and its timeline changeable.