Speaking at a summit meeting with Swedish prime minister Fredrick Reinfeldt, President Barack Obama denied that he had set a so-called 'red line' that, when crossed by Syria in its prosecution of fighting insurgent forces arrayed against the government, would require a military response. In April 2013, Obama told a White House press conference that a "red line for us would be when we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized."
However, during a September 4 press conference in Oslo, Obama changed his tune after admitting that he is seeking international support for a strike on Syria. "First of all, I didn't set a red line," said Obama. "The world set a red line. The world set a red line when governments representing 98 percent of the world's population said the use of chemical weapons are [inaudble] and passed a treaty forbidding their use, even when countries are engaged in war."
Congress set a red line when it ratified that treaty. Congress set a red line when it indicated that in a piece of legislation entitled the Syria Accountability Act that some of the horrendous things happening on the ground there need to be answered for. So, when I said in a press conference that my calculus about what's happening in Syria would be altered by the use of chemical weapons, which the overwhelming consensus of humanity says is wrong, that wasn't something I just kind of made up. I didn't pluck it out of thin air. There's a reason for it."
Denying that his policies have failed, Obama said at the presser ""My credibility is not on the line. The international community's credibility is on the line," adding,
"America and Congress' credibility is on the line, because we give lip service to the notion that these international norms are important."