In another sign that President Barack Obama is determined to make war on Syria, United Nations weapons experts who collected samples left by the August 21 alleged chemical weapons attack on the outskirts of Damascus have left the Mideast country. Hours before the White House announced that Obama was to address the American people about his war plans on August 31, the U.N. experts left for the Netherlands. Obama has promised an otherwise unspecified “limited and narrow” military action against the government of Syria, which is led by President Bashr Al Assad.
Heads of state and various religious leaders have urged the United States not to take military action against Syria, while some detractors theorize that Obama would be effectively aligning himself with the Al Qaeda terrorist organization that is attempting to overthrow Assad.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, Assad’s main ally, has denounced the forthcoming military action and implied that the chemical attack, which killed more than 1,000 Syrians, was actually the work of anti-Assad rebels. The British parliament, in a signal defeat for Prime Minister David Cameron, refused to confirm his request to go to war, while neither Canada or Germany will join in the affray.
Assad’s armed opponents, which include Al Qaeda-affiliated militants, and those affiliated with Hamas, have announced plans to step up their offensive should the U.S. strike Syria. "Zero hour begins the moment the first missile is fired," said Qassem Saadeddine, a senior rebel commander for the rebels' Supreme Military Council. "As the (U.S.) strikes gets under way, we will launch attacks against military airports, command centers, missile bases and military checkpoints," said Qassem Saadeddine, a former Syrian army colonel told The Associated Press.
The White House announced that Obama would address the nation at 1:15 ET, but was delayed without notiice.