Hagel: All Options Open in Syria

During a joint press briefing in the Pentagon last week, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and his British counterpart Philip Hammond reaffirmed that the irrefutable use of chemical weapons by the regime of Bashar al Assad in Syria’s civil war would have consequences for the regime. Such use would have “a price,” stated Hammond during the May 2 briefing. “I hope we’re sending a message that will have a deterrent effect,” he said. Hagel also said arming the opposition elements fighting Assad’s forces is an option. “These are options that must be considered with [international partners]. We have a responsibility . . . to continue to evaluate options. It doesn’t mean that [President Obama] has decided on anything,” said Hagel. Our objectives are “stopping the violence,” providing “stability in the region,” and helping transition “Syria to a democracy,” he said. “The Syrian regime must end the violence, stop the slaughter of its own people, and recognize that it is no longer the legitimate representative of the Syrian people,” said Hammond. (Hagel-Hammond transcript) (See also The Not-So-Red Red Line in Syria.)