President Obama warned Syrian President Bashar Assad on Monday not to employ chemical weapons against opposition forces in Syria’s civil war. “Today, I want to make it absolutely clear to Assad and those under his command: The world is watching. The use of chemical weapons is and would be totally unacceptable,” stated Obama in remarks in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 3. He added, “If you make the tragic mistake of using these weapons, there will be consequences and you will be held accountable.” The President spoke at a symposium celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction initiative. US intelligence has detected Assad forces moving chemical weapons components in recent days, reported the Associated Press (via Time Magazine). Also on Monday, State Secretary Hillary Clinton issued a warning to the Syrians. “We have made our views very clear. This is a red line for the United States,” she said in Prague during a press briefing with Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg. Clinton added, “Suffice it to say, we are certainly planning to take action” if Assad uses chemical weapons. (Clinton-Schwarzenberg transcript) (See also AFPS report by Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.)
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.