The Associated Press reports: President Barack Obama on Friday played down the prospect of speedy U.S. intervention in Syria, stressing the difficulty of ordering military action against the Assad government without a strong international coalition and a legal mandate from the United Nations.
While his administration weighed military responses to this week’s claims of a large-scale chemical weapons attack near Damascus, Obama spoke as cautiously as ever about getting involved in a war that has killed more than 100,000 people and now includes Hezbollah and al-Qaida.
He made no mention of the “red line” of chemical weapons use which he marked out for Syrian President Bashar Assad a year ago and which U.S. intelligence says has been breached at least on a small scale several times since.
“If the U.S. goes in and attacks another country without a U.N. mandate and without clear evidence that can be presented, then there are questions in terms of whether international law supports it — do we have the coalition to make it work?” Obama said Friday. “Those are considerations that we have to take into account.”