The New York Times reports: The leaders of the Arab world on Tuesday blamed the Syrian government for a chemical weapons attack that killed hundreds of people last week, but declined to back a retaliatory military strike, leaving President Obama without the broad regional support he had for his last military intervention in the Middle East, in Libya in 2011.
While the Obama administration has robust European backing and more muted Arab support for a strike on Syria, the position of the Arab League and the unlikelihood of securing authorization from the United Nations Security Council complicate the legal and diplomatic case for the White House.
The White House said Tuesday that there was “no doubt” that President Bashar al-Assad’s government was responsible for the chemical weapons attack — an assessment shared by Britain, France and other allies — but it has yet to make clear if it has any intelligence directly linking Mr. Assad to the attack. The administration said it planned to provide intelligence on the attack later this week.
As Mr. Obama sought to shore up international support for military action, telephoning Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain, administration officials said they did not regard the lack of an imprimatur from the Security Council or the Arab League as insurmountable hurdles, given the carnage last week. [Continue reading…]