Syria and chemical weapons: Words you don't want to hear in the same sentence, but ones that are once again making headlines. The New York Times reports that the regime appears to be moving its chemical weapons again, according to intelligence out of Syria. But the most recent reports go beyond the straightforward transport of arms, with a US official describing the activity as suggestive of "some potential chemical weapon preparation." US officials wouldn't say whether Syria is nearing the "red line" Obama set in August, but Hillary Clinton trotted out the phrase again today, reports the Washington Post.
"This is a red line for the United States," she declared, reiterating that "we are certainly planning to take action" should the US obtain proof that Bashar al-Assad has deployed his chemical weapons. Meanwhile, the Guardian yesterday reported that it spoke with Turkish officials who explained that their country's desire to line the border with Patriot missiles stemmed from what the paper calls "credible evidence" that if Assad is unable to overcome the rebels using air power, he will turn to "missiles, perhaps with chemical warheads." It notes that the Free Syrian Army has had recent success in downing regime aircraft. The Pentagon last month reported that it would require 75,000 troops to secure Syria's chemical stockpiles.