John Kerry says he has "high confidence" in US intelligence reports that Syria used chemical weapons. Vladimir Putin has two much different words on the subject: "utter nonsense." The Russian leader used the phrase in urging the US to hold off on any military action until the UN has completed its investigation, reports the BBC. The clock is ticking on that: UN inspectors left Syria today and will brief Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, but their full report to the Security Council might take a week or so to complete, reports CNN.
Kerry and Obama have suggested that the US won't wait that long, in part because the UN inspectors are charged only with determining whether chemical weapons were used, not who employed them. The US says it already is sure that Bashar al-Assad is the culprit. Putin, though, told reporters that it would have been foolish for Assad to order the Aug. 21 attack because his troops have the upper hand in the war. "In these conditions, to give a trump card to those who are calling for a military intervention is utter nonsense."