Top news: As Western nations grindingly move toward taking military action against Syria, Britain said it will present a resolution to the Security Council that would authorize "necessary measures to protect civilians," a diplomatic move likely to define the coalition of states willing to strike against Sryia.
Though the Security Council measure is unlikely to pass, the United States appears headed toward some form of military action against Syria, though the exact nature of those plans remain unclear. In retaliation for the use of chemical weapons, the United States is likely to launch missile strikes in what Obama administration officials describe as a "limited" action intended to "deter and degrade" the Assad regimes ability to use their chemical weapons stocks. On Tuesday, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf emphasized that missile strikes would not be launched with the goal of regime change.
But as the United States plots its move against Syria, regional tensions are heating up, and Syria's neighbors show no willingness to enthusiastically back a U.S. strike. On Tuesday, the Arab League condemned Assad's use of chemical weapons but declined to back military action in retaliation for the attack on a suburb east of Damascus thought to have killed as many as 1,000 people. The Arab League's decision leaves President Obama without the regional backing he might have used to legitimize military action in the absence of a Security Council resolution. Meanwhile, Iran, which has aggressively backed the Assad regime with guns and money, pledged to launch retaliatory strikes against Israel if the United States launches a strike against Syria.
Amid concern for a coming strike, global markets are down and the price of oil has jumped.
FP Exclusive: Shortly after last week's chemical weapons strike east of Damascus, U.S. intelligence agencies intercepted a phone call between a panicking Syrian Defense Ministry official and the commander of a chemical weapons unit. That call is partly why American officials are certain the Assad regime is responsible for carrying out the attack.
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