While the main international organisations with which
is most closely associated have all condemned the use of chemical weapons in , there is
no consensus yet on what should be done about it and little support for President
Obama’s call for military intervention. Syria
NATO and the European Union believe the Syrian government was responsible for the chemical weapons attack near
must be censured in some way, but neither body has fully spelt out how. The Damascus and is adamant that military
action would be “futile” and should be ruled out in favour of diplomacy. Vatican
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen insists that a firm international reaction is needed to show not only President Bashar al-Assad, but also dictators around the world, that such weapons cannot be used with impunity.
“It would send a dangerous signal to dictators all over the world if we stand idly by and don’t react,” said Rasmussen.
NATO, of which Portugal is a founder member, has stopped short of offering to get involved militarily, at least for now. It would, however, strongly defend
if this member state were attacked in any widening of the Syrian conflict. Turkey
On President Obama’s call for a punitive military strike, Rasmussen said,” I’d envisage a very short, measured, targeted operation, and you don’t need the NATO command and control system to conduct such an operation.”
EU defence ministers meeting in the Baltic state of
agreed that the evidence
presented so far indicates that the Assad regime was behind last month’s
chemical weapons attack on his own people. The ministers agreed that
“those responsible must be held accountable” and tried by the International
Criminal Court, but there was no mutual support for military action. Lithuania
The French government is the most hawkish and the only European country likely to materially back any American strike, even though polls show that the majority of the French people would oppose it.
view is unequivocal. Pope Francis wants an end to the “senseless massacre” of
innocent people in Vatican .
He has called for a negotiated diplomatic settlement to the prevailing “one-sided
interests.” The Syria
insists the main priority should be to stop the current violence that risks
involving other countries and creating “unforeseeable consequences in various
parts of the world.” Vatican
An opinion poll conducted before last month’s chemical weapons attack indicated that 80 per cent of Portuguese respondents rejected military action in
. Almost three-quarters of all
Europeans and 62 per cent of Americans questioned in the survey said their
government should not intervene in the Syrian civil war. Syria
Portugal, like other NATO, EU and Catholic countries believes that Syria’s flagrant breach of international law banning chemical weapons must be condemned, but it is concerned that a military strike may jeopardise the prospects for peace and make any United Nations Security Council resolution all the more difficult.
The Iranian government has said a foreign military response could turn the civil war in
a regional conflict. Intelligence reports indicate that Iranian-backed Shiite
militias are threatening retaliation inside Syria Iraq
should the US strike . Syria
The pro-Assad Hezbollah militant group in
has reportedly put “tens of thousands” of fighters and reservists on alert in
anticipation of a
strike. A Hezbollah response to US US
action could involve . Israel
In the meantime, confused and divided Syrians of all religious and political persuasions are reportedly trying to prepare for some sort of US intervention but do not know what President Obama means by a “limited” attack and what consequences it could have.