The Atlantic

Assad Defies Another American President

The Syrian strongman saw the red line on sarin as a green light to do everything else.
Source: Omar Sanadiki / Reuters

Nearly one year ago exactly, American cruise missiles rained down on a Syrian airbase from which a deadly chemical attack had been launched against defenseless civilians. Now, one year later, mass murder and military reprisal appear again as exclamation points in a seven-year horror story of civilian suffering, state failure, and diplomatic malpractice. Once again, an American president has drawn a line and watched a brutal mass murderer cross it. Now he ponders what to do, knowing that what happens in Syria never stays there—that the conflict and its repercussions simply will not be contained.

If initial reports prove accurate, Bashar al-Assad, the president of Syria, “some major decisions” on Syria over the next 24 to 48 hours.

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