(ONLINE.WSJ) — Arab leaders said Tuesday that Syria had used chemical weapons against its population while Western governments discussed military responses to the attacks, bolstering the case for U.S. military strikes against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The Arab League demanded an international response to what it called the “heinous crime” of last week’s alleged chemical attack near Damascus that activists and rebels said left more than 1,000 Syrians dead. But the U.S.’s major Arab allies have stopped short of offering public support for a strike without international backing, reflecting broad unease in the region about another Western military intervention.
This suggests the U.S. would face no opposition from regional allies if things go smoothly, and leaves Arab governments with political cover if things go badly.
“Don’t expect a big cheer from us,” said Abdulkhaleq Abdullah, a political-science professor in Dubai, of the likely response from the region. “If the results are fine, and the damage is very limited, I think that is gonna be a good sign. Maybe, ‘Wow, give America a D.’ ”
Meanwhile, French, U.K. and U.S. military officials held talks about coordinating their response to the alleged attacks.