Military action against Syria is looking more and more likely as the Obama Administration canvasses allies for support.
The White House and Secretary of State John Kerry are making it clear they believe the Assad government is using chemical weapons and are weighing the military options the U.S. could take in response.
Making the case for taking action against Syria, Secretary Kerry says, "President Obama believes there must be accountability for those who would use the world's most dangerous weapons."
“If the president gives the order, a senior defense official says four Navy destroyers in the Mediterranean Sea could execute a mission within hours. U.S. and British submarines are also likely nearby, all armed with cruise missiles,” Lawrence says.
Tomahawk missiles can be launched from 500 miles away, with an ability to change course mid-flight. Its potential targets include: Syria’s delivery systems that can be used to launch weapons, militia training camps being run by Bashar al-Assad, and the Syrian government's command and control centers.
These military options are not intended to overthrow Assad's government, but to send a message and deter any further use of chemical weapons, which is President Obama's "red line."
As Council on Foreign Relations President Richard Haas says, "Any time you throw down the diplomatic gauntlet, your words have repercussions.” Now the president is under pressure to keep his word on his red line ultimatum.
Daily Beast Senior Political Writer and senior fellow at the New America Foundation Peter Beinart believes the U.S. will likely make an airstrike through a coalition with Britain, France and Germany.
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Russia meanwhile said Tuesday morning it's warning the U.S. of catastrophic consequences if it strikes Syria. Lawrence reports that the U.S. has since canceled a meeting with Russia on Syria and the time frame of all of these strikes have to be weighed against the president's supposed visit to Russia next month.
Beinart thinks Russia’s warning won't stop the U.S. from responding with a military strike.
“My guess would be that we're trying to send a message to the Russians, look, this is going to be a limited strike. We're not trying to necessarily overthrow Assad, and that will lead their response to not be that severe.”
Follow along at CNN.com for developments.