After provoking Syria's contempt the past couple of days and inciting global market angst, the U.S. now seemed to dilly-dally whether to carry out or not its military strike threat against the Western Asian country over its alleged use of chemical weapons. On Wednesday, President Barack Obama said he has yet to make up his mind on pressing the strike button.
Syrian authorities led by President Bashar Assad and its ally nations led by nuclear-hot Iran have made it clear from the start that they will not back out from a U.S. strike and will launch corresponding retaliatory attacks to U.S.-ally nations, beginning with Israel.
"I have not made a decision," Mr Obama told PBS NewsHour. "I have gotten options from our military, had extensive discussions with my national security team."
"I have not made a decision, but I think it's important that if, in fact, we make a choice to have repercussions for the use of chemical weapons, then the Assad regime, which is involved in a civil war, trying to protect itself, will have received a pretty strong signal that in fact, it better not do it again," he said. "And that doesn't solve all the problems inside of Syria, and you know, it doesn't, obviously, end the death of innocent civilians inside of Syria."
On Wednesday, Lakhdar Brahimi, U.N.'s special envoy to Syria, somewhat confirmed that indeed a "chemical substance" has been used to blast Damascus on Aug. 21 which claimed the lives of hundreds of people in the Syrian capital.
"With what has happened on the 21st of August last week, it does seem that some kind of substance was used that killed a lot of people: hundreds, definitely more than a hundred, some people say 300, some people say 600, maybe 1,000, maybe more than 1,000 people," Mr Brahimi told reporters in Geneva.
But such evidence remain inconclusive. Ban Ki-moon, U.N. Secretary-General noted the U.N.'s team still "needs time to do its job" on the ground.
Despite the U.S., France and Britain gearing up to strike against Syria, Mr Brahimi reminded that "international law says that any U.S.-led military action must be taken after" agreement in the U.N. Security Council.
Syria has been caught up in a civil war against Mr Assad and the neo-Ba'athist government since March 2011. An alternative government formed by the opposition umbrella group Syrian National Coalition was formed in March 2012 and is the one recognized by several nations including the United States, United Kingdom and France.
The verbal tussle between the U.S. and Syria, however, has agitated Israel to round up and prepare its own army battalion.
Israel Gears Up
On Wednesday, Israel roused up the alarm, calling on its "hundreds" of reservists to prepare for an imminent battle with Syria, even as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu struggled to maintain the peace and order amid the panicking Israelis.
"There is no reason to change daily routines," PM Netanyahu said in a statement. "We are prepared for any scenario. The IDF is ready to defend against any threat and to respond strongly against any attempt to harm Israeli citizens."
Israeli citizens have bombarded distribution networks that hand out gas masks in preparation for a chemical attack from Syria.
According to a report by the Jerusalem Post, Israel had likewise started deploying all of its missile defenses, including the short-range Iron Dome, the mid-range Patriot and the long-range Arrow II. It is not known exactly how many air defense batteries were mobilized.
Facebook Global Movement
Elsewhere, global citizens have also sounded the panic button, fearful of a chaotic WW3 doomsday scenario.
A global "No War With Syria Rally" has been created and organized in an attempt to pressure the U.S. and its allies to cancel any military strike plans against Syria.
The global movement has been set for Aug 31 in every city and town in the world.
World Fears Iran
Global analysts warned a military strike against Syria and the resulting retaliatory attacks could herald doomsday in all four corners of the world.
"When we keep an eye on Syria we need to keep an eye on the security of shipping, especially the shipping of oil in the straits," Ariel Cohen, a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, was quoted by USA Today.
More than Syria, analysts fear Iran and what it can do.
For one, Iran could anytime shut close the Straits of Hormuz, the narrow Persian Gulf passage where 20 percent of the world's petroleum supply passes, Mr Cohen said.
Iran can also attack the other Arab states allied with the U.S. such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan, which happen to be the world's suppliers of petroleum.
To recall, during the 1980's Iran-Iraq war, Iran targeted oil tankers carrying Iraq's oil. And with the advancement of technology, Iran can threaten maritime traffic in the Gulf with its multiple military platforms, including hard-to-detect mini-submarines and small, high-speed patrol boats.
"Iran is a huge threat," Mr Cohen said.
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