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The pending conflict in Syria seems to be based off of the Syrian Regime having crossed a "red line" by allegedly using chemical weapons.

I had originally assumed that this "red line" was a long standing policy, but reports from various news sources suggest that it is a lot more recent than I had originally assumed.

My question is:

When did the red line get established?

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On August 20, 2012, President Obama said in a White House Press Briefing:

"We cannot have a situation where chemical or biological weapons are falling into the hands of the wrong people," Obama told reporters at the White House. "We have been very clear to the Assad regime -- but also to other players on the ground -- that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. "That would change my calculus; that would change my equation."

On September 4, 2013, he back-tracked a little, saying that the red line is not his but rather an international consensus. This statement was made in Sweden. He said:

"I didn't set a red line. The world set a red line."

  • Wouldn't it then also be accurate to say that the red line was drawn by the chemical weapons convention? – Avi Jun 4 '14 at 11:05

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