Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez said Thursday that reports that forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad have likely used chemical weapons on their own people means the United States could pressure the United Nations to impose sanctions against the Middle East country, including imposing a “no-fly” zone.
“The disclosure today is incredibly important because it changes the dynamics of what are the policy options for the United States,” the New Jersey Democrat told MSNBC.
But Mr. Menendez warned that the U.S. must have an airtight case before going to U.N. Security Council to ask for sanctions, noting the White House doesn’t want to make the same mistake made by the administration of George W. Bush when it accused the Iranian government of harboring weapons of mass destruction.
“The one thing I think the administration is trying to do here (is determine) … what was the chain of custody, how was it used, and so that if we can nail that down you can go to the Security Council and seek the type of international support that I think that we want and would desire in future actions against the Assad regime,” he said.
The senator added that if the reports are true, “it just ratchets up the options that we must consider,” which include including seeking an international no-fly zone over Syria.