August 26, 2013 (TSR) – Former US Secretary of State Colin Powell, who made the case at the United Nations about Saddam Hussein’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq which lead to invasion, has warned US administration to stay away from the conflict in Syria and not take any sides.
Speaking on CBS News on Sunday, Powell said the situation in Syria was beyond the capability of the US to influence to any significant extent as Washington has recently ratcheted up its war rhetoric on Damascus.
“We shouldn’t go around thinking that we can really make things happen,” said Powell.
“What do they represent? And is it becoming even more radicalized with more al-Qaeda coming in? And what would it look like if they prevailed and Assad went? I don’t know,” he said.
Powell’s remarks come after US officials ratcheted up their war rhetoric on Syria following conflicting reports of an alleged chemical attack which the Syrian foreign-backed opposition was quick to blame on the Syrian army.
The Syrian government and the army categorically rejected the allegation, saying the militants had carried out the attack and it was not their first time.
On Sunday, US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said the Pentagon has prepared “options for all contingencies” in Syria and is ready to use force if President Barack Obama gives the green-light.
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama met with his national security team at the White House early on Saturday to discuss reports of the chemical attack in Syria and elaborate on a response.
The US Navy is also pre-positioning four destroyers in the eastern Mediterranean Sea and is moving its forces closer to Syria in anticipation of a possible order for airstrikes by President Obama.
The Syrian Foreign Ministry announced on Sunday that Damascus has given the green light to the UN team of chemical weapons inspectors to investigate the site of the alleged chemical attack and the UN team should start its investigation from Monday.
Despite killing of at least 100,000 people in the massive foreign-backed insurgency in Syria, US had withheld a military intervention which they claim could be solution to the crisis, until a chemical attack was carried out, if any.
Pentagon has moved its naval forces closer to Syria and its chief Chuck Hagel has been affirming readiness to act on Obama’s command.
The war in Syria started in March 2011, when pro-reform protests turned into a massive insurgency following the intervention of Western and regional states.