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US not to jump the gun on Syria: Biden

(AFP) / 10 May 2013

The Obama ad-ministration is treading cautiously on Syria after what it sees as Washington’s past errors in the Iraq invasion and occupation, Vice-President Joe Biden said.

Insisting that President Barack Obama and his team had helped restore America’s image in the world, Biden told Rolling Stone magazine in an interview published on Thursday that “we don’t want to blow it like the last administration did in Iraq, saying ‘weapons of mass destruction.’'

Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction, cited by George W. Bush’s administration as the main motive to launch the US-led invasion in 2003, never surfaced after the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime.

The US government cited for the first time two weeks ago the Syrian regime’s possible use of chemical weapons against its own people, but Obama stressed that there was insufficient proof to determine whether a “red line” had been crossed.

“We know that there have been traces found of what are probably chemical weapons,” Biden said. “What we don’t know yet — and we’re drilling down on it as hard as we can — is whether they were accidentally released in an exchange of gunfire or artillery fire, or blown up or something.”

He also stressed that it remained unclear who owned the weapons and used them at which point in time.


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