Pentagon officials are assessing their strategic options. According to an unnamed DOD source:
"The more information and intelligence you have, the more clarity you can bring to options you may decide to use. You would expect new information like this to drive an update of options."
Everything is on the table. Implied is full-scale intervention looms.
On December 9, Voice of Russia (VoR) interviewed Carnegie Moscow Center director Dmitry Trenin.
He thinks Washington considers two ways to oust Assad: politically by recognizing and supporting Syrian opposition elements and/or direct intervention.
Deploying Patriot missiles is an aggressive step. They afford no-fly zone cover over border areas. They also provide safe haven protection for miles within them.
A "liberated enclave can be created in the north of Syria and that enclave could become the (liberated) territory (to) host a provisional government or (an area) where they would be able to form a government," said Trenin.
Doing so "change(s) things on the ground pretty seriously." Ousting Assad forcibly would follow. Obama won't tolerate stalemate much longer.
It's very possible or likely he'll preemptively target alleged chemical weapon sites. Doing so "would constitute direct military intervention."
Trenin thinks Obama perhaps decided to do so. Libya 2.0 may follow. He calls what's ongoing and forthcoming a "really-really grim picture."
Direct intervention may be nearer than he envisions. VoR said oriental studies expert Boris Dolgov thinks Syrian opposition forces "might get hold of (chemical weapons), use them in small quantities, and put the blame on government troops."
Doing so "would serve as a good pretext for the US to intervene."
Institute of Strategic Studies and Analysis expert Sergei Demidenko said Ankara put itself in the position of "(v)ictory or death. It is set on supporting militants for the purpose of overthrowing the Syrian regime. It's a great mistake."
Publicly, Russia holds out hope for diplomacy. Privately it knows that full-scale war looms. How it plans react remains unclear.
It has much to lose by inaction. Putin at times shows resolve. He sharply criticizes US imperialism. It's time for him to step up to the plate assertively. Words without follow-through ring hollow. His moment of truth is now.
On December 8, Mossad-connected DEBKAfile (DF) headlined "Assad's last warning to rebels before using chemical weapons. West, Israel on high preparedness."