Syria – Obama Hell-bent On Creating Hell…writes David Singer

September 9, 2013 by David Singer
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President Obama has lost a golden opportunity at the G20 Summit in St Petersburg to step back from undertaking a military assault on Syria – that promises to create hell for Syria’s civilian population and to unleash consequences that can extend far beyond Syria’s borders.

At his press conference held after the Summit – President Obama warned:

“Syria’s escalating use of chemical weapons threatens its neighbors, Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Israel. It threatens to further destabilize the Middle East. It increases the risk that these weapons will fall into the hands of terrorist groups. But more broadly, it threatens to unravel the international norm against chemical weapons embraced by 189 nations,, and those nations represent 98 percent of the world’s people.”

President Obama revealed there had been the following unanimity among all G20 members:

“It was unanimous that chemical weapons were used, a unanimous conclusion that chemical weapons were used in Syria. There was a unanimous view that the norm against using chemical weapons has to be maintained. That these weapons were banned for a reason and that the international community has to take those norms seriously.”

Given such unanimity – why were the G20 participants not able to agree on an international response to ending the use of chemical weapons in Syria with the authority of a United Nations Security Council Resolution to provide the international legitimacy for any such proposed action?

Their failure to do so was apparently due to President Obama and President Putin of Russia continuing to lock horns on their different views as to who was responsible for using such  chemical weapons in Syria – rather than seeking constructive ways to get chemical weapons out of Syria to prevent their future use in the ongoing 30 months conflict that has so far defied international attempts at resolution.

President Obama made this diplomatic deadlock very clear when referring to his “candid and constructive conversation” with President Putin held on the sidelines of the plenary session:

“And on Syria, I said, listen, I don’t expect us to agree on this issue of chemical weapons use. Although it is possible that after the U.N. inspectors’ report, it may be more difficult for Mr. Putin to maintain his current position about the evidence.” (That the chemical weapons were used by the rebels – not by the Assad regime – editor)

President Obama sought to assure the world that his military response would be limited:

“And our response, based on my discussions with our military, is that we can have a response that is limited, that is proportional, that when I say limited, it’s both in time and in scope, but that is meaningful and that degrades Assad’s capacity to deliver chemical weapons, not just this time, but also in the future, and serves as a strong deterrent.”

With respect – no one could possibly predict the attainment of these objectives with any degree of confidence or accuracy – as the President himself confessed:

“Now, is it possible that Assad doubles down in the face of our action and uses chemical weapons more widely? I suppose anything’s possible, but it wouldn’t be wise. I think, at that point, mobilizing the international community would be easier, not harder. I think it would be pretty hard for the U.N. Security Council at that point to continue to resist the requirement for action, and we would gladly join with an international coalition to make sure that it stops.”

Only concerted international action under United Nations Mandate to enforce the removal of such chemical weapons from Syria can guarantee against their future use by either the Assad regime or the rebel forces.

Such an option was put to President Obama at his press conference:

“I wonder if you leave here and return to Washington, seeing the skepticism there, hearing it here, with any different ideas that might delay military action. For example, some in Congress have suggested giving the Syrian regime 45 days to sign the Chemical Weapons Convention, get rid of its chemical stockpiles, do something that would enhance the international sense of accountability for Syria, but delay military action.

Are you, Mr. President, looking at any of these ideas? Or are we on a fast track to military action as soon as Congress renders its judgment one way or the other?”

It was at this point that the opening available to President Obama to possibly step back from his planned military action – and instead initiate international action at the UN to collect and destroy these chemical weapons – was not grabbed with open arms.

His response was dismissive:

“So far at least, I have not seen ideas presented that, as a practical matter, I think would do the job”

Hopefully Congress will push President Obama to pursue its option especially as the President stated:

“My goal is to maintain the international norm on banning chemical weapons. I want that enforcement to be real. I want it to be serious. I want people to understand that gassing innocent people, you know, delivering chemical weapons against children, is not something we do.

…I’m listening to Congress. I’m not just doing the talking. And if there are good ideas that are worth pursuing, then I’m going to be open to them.”

Collecting and destroying chemical weapons in Syria still remains the most noble humanitarian objective worth pursuing.

Creating possible hell on earth by another American military adventure without UN authorisation will be disastrous.


David Singer is a Sydney Lawyer and Foundation Member of the International Analysts Network


2 Responses to “Syria – Obama Hell-bent On Creating Hell…writes David Singer”
  1. Paul says:

    I find the conclusions to the article unrealistic and unacceptable. Advancing the line that no military action should be taken without UN approval is pure nonsense. Whatever the West seeks to do the Third World and the post-Conmmunist dictatorships will oppose. The UN is a cynical anticivilisation talkfest without any concept of justice,decency or shame.

    Attacking Syria without congressional approval shows that the community organiser Obama is out of his depth. He is a hypocrite a coward and a fool. He is also dangerous insofar as he undermines Israel the only democracy in the region and the US’s only friend while at the same time supporting al Qaeda affiliates in Syria, the ones supported by Saudi Arabia and Qatar which say nothing about the cannibalism and sadism of the regime’s enemies. Obamaniac tells us he intends to punish the Assad regime, but he demands no punishment for the rebels nor did he punish the al Qaeda gang that raped and murdered his ambassador in Benghazi. He is a supporter of revolutionary Islam, which is why the Saudis loathe him and that is also why, so far, he has managed to frustrate all Israeli plans to attack Iran.

  2. Otto Waldmann says:

    …and this is perhaps the most convincing example that, at least rhetorically, Pres. Obama is not at all much better than the oft demolished by media et al worst speech maker in US Presidential recent history, the poor sod G.W.Bush.
    Obama does not develop here ( and in most other places ) an argument, he delivers regurgitated platitudes. All revolve around “chemical weapons”, kind of Iraq redivivus, with the only missing attachment ” so and so MUST GO !!”, or not in such direct terms, though.

    – Syria is at the weakest point in its modern history. Militarily. politically, in general terms strategically is beyond push-over. Syria does not represent a State entity in almost any shape. Militarily it depends on …..Hezbollah, a militia army, not even its own, practically murderers for hire. The only thing ( still NOT going ) is a modicum of a government, a far more cohesive structure. For the USA, specialised in collecting Middle Eastern Muslim countries, not to take advantage of this golden opportunity of controlling a former fairly strong Arab state , it would be dead set against its own very nature. USA MUST be in Syria, one way or another !!!
    Previous problematic experiences, Iraq and Afghanistan, would be a lesson, one assumes. Another lesson would also be Serbia and, to some extent Ghadaffi.
    No boots on the ground does not make sense at all. USA has a military meant to place boots on the ground whenever and wherever its foreign policy philosophy dictates. All those professional soldiers sign up and get paid to do precisely that. USA has a military arsenal already fully paid for sitting in warehouses or carriers doing nothing, rusting. Thy have pilots playing cards while paid a fortune to do their job – maybe delivering pizzas right now -. So, an intervention is not only natural from political viewpoints, but necessary in order to keep the military….. in good order.
    How they should handle Syria of today is very exciting. A most original scenario shall be played out and the entire world is invited to watch.

    Watch this space !!

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