The Syrian conflict has become the main theme of the speech made by the President Barack Obama to the Americans that was released on September 10. In his speech, Obama said that he preferred a diplomatic resolution of the Syrian conflict to military intervention. However, he still considered the possibility of a military strike against Syria. There is a fact that the use of Syrian chemical weapons, which the White House does not dispute, is contrary to the ideals of the United States and is a threat to its national security. The president reiterated that a possible military operation could only be short and ground troops would not be deployed. This research will use a combination of books and internet articles to explain in detail the conflict between Obama and Syria.
Keywords: Barack Obama, Syrian conflict, chemical weapon, the United States
Barack Obama and Syria
George Friedman said that when it came to the future, at some point, the only thing people could be sure in was a common sense which would be a mistake. Considering the events which are happening nowadays in the world and the attitude of the U.S.A. towards Syria, it becomes obvious that the conflict between Syria and Obama possesses features of war like it was with Iraq. This research seeks to reveal whether the opinion that relationship between the United States and Syria will develop into second Iraq.
Politicians keep silence and blame others for the revealed information; journalists apologize while the international community throws up their hands. Who is to blame? “Iraq’s Freedom” was a real verdict on the Middle East. The American invasion of Iraq violated the whole system of international cooperation in the Arab world.
Experts and analysts predicted the real agony of the Middle East; political scientists have developed schemes for unimaginable future of the region, the media showed the best perspectives of the war. No one has been able to trace the dynamics of rapid processes in the region.
That is why analysts predict that in eight years the Arab world is going to plunge into a series of incessant rebellions, civil and religious wars. Moreover, the social and political orientation in the region will radically change.
After the invasion of Iraq, the Americans and their allies have broken the balance of power in one of the most “potentially explosive” regions. The invasion of Baghdad, under the auspices of the war on terror, provoked even stronger wave of jihad and stepped up a number of extremist organizations.
The war in Iraq has not only destabilized the region, but also deprived it of any adequate political alternative.
Discord and the inability of the unity prevailing in the Islamic world say that the United States achieved its strategic goals. It is clear that since 2001 they tried to make a shaky peace in chaos, thus causing to his hatred and, possibly contributing to the emergence of new terrorists. (Friedman, 2009)
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During its turbulent history, since the revolution of 1963 and up to the modern Syria, the United Arab Republic has experienced a lot of turmoil: the endless confrontation with Israel, the difficulties of relationships with Arab countries, painful war in Lebanon in 1982, and subsequent withdrawal of Syrian troops from there in 2005.
In March, 2003, the Western coalition headed by the U.S. invaded Iraq. The war dramatically changed the balance of power in the region. The barrier that held back all these years of American allies in the region was liquidated, and Syria was one-on-one with the released forces near its borders.
If Bashar al-Assad had resigned on time, perhaps, there would have been no bloodshed that had gripped Syria. Indeed, some aspects of the current crisis can be attributed to errors of Syrian leadership. However, there are only few of them. The war in Syria is not an exception. Though, it was rather a consistent crisis. However, at first sight, it may seem that the crisis created favorable circumstances. Nevertheless, it was unexpected.
It was not necessary to create artificial conditions under which the Syrian conflict appeared, the consequences appeared quite naturally. Considering the political situation around the neighbors of Syria, it is obvious that there is a political pressure of Ankara in the north. Breaking apart Iraq is observed in the east, while Islamic radicals come across the Syrian-Iraq border. Finally, warlike tension is still taking place in the Golan Heights.
Currently, the White House announced that President Obama continued to examine “carefully” the possible options of resolving the situation in Syria. The former U.S. President, Bill Clinton, had also influenced the situation in Syria. He said that he had agreed with John McCain, one of the fiercest critics of President Obama, in the opinion to strengthen U.S. action against Syria. Clinton assured that it would have been “a big mistake” not to intervene.
President Obama and his administration continue to emphasize that all options of action against Syria are comprehensively analyzed. The Press Secretary, Jay Carney, only said that the meetings were “always” held. He said that Obama was “very worried” about the “horrible and deteriorating” situation in Syria. Carney also added that Obama analyzed “very carefully” various options that could be applied by the U.S., its allies, and partners.
He analyzes each of the options being discussed. His team is engaged the same. In this case, all based on how effective a version of the policy may be in terms of the desired results. The goal is not to do something obviously good, it does not actually change the situation and will not improve, but even generally deteriorates. (Syria, 2013).
Ideology is especially important in democratic societies, where it may constitute the principal form of social control. The dominant ideology is far more powerful in the United States, with its freedom of expression, than it was in the Soviet Union. In latter, the obvious monopoly of political expression enforced by repression created the widespread disbelief. In more autocratic societies, people are kept in line by fear. In a society where people are free to demonstrate and vote, the control over “hearts and minds” needs to be much deeper and more constant.
Since 2011, the demonstrations and unrest in Syria have spread, but the government has responded to the riots including the abolition of the Emergency Law and the approval of new laws allowing new political parties to liberalize the local and national elections. However, the reaction of the government has not fulfilled the requirements of the opposition of al-Assad to step down and suppress riots. The CIA World Factbook contains the information that the political instability, numerous rebels along with migrants made the country too accessible and vulnerable to further intervention.
Widespread activity of the armed opposition led to fierce riots between government troops and the opposition. Pressure on Assad has increased since the end of 2011, when the Arab League, Turkey, European Union, and the United States extended economic sanctions against the regime. In October, 2012, Lakhdar Brahimi began the meeting with the heads of the states of the region assisting in brokering a cease-fire.
In December, 2012, the National Coalition of the Syrian revolution and opposition forces were recognized by more than 130 countries as the only legal representative of the Syrian people. The unrest persists and victims of the Syrian government forces, opposition forces, and civilians have exceeded 100,000.
In June 19, 2013, the analyst Shamus Cooke suggested that the growing conflict between the U.S. and Syria became “Obama’s Iraq.” He believed that there was much in common with the Bush administration over Iraq in 2003. The conflict continues to develop and deepen according to some reports expanding.
The Theme of Chemical Weapon in Syrian-American Relationship
Obama officially entered the path that necessarily leads to major war. At this point, the Obama administration believes that considerable investments in military, financial, and diplomatic capital has been already made in the Syrian conflict. Therefore, it is too late to turn back. Every step ahead leads the U.S. to a direct military intervention.
The U.S. media have buried the truth about chemical weapons. The fact is that this type of weapons of mass destruction is not evidence-based. The U.S. media shamelessly spew the “facts” without asking any questions and do not hear anything from Iraq. In reality, however, a number of independent experts of chemical weapons speak out publicly against accusations of Obama.
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One of the most important issues in the U.S. policy is the Obama’s anti-Syrian diplomacy which calls for diplomatic relations between Syria and its neighbors such as Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey to be destroyed. These people have coexisted peacefully for decades with Syria, but now because of the tremendous pressure from the United States they agree to break off diplomatic relations.
All this madness can be stopped immediately if Obama publicly declares that the Syrian rebels have lost the war. Therefore, they should be cut off politically, financially, and militarily if the United States would not immediately begin negotiations with the Syrian government.
However, this is a peaceful approach to the current situation. Instead, it can be ignored in favor of more untold thousands dead people, more citizens would become refugees, and the formation of a broader regional civilizations of the Middle East would occur.
Strategic Plans of the U.S.A. towards Syria
People had a great opportunity to reap the benefits of that bloody enough war by creating strategic relations with Iraq, which was still under American influence. Iraq airspace, for example, was under the U.S. control. However, it is not just a civil war. The government of Syria has relied on its allies (Hezbollah, Iran, Russia) while the rebels rely on their ones (Qatar, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and United States). Foreign militants are now playing a key role on both sides. Hezbollah occupies the major role in the current conflict.
American pressure is primarily directed on breaking off diplomatic relations helping to destroy the Syrian government for funneling weapons and foreign fighters into the country. It will lead to further destabilization of the region that has not recovered from the war in Iraq. Obama’s Syria policy has turned already volatile region into a smoldering tinderbox.
Considering 9 theories explaining the current international conflict, the most reasonable and the most useful one is a theory described by Shamus Cooke in the article “Syria is Becoming Obama’s Iraq.” The author truly outlines that Obama’s claim related to the use of chemical weapon by Bashar Assad is just a pretext for the further invasion. This theory claims that the U.S. president invested too much money in Syrian politics. Now, when his expectations went wrong, he decided to resolve the situation by applying war. Tony Cartalucci (2013) has also agreed with the idea that chemical weapon issues was a big fabrication. He points out that this is not the first case of fabrication made by the U.S. government. The previous conflicts led to the wars in Iraq and Libya. Thus, it is quite reasonable to call Syria ‘a second Iraq.’
Get for Free
Many commentators reasonably point out that geopolitics is the motivation for Obama who wants to bomb Syria for the purpose of reaching Iran. Jean Bricmont (2013) in the article “Syria: Who Wants War, Who Wants Peace?” points out that this war is a capitalist one. Capitalism is the only leader who dictates rules to the politicians which are based on careful calculations.
Other commentators also properly discuss specific economic (capitalist) interests as a military motivation. There are those who still pay attention to the importance of Israel as a factor in the war in Syria and eventually in Iran. All three views are correct, interdependence, being at the mean time complex and difficult, as most of the truth is hidden from the public eye.
Humanitarian Intervention or Humanitarian Imperialism
Humanitarian imperialism recognizes that our “universal values” give people the right and even the duty to stand against imperial wars.
Humanitarian intervention provided the U.S. State the perfect ideological cover and internal rationalization to continue as the global “gendarme” of the capitalist order. By providing the human rights rationale for the assertion that the “international community” had a moral and legal responsibility to protect a threatened people, mainstream human rights activists effectuated a shift in the discourse on international human rights (Baraka, 2013).
In particular, the Kosovo war was the culmination of a decade of media bombardment in favor of “humanitarian intervention,” which was supposed to free people from the notion of national sovereignty and, more generally, of international law. The advocates of that intervention zealously spread every bit of one-sided propaganda for war, whether originating with local protagonists seeking to get NATO to fight for their side, or used by the United States to inaugurate a series of post-Cold War “humanitarian” wars.
The events which take place in Syria were developed and registered by the United States, its NATO allies (notably by France, the UK and Turkey), and the monarchical regimes of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, particularly Saudi Arabia and the UAE. This event is designed by taking into account that most recently, Libya, Egypt, and other countries in the region adjusted to the lack of the necessary West UNSC resolution. Actually, there is undeclared NATO military intervention.
Armed units of the Syrian opposition from the so-called “Syrian Free Army” increase the amount of weapons getting help from abroad. Supply of small arms and ammunition for the troops of “Free Syrian Army” in bulk are from Lebanon, Iraq, and Turkey. However, it is unofficially, and is not provided by the governments of these countries. The range of products includes rifles, machine guns, sniper rifles, hand-held anti-tank grenade launchers, etc.
Humanitarian assistance was provided to victims of fighting areas of Syria on the terms of non-interference in the internal affairs of Syria. In addition, in March 2, the humanitarian convoy of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Syrian Red Crescent Society has arrived in the city of Homs freed from the militants.
Russia and Iran also provide humanitarian assistance to Syria. U.S. hawks continue to hatch plans for military intervention in Syria. Now the U.S. is consulting with Britain, France, Italy, and Turkey as well as with the Arab monarchies in order to prepare for military intervention in the Syrian crisis.
There is a difference in definition of such terms as intervention and cooperation. Unlike intervention, cooperation is carried out with the agreement of the host government. Few governments in the Third World reject cooperation, if it is sincere. With so much misery in the world, it is hard to imagine a situation in which for a given expenditure of money and effort, cooperation would not have saved more human lives than intervention.
Politicians Speak Aloud about Their Intentions towards Syria
There are a number of things people are able to do which do not require any intervention regarding matters for which people ought to feel responsibility. Meanwhile, it is a matter of concern to relatively few people. First of all, there is the whole economic aspect of North-South relations: debts, prices for raw materials, and access to cheap medicines. If a government has so much money to spend on “humanitarian wars,” then why is not there enough money for actions whose humanitarian character would be unequivocal?
During the regular meeting of the Senate of the United States, the head of the Armed Services Committee, Republican hawk, John McCain revealed the true intentions of the United States. He assumed that there was no reason why they could provide a mandate for military action. Everything could happen without them. Nowadays, when the harm has been done, nobody knows how to repair all the damage. Leaving American troops in Iraq was obviously not a good idea (from a progressive point of view). However, it is hard enough to know what would be a better alternative. Even in the peace movement, people are afraid that a simple American withdrawal, with nothing to put in its place, would lead to civil war.
The Americans have stayed on since then, and the country comes closer to civil war. Finally, the question as to whether the Americans have a duty to stabilize the situation in Iraq is the easiest one. If it is manifestly impossible for them to do so, why do people hope that by staying on they will repair the damage caused in Iraq?
In addition, experience in Iraq and other countries shows that foreign intervention generally causes inner conflict, even civil war. The reason is that the occupying power tends to get support for the benefit of one group or faction.
Therefore, there were the “black hardhats” in El Salvador, Shiite death squads in Iraq, and Islamic radicals in Syria. Violence must strike fear into the Syrians. Each brutal murder, in the last two years, has become commonplace in Syria. It should strike terror into the people’s hearts and break their will.
In time of war, technology improved, but the basic mechanisms remained intact. There is enough a one tiny spark in order to provoke a fire changing the landscape beyond recognition: weapons, violence, and money - the project “Syrian revolution” was set in motion.
Today, explosions can be heard almost every hour all over the territory of this country. The fierce battles in the cities of Syria opposing sides come with varying success - Syrians fear to take a gaze into the future of their country. The war has poisoned the very nature of Syrian society; this conflict has all the traits of civil war.
The consequences of this fratricidal drama will certainly affect in the short-term post-war. If the conflict continues for about a year or two, it will cause an irreparable economic damage of Syria. It may cause the depletion of resources and a serious economic crisis.
President Obama assesses the situation, which can be very similar to the one happened in the past. It is in the interest of the United States to determine what is the most appropriate.options of policies which appear to be the most effective in achieving its ultimate goal.
It is obvious that the relationships between the U.S.A. and Syria are determined by American pressure which is primarily directed towards breaking off diplomatic relations, helping destroy the Syrian government for funneling weapons and foreign fighters into the country. As far as the further destabilization of the region is similar to the one held in Iraq, one can make the conclusion that Obama’s policy on Syria has turned already volatile region into a smoldering tinderbox.
It is reasonable to assume that geopolitics is the main motivation for the president Obama who wants to bomb Syria and reach Iran. The specific economic (capitalist) interests as a military motivation, is also a reason that deserves attention.
One more reason why such complicated situation has occurred is the importance of Israel as it is a significant factor in the war in Syria and eventually in Iran. All three views are correct, interdependence, being at the mean time complex and difficult, as most of the truth is hidden from the public eye.