May 7, 2015 | Quote

Obama and Power, AWOL on Syria

In an interview with Charlie Rose, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and human rights advocate, and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power intoned that the problem of the Islamic State in Syria could not be dealt with unless Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was removed. “He has lost his legitimacy and must go,” she declared. She pointed out that so long as he is gassing civilians and dropping barrel bombs, Islamic fundamentalists are going to be attracted to the fight. She rightly called Assad the “root cause” of the problem there. Hmmm. That might have warranted a follow-up: Where has the administration been for the past four years?

Wait. I thought President Obama had great success in disarming Assad of his chemical weapons. I guess that was a failure and a charade, and he now uses WMDs with impunity. The administration could not be bothered to take meaningful action before Assad crossed the red line or after he crossed the red line. “Ambassador Power’s comments are exactly what we would like to be hearing from the White House and should be the cornerstone of our Syria policy,” says Jonathan Schanzer of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “But this is not our Syria policy. Ever since Assad crossed our so-called red line of chemical weapons usage, the White House has allowed Assad to remain in power under the condition of WMD disarmament.”

In his insistence on doing nothing, Obama let a butcher remain in power, a bloody civil war continue, WMDs to be used with no consequences and the Islamic State to take hold. What is Power doing there if she understands the root cause of Syria’s agony and the administration’s continued failure to do something about it?

Our Iran policy only makes the problem worse, Schanzer observes. “Moreover, the White House has empowered his sponsor and protector, Iran. This includes limiting the ongoing diplomacy to narrow nuclear parameters so that war crimes in Syria are essentially ignored.” Indeed, Syria has now become a base of Iranian operations: “The most prominent foreign element involved in this war is Iran, which is throwing its entire weight into ensuring the survival of the regime. In addition to providing economic aid, arms, and advice, its support for Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad includes combat forces – from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), from Hizbullah in Lebanon, and from the Iraqi, Afghan and Pakistani Shi’ite militias that are loyal to Iran.”

Read the full article here


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