Brutal Syria conflict is Obama's shame

Reuters

Members of the Free Syrian Army chant slogans against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Azzaz, Aleppo province July 19, 2012.

Article Highlights

  • As the fighting continues in Damascus, Bashar al-Assad has the option to end his rule in exile or in death.

    Tweet This

  • Time is running short for all who have supported Assad to explain themselves. @Dpletka

    Tweet This

  • The Obama administration has fussed and fluttered, and ultimately done nothing for the people of Syria.

    Tweet This

News Wednesday morning out of Damascus was devastating for the Assad regime. Defense Minister Dawoud Rajha is dead; deputy defense chief and Assad brother-in-law Assef Shawkat is also reportedly dead. Other senior regime members are in hospital. Some reports indicate the bomber was an Assad bodyguard.

Since the attack, fighting has continued in Damascus and thousands have fled ruthless regime reprisals.  Rumor has it that Bashar himself has left the capital for his family hometown of Latakia.  Presumably, from there he will have the option of ending his rule as Tunisia's ex-President Zine Abedine Ben Ali did — in exile; or as Libyan dictator did — in a pool of blood.

Time is running short for all who have supported Assad, tacitly or explicitly, to explain themselves.  Among them, first and foremost the Iranians, for whom Assad is a key client.  But Iran is on its heels, and Syria is its only creature in an increasingly hostile Middle East.

"Time is running short for all who have supported Assad, tacitly or explicitly, to explain themselves." -Danielle PletkaNor can we forget Hezbollah, which leads Lebanon's government and reportedly has hundreds of its terrorist number among those fighting to preserve the Assad regime.

Then the Russians who have armed and protected Assad as his people rose against him, blocking every attempt at Security Council action, throwing spanners into the wheels of the "friends of Syria" group.  But Putin is only playing to type. 

What of the West — the French who were the engine of outside support for Qadhafi's enemies; the British who also led the way on Libya? 

And finally, what of the president of the most powerful nation on earth, a leader with a nominal commitment to freedom that extends only as far as his printed speeches, and little further. 

The Obama administration has fussed and fluttered, blabbed and gabbed, and ultimately done nothing for the people of Syria. The death of more than 17,000 Syrians is a stain on Obama's hands.  He will preen that victory for the rebels is what he predicted all along, and it happened without having to spend a dime, risk an aircraft, ship a weapon. 

Imagine how much faster it would have happened had the feckless president been less feckless.  Imagine how the people of Syria would celebrate America as the Libyans do. 

How much sway will we have over the post-Assad Syria?  As much as we have earned: None.

Also Visit
AEIdeas Blog The American Magazine
About the Author

 

Danielle
Pletka

  • As a long-time Senate Committee on Foreign Relation senior professional staff member for the Near East and South Asia, Danielle Pletka was the point person on Middle East, Pakistan, India and Afghanistan issues. As the vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at AEI, Pletka writes on national security matters with a focus on Iran and weapons proliferation, the Middle East, Syria, Israel and the Arab Spring. She also studies and writes about South Asia: Pakistan, India and Afghanistan.


    Pletka is the co-editor of “Dissent and Reform in the Arab World: Empowering Democrats” (AEI Press, 2008) and the co-author of “Containing and Deterring a Nuclear Iran” (AEI Press, 2011) and “Iranian influence in the Levant, Egypt, Iraq, and Afghanistan” (AEI Press, 2012). Her most recent study, “America vs. Iran: The competition for the future of the Middle East,” was published in January 2014.


     


    Follow Danielle Pletka on Twitter.


  • Phone: 202-862-5943
    Email: dpletka@aei.org
  • Assistant Info

    Name: Alexandra Della Rocchetta
    Phone: 202-862-7152
    Email: alex.dellarocchetta@aei.org

What's new on AEI

image Recovering from tax time blues
image 10 welfare reform lessons
image Let HHS nominee Sylvia Burwell explain Obamacare lie
image Why bold ideas backfire in politics
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 14
    MON
  • 15
    TUE
  • 16
    WED
  • 17
    THU
  • 18
    FRI
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 | 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Calling treason by its name: A conversation with Liam Fox

Join us at AEI as the Right Honorable Liam Fox sits down with Marc Thiessen to discuss and debate whether America’s intelligence agencies have infringed on the personal privacy of US citizens.

Event Registration is Closed
Thursday, April 17, 2014 | 4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
The curmudgeon's guide to getting ahead

How can young people succeed in workplaces dominated by curmudgeons who are judging their every move? At this AEI book event, bestselling author and social scientist Charles Murray will offer indispensable advice for navigating the workplace, getting ahead, and living a fulfilling life.

No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.