December 8, 2021

Obama Asks Congress to Postpone a Vote on a Military Strike on Syria

President Barack Obama, facing enormous opposition to authorize a military strike against Syria in both the Senate and the House of Representatives as well as throughout the nation, said on September 10, 2013 that he wanted Congress to postpone a vote on his resolution to attack Syria. President Obama stated that, for the moment, he wanted to pursue Russian President Vladimir Putin´s proposal for international technicians to take over and destroy the huge arsenal of chemical weapons in Syria.

obama out of controlThe president spoke to the nation from the East Room of the White House on September 10, 2013 and, in a 16-minute address, he presented his case for an attack to punish Syria for its use of chemical weapons. Obama had to admit that the American people were opposed to a military strike against Syria after the experience of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The president stated the following: “It’s too early to tell whether this offer  will succeed, and any agreement must verify that the Assad regime keeps its commitments. But this initiative has the potential to remove the threat of chemical weapons without the use of force.” President Obama did not say how long he was willing to wait, how he would know that the Russian proposal was credible, and what he would do if it was not.

Mark Landler and Jonathan Weisman wrote an article entitled “Obama Delays Syria Strike to Focus on a Russian Plan” which was published in The New York Times on September 11, 2013. The reporters explained that Syria agreed to the Russian proposal. The Syrian Foreign Minister, Walid al-Moallem said on September 10, 2013 that his government would turned over its chemical weapons arsenal to Russia, the United Nations, and other countries. President Obama, who only a few days putin-17before had described the Security Council of the United Nations as “completely paralyzed and unwilling to hold Assad accountable,” now, in a reversal of policy, said that he would work on a resolution at the Security Council on the Russian proposal. However, President Obama did not like the language of the Russian proposal. He sent Secretary of State John Kerry to Geneva on September 12, 2013 for a meeting with the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, to work out their disagreements on the language of the resolution.

Landler and Weisman reportedd that Secretary Kerry said the following: “We need a full resolution from the Security Council to have the confidence that this has the force it ought to have. Right now the Russians are in a slightly different place on that. It has to be swift, it has to be real, it has to be verifiable, it cannot be a delaying tactic.”

President Obama’s erratic and zigzagging policy on Syria has made him to appear weak and indecisive with Russia, China, and Syria. Part of the problem is the fact that a definite proof of a gas attack by Assad against his own people was lacking. The White House chief of staff, Denis McDonough, said that the administration has “irrefutable, beyond a reasonable doubt evidence,” that the Syrian government was responsible. However, there were many skeptical members of Congress and Americans as to who was responsible for the gas attack. For one thing, the U.S. intelligence indicated that the August 21, 2013 gas attack outside Damascus killed 1,429 people, including 426 children. However, it has been pointed out that the French, the British, and other human rights organization had a much smaller number.

The Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, in an interview with Charlie Rose on the CBS morning program, said that there is not conclusive evidence about who is to blame for the chemical weapons attack. He suggested that the rebels were responsible. There were some reports that al Qaeda-connected rebels had access to such weapons. The Obama administration officials, which briefed members of Congress, left some of them  not convinced as to Assad’s guilt. Congressman Justin Amash, Republican from Michigan, stated the following: “The evidence is not as strong as the public statements that the president and the administration have been making. They are some things that are being embellished in the public statements… The briefings have actually made me more skeptical about the situation.” Buck McKeon, Republican from California and Chairman of the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee, made the following remarks: “They have evidence showing the regime has probably the responsibility for the attacks. But that’s not enough to start military strikes. They haven’t linked it directly to a Assad, in my estimation.”

Another problem is the fact that by attacking the Syrian government, the Obama administration would be helping the al Qaeda rebels who want to establish an Islamic terrorist nation in Syria. Al Qaeda rebels have been assassinating and massacring Christians in Syria and committing all types of atrocities. As Senator Ted Cruz, Republican from Texas, stated if we would intervene militarily in Syria, our Air Force would become an al Qaeda Air Force.  Many members of our armed forces were not in agreement to intervene in Syria on behalf of al Qaeda rebels. Several soldiers in uniform carried sign saying that they would not fight on behalf of al Qaida.

An Associated Press survey revealed that the House of Representative members are either opposed to or leaning against Obama’s plan for striking Syria by more than a 6-1 margin. The Senate would also have defeated the president’s resolution.The overwhelming majority of Americans are completely opposed to attacking Syria. A new McClatchy/Marist poll of U.S. opinion showed nearly 3-to-1 opposition among registered voters to military action.

It certainly did not help Obama’s resolution before Congress the misguided statement made by Secretary Kerry that our military strike against Syria would be “unbelievably, unbelievably small.” If so, why do it? The White House quickly made a response contradicting the remarks made by Secretary Kerry and stated that our military is the strongest in the world and any attack on Syria would hurt that country. This only added to the confusion as to the strategy of Obama against Syria.

A recent survey by Fox News indicated that 54% of Americans disapprove the performance of President Barack Obama. This affair has made our country look extremely weak and confused as to our goals and strategy and undoubtedly hurt our national security.

syria-map-syrias-chemical-weaponsRemoving chemical weapons from Syria will be extremely difficult and it will take many years. The chemical weapons are spread all over Syria and kept in bunkers, storage depots, factories, and other places which would have to be inspected and secured. The process of removing and destroying chemical weapons is extremely hard in peacetime, but it is almost impossible in a nation that has been fighting a civil war for 2 1/2 years. Many of the places where chemical weapons are kept are around battlefields and the United Nations inspectors would probably be killed by one side or the other as they try to remove them from those sites.

William J. Broad and C. J. Chivers wrote an article entitled “Chemical Disarmament Hard Even in Peacetime” which was published in The New York Times on September 12, 2013. The reporters explained that Amy E. Smithson, an expert on chemical weapons at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in California, stated the following: “I am very concerned about the fine print, it’s a gargantuan task for the inspectors to mothball production, install padlocks, inventory the bulk agent as well as the munitions. Then a lot of it has to be destroyed- in a war zone. What I am saying is, beware of this deal, it’s deceptively attractive.”

Broad and Chivers pointed out that experts say that large numbers of foreign troops would be needed to safeguard inspectors working in the middle of the civil war. They explained that a Pentagon study concluded that the destruction and the activation of the chemical weapons could take years and more than 75,000 troops would be needed. Where are those large number of soldiers coming from?

Another major problem is that if the Syrian regime loses territory, the al Qaeda rebels could seize the chemical weapons. At one point, American intelligence believed that there were 42 separate chemical sites, but as the  battleground shifts, the Syrian regime has moved those weapons to other sites. An intelligence official stated that “We only know a good deal about 19 of them.” Disarming and destroying chemical weapons in Syria would be far more difficult than dealing with nations that volunteered to eliminate their  chemical arsenals. After more than 20 years in Iraq, the job of removing chemical weapons still isn’t finished.

Conclusion

President Barack Obama’s intent on attacking Syria militarily was a colossal mistake and this is why the majority of both the Senate and the House of Representatives, as well as the American people, are completely opposed to it. Many experts believe that our intervention in Syria in the middle of a civil war would have made matters much worse in Syria and the Middle East. A large part of the rebel forces that are trying to overthrow the bloody dictator of Syria, Bashar Assad, are as terrible or worse than him. Both sides have committed serious atrocities.

Two powerful groups of rebels are openly aligned with al Qaeda: the Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Other rebel forces are the Islamists Ahrar al-Sham, Ahrar al-Sharq, Liwaa al-Islam, and Liwaa al-Tawheed. The Syrian Free Army, which is not affiliated to al Qaeda, is not as strong as these other Islamist radical rebels. If Assad were to be defeated and overthrown by the Muslim Brotherhood and al Qaeda, it would have meant genocide against the Christians, which are 10% of the Syrian population, as well as the minority of Alawite Muslims. The Alawite minority is the Islamic faith of Bashar al-Assad and the members of his government and supporters and is similar to the Shiites faith in Iran and the Hezbollah terrorist organization in Lebanon. Among other things, the war in Syria is regional and a religious war between Shiites in Iran and in Lebanon and Sunnis of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other Gulf states fighting against the Assad regime. Russia and China are allies of the Assad regime.

A Syria controlled by al Qaeda, and in possession of the nation’s chemical weapons arsenal, would have been be an immediate threat to our ally Israel and to the United States. Even though the Russian dictator Vladimir Putin hates the United States and despises Barack Obama, he may have done President Obama a big favor. The president was saved from an immense political defeat when both houses of Congress would have rejected his proposal to go to war with Syria. John Hayward, senior writer of Daily Events wrote that “Obama’s humiliation in Syria is complete…Obama’s war in Syria is over before it began.” It did not make any sense for the United States to be fighting on the same side of al Qaida, who was responsible for killing nearly 3,000 Americans 12 years ago on 9/11, and its affiliate Anwar al Sharia, who assassinated our ambassador in Libya and three others a year ago.

One thing is quite clear, the majority of American people no longer have any confidence in our most incompetent commander-in-chief in history. Who can possibly trust Barack Obama when he has deliberately allowed the infiltration of the Muslim Brotherhood in his government and when his own brother, Malik Obama, work for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Sudan?

 

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