A Wake-Up Call: Obama Shunned Syrians For Two Years—Despite The Bloody Nature Of Assad's Regime
05 September 2013
By Mshari Al-Zaydi
Obama continues to downplay the plans the US is making
for strikes against Bashar Al-Assad's troops, saying
that they will be limited, and that it will neither be
a full-scale war nor will it be intended to overthrow
the regime. All that's left for Obama to tell Bashar
is the coordinates of the targeted sites so that they
can be evacuated, and for Bashar and his brother Maher
to go away on summer vacation until after the strike
Obama is following a path he hates to travel. The
worst news he ever heard from his men was that Assad's
troops have, in fact, used the forbidden chemical
weapons, which means that he has crossed Obama's red
line. So now Obama has no option but to reinforce the
credibility of his warning.
It is not true that all wars are waged for one reason
only. Wars are waged for any number of reasons, such
as geographic expansion, resources, religion,
patriotism, and even for personal motives—leaving
aside the wars sparked by moral embarrassment.
Obama is being pulled into a war the entire world can
see he does not want to fight. We all know how Obama
shunned American involvement in Syria for two
years—despite the bloody nature of the Syrian state of
affairs—and how he declined to take a real action on
In fact, this is a war to restore American
credibility. It is also a war to prove the moral
responsibility of the West, as much as it is about a
shared norm in modern warfare: the abstention from
using internationally forbidden weapons.
We have no idea about how serious will this war be.
Perhaps all we will see is a handful of missiles,
fired to no avail.
It is a source of sorrow that the Arabs have become
addicted to repeating the anarchic conduct of denial.
In Yemen, pro-Bashar demonstrations took place to
express solidarity with the chemical killer, and a
Yemeni delegation was even sent to Syria to support
him. In Egypt, newspapers—even the sedate ones—are
full of various reports critical of the idea of a
military strike, and full of talk about conspiracy
theories in a manner reminiscent of the Arab media
following Saddam's invasion of Kuwait.
There are also people in the Gulf who were influenced
by such a discourse and are playing the same tune by
demanding an "Arab solution," as if Kuwait was
liberated from Saddam with an Arab solution.
What is required, then? Should we let Bashar kill as
many people as he wishes in the hope that his
conscience will be aroused someday? Should we wait
until the disintegration of the Syrian social fabric
stops on its own, or should we leave the Syrian wound
open for more Al-Qaeda and Shi'ite militias?
A senior Arab journalist, discussing why he thinks
military strikes against Bashar Al-Assad's troops are
a bad idea—having reviewed calls for war in the US, of
which he found only a few against Bashar—concluded in
utter bewilderment, saying: "If I'm to have a third
opinion, I'd say that I wish that the Syrian people
would emerge as winners, but I do not know why."
Amer Ebaid, a twenty-seven-year-old Syrian refugee who
fled his country over the Lebanese border with his
family to escape the hell of Bashar's chemicals, his
bombs and the anticipated US strike, answers by
saying: "The Americans will make their strike, God
willing. I want them to make it, but the Americans
were never once truthful. I hope they will launch
their strike so that the Arabs can finally be
Saudi journalist and expert on Islamic movements and
Islamic fundamentalism as well as Saudi affairs.
Mshari is Asharq Al-Awsat's opinion page Editor, where
he also contributes a weekly column. Has worked for
the local Saudi press occupying several posts at Al -Madina
newspaper amongst others. He has been a guest on
numerous news and current affairs programs as an
expert on Islamic.