News / Middle East

Analysts Discuss Impact on Assad From Syria Strike

Analysts Discuss Impact on Assad From Syria Strikei
X
August 30, 2013 11:26 PM
As U.S. officials took to the U.S. airwaves, insisting that the Assad government was responsible for last week's chemical attack in Syria, a U.S. military response seemed increasingly likely. The White House and the State Department have insisted that any U.S. response will be aimed only at preventing President Basahr al-Assad from using weapons of mass destruction again. But the question many are asking is where will that U.S. response leave the embattled Syrian president.
Analysts Discuss Impact on Assad From Syria Strike
As U.S. officials took to the U.S. airwaves, insisting that the Assad government was responsible for last week's chemical attack in Syria, a U.S. military response seemed increasingly likely. The White House and the State Department have insisted that any U.S. response will be aimed only at preventing President Basahr al-Assad from using weapons of mass destruction again. But the question many are asking is where will that U.S. response leave the embattled Syrian president.

On Friday, President Barack Obama was clear about a possible US strike against Syria. He said it would not be about bringing down the government in Damascus.

"We're not considering any boots-on-the-ground approach. What we will do is consider options that meet the narrow concern around chemical weapons, understanding that there's not going to be a solely military solution to the underlying conflict and tragedy that's taking place in Syria," said Obama.

Last week's chemical weapons attack east of Damascus has the international community in a quandary in terms of how to react. The president's decision matters in real ways to U.S. security, said Secretary of State John Kerry.



"It matters because if we choose to live in a world where a thug and a murderer like Bashar al-Assad can gas thousands of his own people with impunity, even after the United States and our allies said no, and then the world does nothing about it, there will be no end to the test of our resolve and the dangers that will flow from those others who believe that they can do as they will," said Kerry.

If Assad remains in power following a narrow U.S. strike, however, the Syrian leader will have even less incentive to negotiate an end to the country's civil war, said Brookings Institution analyst Michael O'Hanlon.

"Right now President Assad believes he’s winning. And there’s no reason that I can imagine that he would change his mind about giving up power or meaningfully sharing power when he thinks he’s winning," said O'Hanlon.


More than two years into the conflict, Assad forces have reversed some of the earlier gains by rebels with help from Iran and Hezbollah. A limited U.S. attack could even bolster Assad, said Cato Institute analyst Doug Bandow.

"He might gain some credibility being the nationalist who stood up to the Americans. Who knows? To the extent that people think he used chemical weapons, it kind of hurts him. But to the extent that they think he is willing to be tough and stand up, that may help him," said Bandow.

Bandow said Assad is holding on to power not only for himself. "One can imagine Bashar al-Assad getting on an airplane and flying somewhere - Moscow maybe - and enjoying his ill-gotten riches. But there's a whole regime around him. There's a whole lot of people who have really invested in this."

U.S. Military Assets - August 30, 2013U.S. Military Assets - August 30, 2013
x
U.S. Military Assets - August 30, 2013
U.S. Military Assets - August 30, 2013
The Assads belong to Syria's Alawite minority and his government is fighting a largely sectarian war against Sunni Muslims, the majority. It's a battle for control of the country.

Adam Ereli, a former U.S. ambassador, said, "That guy is a hunted, caged lion with sharp teeth and claws, but he's not going anywhere."

While some experts believe Assad ultimately will yield power, for the moment he said he will not be intimidated by any outside aggression.

  • In this citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network, ENN, Syrians search under rubble to rescue people from houses that were destroyed by a Syrian government warplane in Idlib province, August 30, 2013.
  • In this citizen journalism image provided by Edlib News Network, ENN, smoke rises after explosives were dropped by a Syrian government warplane in Idlib province, August 30, 2013.
  • In this image taken from video obtained from the Shaam News Network, U.N. investigators gather potential evidence in a Damascus suburb, August 28, 2013.
  • This citizen journalism image provided by the United media office of Arbeen shows Syrians moving a man who was allegedly exposed to chemical weapons to show him to U.N. investigators in a Damascus suburb, August 28, 2013.
  • This citizen journalism image provided by the United media office of Arbeen shows U.N. investigators in a suburb of Damascus, August 28, 2013.
  • Free Syrian Army fighters carry their weapons as they escort U.N. vehicles carrying chemical weapons experts at the site of an alleged chemical weapons attack in a Damascus suburb, August 28, 2013.
  • Free Syrian Army fighters deploy in Aleppo's town of Khanasir after seizing it, August 26, 2013.
  • Free Syrian Army fighters inspect munitions and a tank that belonged to forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad after they seized Khanasir, August 26, 2013.
  • A U.N. chemical weapons expert gathers evidence at site of an alleged poison gas attack in a southwestern Damascus suburb, August 26, 2013.
  • An image grab taken from a video posted by Syrian activists purportedly shows a U.N. inspector speaking to a man in a Damascus suburb, August 26, 2013.
  • U.N. chemical weapons experts visit a hospital where wounded people affected by a suspected gas attack are being treated, in a southwestern Damascus suburb, August 26, 2013.

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Markt
August 31, 2013 3:46 PM
There is no understanding men of this mindset, Assad will hold onto power even if his power crumbles around his very feet. Hitler held on stubbornly in a bunker for months while Berlin and most of Germany was being blown to bits. Even when Russian soldiers were only yards from the bunker entrance, he never let power go, Hitler still dreamed of a victorious Germany rising from the ashes with him at the helm.
You cannot understand the minds of madmen. Assad will laugh at our 'narrow strike' and do whatever he wants anyway. There is only one way to deal with these types; a bullet to the head.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs