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

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact 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.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs