News / Middle East

    Arabs Brace for Possible US Strike on Syria

    Arabs Brace for Possible US Strike on Syriai
    X
    August 29, 2013 3:23 PM
    The threat of a U.S. military strike on Syria in response to an alleged chemical weapon attack by the Assad government has set an already tense Middle East further on edge. VOA's Elizabeth Arrott has more from Cairo.
    Elizabeth Arrott
    The threat of a U.S. military strike on Syria in response to an alleged chemical weapon attack by the Assad government has set an already tense Middle East further on edge.

    The carnage near Damascus last week has appalled many throughout the Middle East. But possible retaliation by the United States, acting alone or in partnership, has left others equally unsettled.

    Policy analyst Joel Rubin, of the Ploughshares Fund, says Washington might wait until it has broader support for any military action.

    "It is possible that the administration will want to go to the United Nations, will want to seek some level of affirmation for those efforts to get some legitimacy from an international body. It’s not 100 percent clear that they will do that," he said.

    The U.S. has failed to get regional backing. The Arab League - which two years ago approved Western military intervention in Libya - is pressing for a diplomatic resolution. 

    "Clearly a lot of members of the Arab League probably unofficially support these strikes but, in terms of the domestic message, American strikes and Western military operations in the Middle East are still very contentious and potentially sources of instability and discontent,” said Syria analyst Torbjorn Soltveldt, of Maplecroft Risk Assessment, speaking to VOA via Skype.

    Military forces around SyriaMilitary forces around Syria
    x
    Military forces around Syria
    Military forces around Syria
    Many nations in the Middle East are already facing political unrest, with anti-American sentiment running high. A U.S. strike before U.N. inspectors have determined who carried out the chemical attack could spark more anti-American feeling.

    Also, some of the evidence being cited against the Syrian government is reportedly coming from Israel and that only heightens doubt in a region deeply suspicious of America's ally.

    "In the U.S. you have a problem with your political credibility in dealing with Arab countries," said Mustafa Labbad, the director of the Al-Sharq Center for Regional and Strategic Studies in Cairo. "Iraq was accused of having weapons of mass destruction and, after the invasion, all the world saw it was a lie."

    He says people across the region could take to the streets over what they see as hypocrisy.

    "There is no evidence that Syria used chemical weapons. That Bashar al-Assad is a dictator? He is. But other U.S. allies are also as well dictators," he said.

    Labbad says there is one saving grace to reported U.S. plans to use military strikes - that they're apparently not aimed at toppling Assad.  He says the alternative - the possibility of anarchy or of jihadi successors, and an even more Syrian refugees, has many in the already unstable region alarmed.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Davis K. Thanjan from: New York
    August 29, 2013 5:10 PM
    The patience of President Obama resulted in the deaths of more than 100,000 Syrians and millions of refugees and internally displaced persons. A surgical strike at Assad two years ago might have toppled Assad easily before the infiltration of terrorists now entrenched and embedded in Syria, including Taliban, al Qaida, Hezbollah, Moslem Brotherhood, all fighting against each other and for/against the removal of the notorious dictator Assad. President Obama is still reluctant to act even after Assad crossed the red line of using chemicals as a weapon of mass destruction of civilians and/or the militants. The world peace cannot be entrusted in the UN Security Council any more with five countries with veto power. Because of lack of unanimity in the Security Council and ideological polarization, it is high time country or countries take appropriate military action for peace, security and human rights, and against terrorism and use of weapons of mass destruction including chemical weapons, even if it necessitates military action against any country or countries. Otherwise, too much patience, negotiations and intentional delays will end up in bigger wars beyond imagination or prediction.
    In Response

    by: jane jacobs from: NJ
    August 29, 2013 6:44 PM
    Really, Davis K. Thanjan

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.