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

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt More

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.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid