News / USA

Iraq Drives New US Policy in Syria 

A member of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant waves an ISIL flag in Raqqa, Iraq, June 29, 2014.
A member of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant waves an ISIL flag in Raqqa, Iraq, June 29, 2014.
Catherine Maddux

One direct byproduct of the rapid advancement of militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Iraq is a revamped U.S. policy in Syria.

Last week, President Obama asked Congress to authorize $500 billion in direct assistance to train and equip what it calls "appropriately vetted elements of the moderate Syrian armed opposition."

That's a dramatic turnaround for Obama, who has tried to keep his distance from the civil war in Syria, which has become more complex and deadly – including the use of chemical weapons against civilians in Syria.

So, why now?

"The ISIS [ISIL] stampede into Iraq has, I think, concentrated the minds of the president and policy makers in the administration, and perhaps made them realize that our current policy in Syria isn't working," says Michael Crowley, Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent for TIME.

In its authorization request, the White House cited “growing spillover effects of the Syrian conflict” among its reasons for aiding some Syrian rebels. ISIL militants are headquartered in the northern Syrian city of Allepo. 

Just under two years ago, in late 2012, says Crowley, Obama was presented a plan supported by Hillary Clinton, Leon Panetta and David Petraeus to step up training and arming of the rebels in Syria.

While not embracing that proposal, the president has signed off on doing more to bolster acceptable elements of the Syrian opposition very gradually.  That reportedly includes supplying rebels with heavy anti-tank weapons and a Central Intelligence Agency program to train a small number of rebels every month in Jordan. 

But the new request from Congress is a long way from Obama's "red line" moment, when Assad unleashed nerve gas in 2013, exactly one year after the president warned of serious consequences.

No air strikes were launched. 

Crowley points out that just two years after direct training of Syrian rebels was raised, the equation in Syria is a lot of more complicated, casting doubt on how effective a dramatically bolstered training effort might be. 

"We're [the United States] more interested in seeing the rebels fight the Islamists than we are in seeing them defeating Assad. It's a real three-dimensional chess game right now," he said.

You May Like

Video Video Claims to Show Shi'ite Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

While not yet independently confirmed, brutal killing already has gotten attention of Islamic State followers on social media More

After Six Years, Little Change for Niger Delta's Former Militants

Nigerians who laid down arms in exchange for government amnesty subsidies fear program may end with upcoming presidential elections More

Vietnam Pushes for More Educated Drivers to Curb Road Deaths

Transportation officials hope that making a greater effort to get drivers to learn the rules of the road will reduce fatal crashes More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Igor from: Russia
June 30, 2014 11:14 PM
"when Assad unleashed nerve gas in 2013, exactly one year after the president warned of serious consequences". You speak as if indeed Assad had unleashed nerve gas without any convincing proof. It is similar to the case when you blamed Sadam for having mass destruction weapons. Is it the nature of your media?

by: meanbill from: USA
June 30, 2014 5:52 PM
CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? -- This US President requests $500 million dollars from the US Congress, to arm and train the Sunni Muslim extremists/terrorists in Jordan and Turkey, (like the US and NATO countries already does), to provide them with more advance weapons to make war on the Shia Muslim led country of Syria... (and that will supposedly help Shia Muslim led Iraq, who needs those US advance weapons themselves), to fight the invading Sunni Muslim (ISIL) "Caliph of all Islam" .... (BELIEVE IT?)...... (this US President believes, that arming and training Sunni Muslims to make war on the Shia Muslims in Syria), will help fight the growing army of the (ISIL) Sunni Muslims fighters of "the Caliph of all Islam" al-Baghdadi, IN IRAQ?...... CRAZY isn't it?

MY OWN PERSONAL OPINION? -- This has to be the craziest plan any sane person ever came up with, (and only a moron, idiot or imbecile), could design such a moronic, idiotic, imbecilic, plan.... (ARM and TRAIN the Sunni Muslims in Jordan and Turkey, "to fight against the Shia Muslim led government in Syria" and that'll help the Shia Muslim led government of Iraq?).... "The Art of Moronic, Idiotic, Imbecilic War Planning" by the US President Barack Obama?.... with help from the (3) stooges?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planeti
X
George Putic
March 04, 2015 8:51 PM
NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More