News / Middle East

Mixed Reaction in Mideast to US Syria Strategy

Supporters of religious and political leader Muqtada al-Sadr demonstrate against the possibility of a U.S. military strike against the Syrian government, in Baghdad's Sadr City August 30, 2013.
Supporters of religious and political leader Muqtada al-Sadr demonstrate against the possibility of a U.S. military strike against the Syrian government, in Baghdad's Sadr City August 30, 2013.
Edward Yeranian
Reaction in the Middle East was mixed to the U.S. decision to take the debate over alleged chemical weapons usage by the Syrian government to Congress.
 
Syrian state TV showed government supporters expressing support for the army, and its announcers sounded a defiant note against the U.S. after a planned military action was delayed for debate in the U.S. Congress.
 
Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad described President Obama as "hesitant and confused" for his decision to seek congressional approval for a military strike against Syria.  
 
A professor of international law at Damascus University told Syrian TV that Syria had tentatively prevailed over countries “trying to commit aggression against it,” but that the U.N. weapons inspectors had been prevented from carrying out their original mission:
 
He said that weapons inspectors were invited to investigate (the alleged use of chemical weapons by the opposition) in Khan al Assel (outside Aleppo), but were prevented from that mission by (the new crisis in Damascus' suburbs), meant to divert attention from a rebel chemical weapons attack.
 
At a press conference in Damascus, the Iranian parliament's foreign affairs committee chief, Ala'a Eddin Borojurdi, insisted that Tehran “condemns the use of chemical weapons,” but accused rebels of “using hand-made chemical weapons” against government troops.
 
'Playing with fire'

Borojurdi also accused the U.S. of “playing with fire” by supporting what he called Sunni Islamist “terrorists” among the Syrian rebels:
 
He claimed that U.S. President Barack Obama and U.S. allies are supporting terrorism in the region and will now have to present an account to their peoples for what they are doing.
 
In Cairo, Arab League foreign ministers held formal and informal meetings Sunday to discuss the crisis in Syria. Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al Faisal told a press conference that it was high time that the conflict in Syria was brought to an end:
 
He said that it is time for the Arab League and the world community to do what is needed to help the Syrian people by using all means at their disposal to put an end to the bloodshed.
 
He went on to say that President Obama will “seek authorization from Congress” for a “limited use of force” including “rockets,” but “not ground troops,” in order to protect the Syrian people.
 
Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy said his country is against the use of force, instead calling for a renewed push to hold a peace conference in Geneva and to let international courts pass judgment over the use of chemical weapons. 
 
He said that the use of chemical weapons is a legal and moral issue that must be dealt with by international law and the appropriate U.N. institutions, and Egypt is against using armed force in the case. 
 
Arab satellite channels reported that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told a visiting Iranian parliamentary delegation that “threats against Damascus from the U.S. and its allies” would not deter it from continuing what he called “its battle against terrorism.”

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

1855 Slave Brochure Starkly Details Sale of Black Americans

Document lists entire families that were up for sale in New Orleans, offering graphic insight into the slavery trade More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs