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

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

Researcher: Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor at Symposium on Obesity, Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome says problem involves more than calorie intake, warns of worldwide health impact More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
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.

VOA Blogs