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.
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid