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

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video Survivor Video Testimonies Recount Horrors of Guatemalan Genocide

During a conflict that spanned more than three decades, tens of thousands of indigenous Mayans were killed More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
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 Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
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 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 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.

VOA Blogs