News / Middle East

Obama Ponders Best Timing for Syria Attack

President Barack Obama pauses while speaking at a ceremony in Washington, Aug. 28, 2013.
President Barack Obama pauses while speaking at a ceremony in Washington, Aug. 28, 2013.
Zlatica Hoke
Speculation is rife about the possible timing of U.S. air strikes on Syria, after President Barack Obama announced Wednesday that he is considering a military response to the Syrian army's alleged use of chemical weapons. The administration now has to decide on the best time to launch a strike.
 
Obama, focused on his goal of boosting the U.S. economy and reducing the national debt, has been reluctant to involve the U.S. military in Syria.  But he also had pledged to act if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad crossed a "red line" by using banned weapons in the war against the opposition.  
 
Political analyst Ilan Berman of the American Foreign Policy Council says there are reasons for immediate action, but also reasons for a delay. He said the Obama administration avoided letting the United States act on its own against the forces of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.  
 
"I think here, too, there is going to be a desire on the part of the Obama administration to make sure that it is not left to go it alone if it does move against Syria, to marshal support from the European states, in particular from the U.K. (Britain), France and Germany to make sure that if there is military action against Syria, it's not American, but it's allied action," Berman said.
 
Retired U.S. Air Force officer Sam Gardiner told Alhurra TV that coalition building efforts have stalled, but that the preparations for a strike are going on. 
 
"U.S. forces are in place ready to conduct a strike at any minute," he said.  "The British have flown six fighter aircraft to Cyprus and they are in place. The only thing that is not in place is a coalition."
 
A U.N. investigation team has yet to publish a report on its findings from the field in Syria, but the Obama administration says it has concrete evidence that the Syrian government used the banned weapons.  U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel also has said the military is ready to go into action at any moment.  
 
To some observers, like Jeffrey White at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, this means a U.S. military strike is imminent.  
 
"It could come pretty quickly.  It could be tonight," noted White. "There are some people who are talking about it - that it might be as early as tonight, but that doesn't allow for the U.N. inspectors to get out of the Damascus area, which is going to be the focal point probably for the attacks. So I am thinking [that it is going to happen] more likely over the weekend."
 
The United States said it is planning a surgical attack that is not aimed at changing the regime in Syria. According to President Obama, even a limited attack will send a message to the Assad government that it will be held accountable for breaking international laws.
 
Syrian President Assad said Thursday Damascus will retaliate for any foreign attack, sparking fear of a chemical weapons attack on Israel, Turkey, Jordan and others.
 

You May Like

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: kezaala suudi from: uganda
August 30, 2013 9:35 AM
Syria should be attacked for violating international norms

by: Glenn Smith from: New Orleans
August 30, 2013 7:20 AM
Given that our country is now seen to be acting in a most independent and reckless manner, what if one of our Tomahawk missiles goes astray and hits a residential neighborhood? This will mark the end of our moral authority on the world stage.

by: Jackson H from: California
August 30, 2013 6:58 AM
On behalf of the American people; STAY OUT OF SYRIA!

by: Bearman from: U.S.A.
August 30, 2013 6:51 AM
In selecting a time for an attack on Syria, choose the "none of the above" option. This administration has made our country a laughing stock around the world. Our most steadfast supporters have abandoned us. To attack just because we can, does not mean that we should.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

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