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

FIFA Indictments Put Gold Cup Tournament Under Cloud

Experts say US indictments could lead to charges of other world soccer officials, and lead to major shakeup in sport's governance More

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

At a recent even in Seoul, border communities promoted benefits of increased cooperation and North Korean defectors shared stories of life since the war More

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Persian service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win 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.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
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 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 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 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.

VOA Blogs