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

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally Draws Thousands in Washington

President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' 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.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs