News / Middle East

Obama: No Decision Yet on Syria Response

U.S. President Barack Obama answers questions during an interview in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington (file photo).U.S. President Barack Obama answers questions during an interview in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington (file photo).
x
U.S. President Barack Obama answers questions during an interview in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington (file photo).
U.S. President Barack Obama answers questions during an interview in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington (file photo).
U.S. President Barack Obama says he has not yet made a decision about how to respond to what the United States sees as the use of chemical weapons in Syria, but he says that Washington has concluded that Syria's government carried out the attacks. 
 
In an interview with the Public Broadcasting Service late Wednesday, Obama said he continues to have extensive discussions with his national security team and has received options from the military.
 
He said the U.S. has concluded that the government of President Bashar al-Assad on August 21 carried out an attack in a Damascus suburb, killing hundreds of people.
 
The president said the violation of an international norm against use of chemical weapons, in a volatile region, makes it necessary to respond.
 
"We have concluded that the Syrian government in fact carried these out and if that is so, then there need to be international consequences, so we are consulting with our allies, we are consulting with the international community.  I have no interest in any kind of open-ended conflict in Syria, but we do have to make sure that when countries break international norms on weapons like chemical weapons that could threaten us, they are held accountable," said Obama.
 
The U.S. president was asked what a military strike, even a limited one, would accomplish.
 
He said that while it would not solve the problems in Syria, it would send a strong signal to the regime in Damascus.
 
"I think it's important that if in fact we make a choice to have repercussions for the use of chemical weapons, then the Assad regime which is involved in a civil war, trying to protect itself, will have received a pretty strong signal that in fact it better not do it again."
 
Obama reiterated U.S. readiness to work with anyone, including Syria's main ally Russia, toward a political transition and bring parties together to resolve the conflict.
 
The president, however, said Syria must understand that it cannot break international norms and standards of decency and create a situation in which U.S. national interests are affected.
 
Obama referred to the regional impact from the Syrian conflict, potential threats to U.S. allies and partners such as Turkey, as well as Israel and Jordan, and U.S. bases in the region.
 
The United States, he said, cannot permit a "breach of the non-proliferation norm" that could allow chemical weapons to fall into the wrong hands.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
August 29, 2013 12:46 PM
Look at this: "I think it's important that if in fact we make a choice to have repercussions for the use of chemical weapons, then the Assad regime…, will have received a pretty strong signal that in fact it better not do it again." What is this supposed to mean? What message is it supposed to pass to Assad, to the opposition whom he’s killed in their numbers, to the world that is watching the leadership of the USA to give it direction? No Mr. President, you seem to get it wrong. It seems you are coming from the wrong direction. Why do murder or other dangerous offences suspects, have to be handcuffed? If you give Mr. Assad this much freedom and space to operate, how many more will he kill before he is captured?

What if he decides to send one cannon or canister of the poison gas to the nearby US/UN military camp in the region? What if he decides to send one to Israel, Jordan, Turkey or Saudi Arabia in his last ditch suicide mission? No Mr. President, it is not right to have a madman moving freely among unarmed people within a volatile region like Syria’s neighborhood, the Middle East. But why does the president of USA have to take decades to come up with decisions of this kind but will make a split second decision to approve certain inhuman and social ills in the name of freedoms and liberty?

The decision to stop Assad will not stop at firing a few warning shots but will in fact ensure that he has no more access to arms and power with which to kill more people. By his personal decision to use the poison gas in violation of norms, Assad has chosen to face the consequences – if captured. He has chosen to kiss victory in the war bye. Anything short of removing Assad, stopping the civil war in Syria, and providing a level playing ground for all parties in the country to vie for positions in an election with equal opportunities to all stakeholders, is a failed mission.

by: Ben
August 29, 2013 7:17 AM
I`m sure that the "leader from behind" will never attack Syria alone.

by: Mark from: California
August 29, 2013 6:32 AM
There is a remote but plausible chance the gassings might have been funded by the very folks who initially validated the events. I say this with deep misgivings, I do not know personally.

But if the gassings were used to validate eliciting "a return fire" by the US, sure to elicit response from Iran to Israel and from Russia to who knows where, the mess might be intended to force the US to get involved in tangling with Iran ( complicated by the truly evil Russians / Putin ), when for US interests, this is hardly justified independently of the Syrian mess.

None of this is obvious, but certain foreign covert ops hardly leave fingerprints. If it turns out years later we find validation of my speculation, and we thought a purportedly innocuous remote launch of cruise missiles to take out parts of the Syrian military, catalyzed a massive conflagration ( ie to less thoughtfully antagonize Russia and Iran ) and resulted in something tending towards the start of a tragic massive regional war ( that did not end with the sterile likely cruise missile launches ), that would be a needless tragedy of orders of magnitude larger loss of life than the few folks ( tragedy in of itself ) who were gassed.

I would not put it past the foreign parties unnamed, to try this and I say this with heavy heart since I am of related ethnic religious background, but the threat of Iran to an unnamed nation, might be used to deceptively rationalize paying for the limited Syrian gassings by the foreign entitiy. Unthinkable, unconscionable, devious and thoughtless if this were the case. ( I do not know it just smells too fishy )

Obama is a wise and thoughtful president, truly and patriotic like no tomorrow. Sadly there might be a chance this Syrian situation is of manipulation on a level seemingly innocuous, but devilish beyond comprehension. I hope none of this is the case, I worry the obvious might be ignored.

Pray this passes without incident, pray we do not precipitate a possibly needless conflagration easy to spiral out of control. Pray hard. Pray for us all...Pray Obama uses his brilliant wisdom and foresight to a level he truly knows he really does excel at often amazingly.

by: oldlamb from: Guanzhou
August 29, 2013 2:45 AM
The lie of Iraqi style is rising now.U.S. government lied that the weapons of mass destructions consisted in Iraq before Irag war.
In the Arab spring,Jewish are the only winner,American government is the toy that Jewish manipulate the world.

by: TonyBellchambers from: London UK
August 29, 2013 12:34 AM
"President Barack Obama is weighing a limited response that focuses on punishing the Syrian government for violating international agreements that bar the use of chemical weapons"

Similar to the response that punished Israel for using banned white phosphorus against a civilian population in Gaza in 2008 in which over 300 children were killed?

by: Monchan from: Japan
August 28, 2013 11:33 PM
It seems to be very strange that the US will eventually help Al Qaeda in terms of attacking the Shiite. The Western countries have kicked out many ‘dictators’, such as Saddam, Gadhafi, Mubarak, Morsi, and now Assad, however, no democratic countries have come into being among them even now. On the contrary, terror and criminals are consequently spreading to other regions, because of the Westerns’ interventions. Before blaming for Assad administration about chemical weapon, Obama should reflect on himself about the heavy usage of drone strikes without any trials especially on innocent and collateral people.

by: Markt
August 28, 2013 9:44 PM
Once again, we are trying to impose Western standards and norms of decency on a culture that abides by an entirely different set of norms and standards of decency. Whatever view we place on the use of chemical weapons, it is not the view of some cultures intent on doing everything at their disposal to protect themselves, as Syria has repeatedly maintained it is doing.
We made this mistake 12 years ago, let us not make this mistake again. Whatever the U.N. decides is appropriate, even if it is not what we think it should be, it should be a decision we abide by, no matter how difficult a pill it is for us to swallow.
We cannot, we should not, take matters into our own hands this time. We had our own period of civil war that lasted for four bloody years. We would have been greatly resentful if any other nation had tried to intervene on what we considered our problem to solve. And our Civil War cost this country over 600,000 lives. I've said it before, it is not our business to dictate what other countries do in their domestic difficulties. This is a matter for the Syrians to work out, and a decision of the United Nations to decide what is appropriate to do regarding those who use chemical weapons against its own people.

by: henry northwood from: Canada
August 28, 2013 9:40 PM
the logic behind the words should not come from a gentlemen mouth, and much like from a rogue mouth.

we donot need proof and truth, if needed, any faked one is OK, from the Gulf of Tonkin Incident to iraq, now to syria.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs