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

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid