News

    Obama: Acting Alone Against Syria Would be a 'Mistake'

    President Barack Obama gestures during a news conference at the White House, Tuesday, March 6, 2012.
    President Barack Obama gestures during a news conference at the White House, Tuesday, March 6, 2012.
    Kent Klein

    President Barack Obama said Tuesday that unilateral military action by the United States against the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would be a mistake. He made the comments Obama’s first news conference of the year also addressed Iran, Afghanistan, immigration and the U.S. economy.

    The president again resisted calls for sending U.S. troops to stop Assad’s crackdown in Syria, in which 7,500 people have been killed.

    “For us to take military action unilaterally, as some have suggested, or to think that somehow there is some simple solution, I think is a mistake,” Obama said.

    Obama said the situation is more complicated than the one in Libya, where NATO troops helped to protect anti-government forces against a crackdown by that country’s leader, Moammar Gadhafi.

    The president has used economic sanctions and diplomacy to pressure Assad to step down.

    President Obama also defended his use of sanctions to press Iran’s government to give up what the international community says is its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

    “Iran is feeling the bite of these sanctions in a substantial way.  The world is unified.  Iran is politically isolated,” Obama said.

    Obama said there is a “window of opportunity,” in which the dispute with Iran can still be solved diplomatically.  Tehran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.

    President Obama accused his Republican Party political opponents of “beating the drums of war,” for criticizing his emphasis on diplomacy.

    “Those folks do not have a lot of responsibilities.  They are not commander in chief.  When I see the casualness with which some of these folks talk about war, I am reminded of the costs involved in war,” Obama said.

    The president said Iran needs to return to negotiations and discuss ways to prove that the intentions of its nuclear program are peaceful.

    On Afghanistan, Obama said preparations continue for the transition of security responsibilities from NATO to Afghan forces in 2014.  The president said he is concerned about the accidental burning of copies of the Quran by U.S. and allied forces.  He noted that the resulting violence against Americans is unacceptable.

    “I think that it is an indication of the challenges in that environment, and it is an indication that now is the time for us to transition,” Obama said.

    Obama addressed a question about U.S. immigration, saying that if he is reelected, he will propose legislation to reform the nation's immigration system.

    And he responded to a question about rising oil prices by asking the reporter whether he believes the president would want gasoline prices to rise during an election year.

    Join the conversation on our social journalism site -
    Middle East Voices
    . Follow our Middle East reports on
    Twitter and discuss them on our Facebook page.
    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora