News / USA

Syria, Surveillance Issues Await Obama at G8, Berlin

Kent Klein
President Barack Obama leaves early Monday for the Group of Eight summit in Northern Ireland and a visit to Berlin.  The conflict in Syria and U.S. surveillance policies will be among the main topics of discussion.

While the G8 is normally considered an economic summit, this year’s gathering at a resort in Northern Ireland will address the bloodshed in Syria…and whether eight of the world’s most influential countries can stop it.  

Russian President Vladimir Putin is the only G8 leader who supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.  He is seen as the key to any G8 agreement on Syria, according to Scheherazade Rehman, the director of Europe studies at George Washington University.

“Putin loves this kind of stuff," Rehman said. "He is the center of attention at this particular juncture.  He knows that, without him, no peace deal can be brokered with Assad.”

Presidents Obama and Putin will meet separately at the G8, and Syria will likely be the main topic there, too, says James Goldgeier, Dean of the American University School of International Service.

“[The] best that probably could be hoped for is, again, a push for an international conference, at which the different parties in the Syrian conflict would actually attend," said Goldgeier. "And whether or not they can achieve that, or whether or not events on the ground are preventing that from happening, remains to be seen.”

However, Goldgeier believes the U.S. and Russian presidents can work together on some other issues. “They both have a strong interest in counterterrorism.  I think both sides have an interest in seeing that Iran does not develop nuclear weapons.  They have an interest in trying to defuse the situation on the Korean Peninsula,” he added.

The Lough Erne Golf Resort Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, June 13, 2013.The Lough Erne Golf Resort Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, June 13, 2013.
x
The Lough Erne Golf Resort Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, June 13, 2013.
The Lough Erne Golf Resort Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, June 13, 2013.
While in Northern Ireland, Obama also wants to push forward talks toward a major U.S.-European Union free trade agreement, which could boost jobs and growth by eliminating tariffs and other barriers.

The president is likely to be confronted with the issue of U.S. government surveillance, both at the summit and when he meets with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin later in the week.

Rehman said the issue might complicate their meeting. “NSA had put that program in place to spy on Middle East intelligence.  It has now since come out that this has been in Europe and particularly Germany as well," he noted. "And the German public are in a bit of an uproar about this.  Rightly so, because they believe that the U.S. is infringing on basic civil rights, not only in the U.S., but it is extending to Western Europe now.”

Obama also will speak at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate, near where he addressed an estimated 200,000 people during his 2008 presidential campaign.

You May Like

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor More

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.
Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Studentsi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
March 05, 2015 9:04 PM
The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More