News / Middle East

    Syria Weapons Deal Could Change Dynamic of War

    Syria Weapons Deal Could Change Dynamic of Wari
    X
    September 18, 2013 10:02 PM
    Middle East analysts say the agreement to dismantle Syria’s chemical weapons is a potential game-changer in the bloody civil war. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports from Washington.
    Meredith Buel
    Middle East analysts say the agreement to dismantle Syria’s chemical weapons is a potential game-changer in the bloody civil war.

    The chemical weapons deal has not lessened the furious fighting in Syria’s civil war. Analysts say it will have long-term consequences, though, bolstering President Bashar al-Assad, while infuriating rebels trying to oust him.

    Steven Bucci, who directs foreign policy studies at The Heritage Foundation in Washington, said, “On the ground, the resistance forces are probably the losers in this, and Bashar al-Assad is clearly the winner. He has now gotten some cover and credibility both from Russia and now from the rest of the international community.”

    Appearing on ABC’s This Week, President Barack Obama disagreed. “It is hard to envision how Mr. Assad regains any kind of legitimacy after he has gassed or his military has gassed innocent civilians and children.”

    The agreement removes the immediate possibility of an American military strike because Assad said he now will give up his chemical weapons.

    Rebels who hoped to regain momentum believe they now are facing the likelihood of a government escalation.

    The biggest group of rebel fighters is led by General Salim Idris, who said, “We think that the Russians and the Syrian regime are playing games to waste time and to win time for the criminal regime in Damascus.”

    Analysts say the deal elevates Russian President Vladimir Putin's standing internationally, while Moscow continues to provide Damascus with weapons.

    Salman Shaikh, director of the Brookings Doha Center, said, “Russia has raised its strategic profile. It is on a level with the United States in terms of importance in determining the affairs of the Middle East.”

    Shaikh said that could affect America's influence in the region. “President Obama himself may well be projecting a more weaker presidency for having not taken the action he said he would take.”

    So while Assad holds court in his palace, human rights groups say his forces kill at an alarming rate.  

    “I would say he is good for at least a year, year-and-a-half, which is sad because he is a horrific dictator and he has been doing terrible things to the Syrian people and they deserve better than that,” said Bucci.

    So while chemical weapons may be taken off the battlefield, conventional weapons will continue to claim a deadly toll as the war in Syria grinds on.

    You May Like

    Video Obama Remembers Fallen Troops for Memorial Day

    President urges Americans this holiday weekend to 'take a moment and offer a silent word of prayer or public word of thanks' to country's veterans

    Upsurge of Migratory Traffic Across Sahara From West to North Africa

    A report by the International Organization for Migration finds more than 60,000 migrants have transited through the Agadez region of Niger between February and April

    UN Blocks Access to Journalist Advocacy Group

    United Nations has rejected bid from nonprofit journalist advocacy group that wanted 'consultative status,' ranking that would have given them greater access to UN meetings

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
    September 19, 2013 11:05 PM
    It is clear those who appeal to the use of weapons are always losers in disputes and conflicts after all, even when they aim at retaliation.

    by: Regula from: USA
    September 18, 2013 8:39 PM
    The commentators are all very ready to accuse Russia of supporting Assad. But the fact that the US supports al Qaida and linked groups which make up about 50% of the fighters on the battlefield and that the US continues to arm them, that the commentators don't think is outrageous - even more so as the entire civil war was instigated by the US/KSA/Israel/Turkey/Qatar. Yes, Russia looks good now because Putin and Lavrov stood by Assad who is the legitimate government of Syria and rightfully classify the jihadis including rebels as invading terrorists. Assad isn't half as brutal as the jihadis and the US/Israel are. But the western press likes to mix up the facts with a brutal hit-down of separatists under his father. The US didn't think Assad was too brutal to rendition innocent people which the CIA picked up while they were vacationing in another country.

    As to the chemical weapons, it doesn't make a difference with how many supposed rockets stuck in the dirt they want to prove it was Assad who gassed his people - why would he gas civilians who aren't his enemy rather than the rebels who are? The evidence may well have been falsified before the UN investigators arrived. US intelligence has no images of any rockets fired from that position. And all the more after the US and KSA deliver the weapons to the rebels. It is pretty clear that the CIA staged this stuff. There are too many testimonies by people in Syria who point to the rebels and too much sarin found in the hands of al Qaida.

    by: LieutenantCharlie from: USA
    September 18, 2013 8:33 PM
    The U.S. President Bozo Bungles makes America look bad every time he opens his mouth.
    It is easy to see how he flunked out of three (3) Colleges when he talks. He appears to be almost an Idiot.
    In Response

    by: Greg deGiere from: Sacramento, CA
    September 19, 2013 11:35 PM
    It's fine that VOA allows wide open comment, even to the point of calling the president names.

    But VOA is to some extend responsible for the factual accuracy of comments it allows to be posted here. To say that Obama "flunked out of three colleges" is simply and provably inaccurate and should be omitted here.

    by: Az Boomer from: Scottsdale Az
    September 18, 2013 8:13 PM
    So Assad gassed innocent people..The rebels took over a Christian villkage and shot those that didn't convert to Islam. It's called a civil war because Americans can't understand a religious hate war. Unlike a civil war, which ever side wins they will still try to eliminate the other side and that is a religious war. Neither side will embrace democracy because Islam doesn't.
    In Response

    by: Nguyễn from: US
    September 19, 2013 1:59 PM
    Let Saudi Arabia and Arab nations help rebels in Syria.
    US and other white boys stay out. Period.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora