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 London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    City could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters

    Turkey Aims New Crackdown at Journalists, Academics, Airline Workers

    Ankara continues targeting people allegedly linked to exiled cleric, who it says led the failed military coup

    Pakistan Ready to Inaugurate Rebuilt Afghan Border Crossing

    Construction of Torkham Gate triggered deadly clashes between Pakistani and Afghan military forces

    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.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora