News / Middle East

The Syria Waiting Game: A Middle East Media Roundup

A Free Syrian Army fighter watches U.S. President Barack Obama's speech with his family in Ghouta, Damascus August 31, 2013. Obama on Saturday backed away from an imminent military strike against Syria to seek the approval of the U.S. Congress, in a decis
A Free Syrian Army fighter watches U.S. President Barack Obama's speech with his family in Ghouta, Damascus August 31, 2013. Obama on Saturday backed away from an imminent military strike against Syria to seek the approval of the U.S. Congress, in a decis
TEXT SIZE - +
Cecily Hilleary
— As European support for military intervention in Syria continued to slip, U.S President Barack Obama decided over the weekend to leave the matter to American lawmakers.  But Congress won’t reconvene for another week, and this delay has only heightened tensions in the Middle East.  Over the weekend, the issue made headlines across the region as governments grappled with the possible consequences of another war in the region.  Here is a sampling of some very mixed opinions:

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has taken a tough stand, urging the international community to take ‘decisive and serious action’ against the regime of Bashar al Assad, and Saudi commentators are critical of what they see as a lack of resolve on the part of the U.S. to take action.  The Saudi-owned pan-Arabic daily Al-Sharq al-Awsat says no matter what Obama decides, he remains a weak leader:  “Obama seems to be afraid of any consequences such a strike may entail. What he wants is a quick, limited and narrowly focused strike. He does not want to be dragged into a wider regional war.”

Al-Jazirah’s Nasir Al-Sirami says this is Obama’s “last chance” and urges him to take action that will save his—and America’s—credibility: “Strike at all the jihadi terrorist gatherings and the murderous regime…Mr. Obama, quite frankly, we do not have anyone other than you.”

An editorial in Jedda’s Al-Madinah called “Test of Credibility” says that America’s insistence that any intervention in Syria will be brief and limited only strengthens Assad and gains him more support domestically.   

Obama to Bashar: "Missiles, bombs, tank shells, artillery and warplanes are allowed, but NOT chemical weapons!"Obama to Bashar: "Missiles, bombs, tank shells, artillery and warplanes are allowed, but NOT chemical weapons!"
x
Obama to Bashar: "Missiles, bombs, tank shells, artillery and warplanes are allowed, but NOT chemical weapons!"
Obama to Bashar: "Missiles, bombs, tank shells, artillery and warplanes are allowed, but NOT chemical weapons!"
Qatar

In an Al-Arab editorial Saturday, Awad al-Salman wrote that while he “strongly supports any Western and US military strike on Syria against Bashar al-Assad's forces and thugs,” he questions why the US does not want to topple the regime, concluding that Washington actually seeks Assad’s survival.  Meanwhile, in the same publication, Isma'il Basha wrote, “We approve a military intervention in Syria to prevent Al-Assad's regime and its satanic allies from persecuting with impunity the Syrian people who are defenseless against the Scud missiles, the massive bombs, the chemical weapons, and the collective killing machine.”

United Arab Emirates:

Radwan al-Sayyid  wrote in Sunday’s Al-Ittihad  that it is still not known who was actually involved in the chemical attack outside Damascus August 21.  In the same issue, writer Shamlan Yusuf al-Aysi looked at the potential consequences of a strike on Syria, asking, “What will be the Gulf’s reaction if Hezballah responds in Lebanon? Will its supporters in the Gulf remain silent if Israel launches a war with Lebanon?”  And he asked how Gulf states will deal with Gulf jihadists now involved in the Syrian conflict:

“Realistically, our Gulf region produces jihadists due to the politicization of region and the regimes’ silence over the imposition of ideological viewpoints on education and mosques that are against the nationalist, liberal, civil thought,” he said.

In the Dubai-based English-language newspaper Khaleej Times, Eric S. Margolis wrote Sunday, “Let’s face some hard facts about the vicious conflict in Syria: If the US directly attacks Syria, the real cause will not be the recent chemical attacks... The Syrian conflict is a proxy war being waged against Iran by the United States, conservative Arab oil producers, and three former Mideast colonial powers, Britain, France and Turkey who are seeking to restore their domination in the region.”

Egypt

Al-Azhar, Egypt's highest Islamic institution, released a statement Sunday expressing its disapproval of the use of chemical weapons in Syria, while at the same time condemning US plans for a military strike as an assault on and threat to the Arab world and the nation of Islam. 

Meanwhile, in a Monday commentary in the state-owned Al- Gomhuria daily paper, Yasser Abdallah wrote that the Egyptian public opposes a strike on Syria, not because it supports the Assad regime but because it opposes destroying the Syrian military. 

And Al-Akhbar’s Nabil Zaki says that the real goal of the war in Syria is to destroy the Syrian entity,  partition and divide the country by sects and establish an even more totalitarian regime.

Israel:

In Israel there is concern that Obama’s apparent reticence to strike Syria bodes ill for a future strike on Iran.  Yediot Aharonot noted Sunday that senior Israeli officials were stunned by President Obama’s decision to seek congressional approval for a strike:  “Al-Assad is sitting rubbing his hands gleefully, and the Iranians are laughing all the way to the nuclear bomb.”

But the Jerusalem Post says the U.S. president has taken an unfair beating: “…The West’s reaction on the Syrian front shouldn’t be perceived as a litmus test regarding how we can expect the US and other Western countries to react if and when Iran is on the verge of attaining nuclear weapon capability.

Syria

Assad himself, who met with Iranian officials in Damascus over the weekend, appears determined to continue what he calls a “fight against terrorism” and says Syria is perfectly capable of dealing with any confrontation by external force.  Syrian state media Sunday labeled Obama’s delay as a retreat due to the “disappearance of his allies.” 

Al-Thawra’s Chief editor Ali Qasim wrote Sunday:  “Today, the policeman of the world does not content himself with blowing his whistles and waving his thick baton, which has long been his tool for the implementation of his aggression.  But he also lectures in ethics, treaties, and principles, while he is the only one in the world who has used every banned weapons, from the nuclear to the chemical, passing by the napalm, and not ending with the bacterial ones, the depleted uranium, and other.”  And he concludes with: “And while the regional and global ebullition reaches its peak, the American's allusion to the use of the stick of aggression, deferred, or brought forward temporarily toward Congress, means that he is playing in the last quarter-time before the fig leaf falls -- or what is left of it -- as a season of political nakedness awaits him, even if he tried to wear, or covers himself up with the mantle of Congress."

You May Like

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. 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.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid