News / USA

    World Powers Split Over US Plan to Punish Syria

    World Powers Split Over US Plan to Punish Syriai
    X
    September 07, 2013 4:24 AM
    The Group of 20 split down the middle Friday on the question of supporting the United States in punishing Syria’s government for apparently gassing civilians two weeks ago in Damascus. VOA's James Brooke reports that as the G-20 meeting ended in St. Petersburg, the White House released a statement endorsed by U.S. President Barack Obama and 10 other world leaders.
    VIDEO: Group of 20 cleaved down the middle Friday on question of supporting U.S. in push for strikes against the Syria’s government.
    James Brooke
    The Group of 20 split down the middle Friday on the question of supporting the United States in punishing Syria’s government for apparently gassing civilians two weeks ago in Damascus.

    As the G-20 meeting ended in St. Petersburg, the White House released a statement endorsed by U.S. President Barack Obama and 10 other world leaders. It said: “The world cannot wait for endless failed processes that can only lead to increased suffering in Syria and regional instability. We support efforts undertaken by the United States and other countries to reinforce the prohibition on the use of chemical weapons.”

    Obama said his next step will be to appeal directly to the American people in a televised address from the White House on Tuesday. The U.S. president is seeking approval from the U.S. Congress for air strikes against Syria’s military.

    In Russia, he said the world cannot stand by while weapons of mass destruction are used against civilians.

    “Failing to respond to this breach of this international norm would send a signal to rogue nations, authoritarian regimes and terrorist organizations that they can use W.M.D. and not pay a consequence - and that’s not a world we want to live in,” the American president told reporters.

    Making a case

    The statement backing U.S. action was endorsed by the leaders of Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Spain, and Turkey.

    During his 24 hours in St. Petersburg, the American president stressed that military action will be limited to punishing the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for gassing civilians.

    “Gassing innocent people, delivering chemical weapons against children, is not something we do,” he said at the press conference. “It’s prohibited in active wars between countries, even more so against children, and we’ve got to stand up for that principle.”

    Obama repeatedly refused to say whether he would order air attacks against Syria if Congress does not vote to authorize use of military force.

    In St. Petersburg, the American president repeatedly was countered by Russian President Vladimir Putin - in a 20-minute one-on-one meeting Thursday night, and at group meetings of the world leaders.

    Putin presses point

    At Putin’s press conference, he listed the countries that supported his position of non-interference.

    “Who was categorically against?” he asked. “Russia, China, India, Indonesia - I draw your attention, the largest Muslim country in the world in terms of population - Argentina, Brazil, South Africa.”

    While several countries are against U.S. action, the Russian president also took what are increasingly minority positions: casting doubt that chemical weapons were used and saying that, if they were, it was opposition fighters who used them.

    “I assume that everything that happened with the so-called chemical weapons, is a provocation by the fighters, who are counting on to their side, on the help of those countries who from the beginning supported them,” said Putin. “That's the whole point of this provocation.”

    A reporter asked the Russian president if Russia would send military aid to Syria in the event of an attack by the United States.

    “Are we going to help Syria?” asked Putin. “We will. The way we now help. We supply weapons, we cooperate in the economic sphere. I hope there will be more cooperation in the humanitarian sphere.”

    Russia's reprisals

    Earlier in the week, the Russian leader suggested that if the United States attacks, the Kremlin would consider completing delivery of sophisticated S-300 air-defense missiles to Syria.

    Russia’s support of Syria’s government is so rock solid, that the Obama administration has little hope of winning support in the United Nations Security Council.

    Russia has vetoed three Syria resolutions in the Security Council. On Thursday, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said: "Russia continues to hold the Council hostage and shirk its responsibility."

    With the world divided and congressional support in doubt, the American president seems to face an uphill battle to forge ahead with air strikes.

    • Russia's President Vladimir Putin, center foreground, gestures as he walks by U.S. President Barack Obama, front row second right, as he takes his place at a group photo outside of the Konstantin Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia, Sept. 6, 2013.
    • U.S. President Barack Obama, right, walks with Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel prior to a group photo of G-20 leaders outside of the Konstantin Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia, Sept. 6, 2013. 
    • An image of U.S. President Barack Obama drinking out of a paper cup is shown on a large screen in the media center of a G-20 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia, Sept. 6, 2013. 
    • British Prime Minister David Cameron speaks during a media conference after a G-20 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia on Friday, Sept. 6, 2013.
    • Russian President Vladimir Putin (C) arrives for the family picture event during the G20 summit in St. Petersburg, Sept. 6, 2013.
    • U.S. President Barack Obama walks away after shaking hands with Russia's President Vladimir Putin during arrivals for the G20 Summit at the Konstantin Palace in St. Petersburg, Sept. 5, 2013.
    • U.S. President Barack Obama meets with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the G20 Summit in St. Petersburg, Sept. 5, 2013.
    • A man protests possible military action in Syria as the first day of the G20 Summit gets underway in St. Petersburg, Sept. 5, 2013.
    • BRICS leaders' at the G20 Summit in Strelna near St. Petersburg, Sept. 5, 2013.
    • Participants sit at a table during a BRICS leaders' meeting at the G20 Summit in Strelna near St. Petersburg, Sept. 5, 2013.
    • Apples are seen on the ground next to statues across the street from the Constantine Palace, the venue for a G20 meeting in St. Petersburg, Sept. 4, 2013.

    You May Like

    Video Russia's Expat Community Shrinking

    Russia's troubled economy, tensions with West have led hundreds of thousands of foreigners to leave for better opportunities

    Accelerating the Push Against Islamic State: What Will Work?

    Experts stress need to step up military action, address root causes of Muslims' disaffection, counter IS social media messages in a massive way

    Experts: N. Korean Abductions Sought to Halt Brain Drain

    Pyongyang abducted about 3,800 South Koreans and more than a dozen Japanese nationals in late 1970s

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 2
     Previous    
    by: Bob Vedari from: Van Nuys, CA
    September 06, 2013 6:01 PM
    "The world is split" - there are those who have no moral conscience and are fine with the slaughter of civilians. Then there are those who have a moral conscience, but doubt the ability of The Messiah to do anything worthwhile because his track record of worthwhile things sucks. It's not so much a left-right thing. It's a don't care-don't trust thing.

    by: Marin Dinca from: San Diego
    September 06, 2013 5:46 PM
    We know the criminals in an abominable crime; they profit from it! No aggression war can start without the WAR HYSTERIA manufactured by the "media”; that is people who won it. The West is arming one side in the civil war – Russians are arming Syria against Israel’s air attacks (see S-300 antiaircraft missiles). The real question is: would we attack Syria if they are willing to use chemical weapons? Syrians have no place to go. They may use any weapons if faced with extermination. Israel would/may do the same. So, my best hope is that US would just give the Russians a bloody nose by taking out the S-300 antiaircraft missiles… and if Iran moves a finger, we got the chance to take their nuclear facilities out (a slap in the face to the Russians for they have built Iran’s, first nuclear power plant). A “limited” nuclear accident/war is possible in the East Mediterranean Sea –far away from USA! After all, what good make the nuclear (or chemical) weapons if no one is using them?! There is not that much radioactive fallout at sea. There is life now in the Bikini islands… We know all wars are started by cowards. Benjamin Franklin (see his picture on US largest dollar bill!) said: “there never was a good war or a bad peace” or something like that… Today, media treats the American Government as if they are a bunch of teenagers (or mentally retarded) with their talk about “credibility”. Credibility is what we need? We can destroy the life on this planet with our nuclear arsenal. Is there a country/people on the face of the Earth that knows NOT that? At times, God gives a person or a Nation much power and He takes it away if it is abused.
    In Response

    by: Ramnarayan from: Florida, USA
    September 07, 2013 2:05 PM
    The way American govt. is acting they qualifies them to be called imbeciles. It is a shame that you have such a stunted development. You must live in a world which is devoid of any intellects. We are the only nation that has nuclear missiles. If everybody has the same twisted thinking you would expect out of us Americans, just pause to imagine the consequence. We need more, not less press to question the govt. We are supposed to be a democracy, not a sheik kingdom.
    In Response

    by: Markt
    September 06, 2013 7:43 PM
    a 'limited nuclear accident /war'? 'What good make the nuclear (or chemical) weapons if no one is using them'? Your quotes...and you are out of your friggin' head for thinking that...
    Bikini Atoll returning to life, after 55 years since the last nuclear test was done (and the 6 tests before that). As far as chemical weapons are concerned, have you seen what a chemical agent can do to a person, even a non-lethal one? As a former Marine, I have seen it. It is a terrible, painful and agonizing experience, and you wish you would die from it. And, as far as a 'limited nuclear accident /war' try googling nuclear disasters, like Chernobyl, and the most recent one in Japan. Google Hiroshima and Nagasaki, if you want to know the effects of the use of nuclear weapons does to a people.
    You obviously do not know your history, if you think that such actions are good. 'not much radioactive fallout at sea', none that affect people? How about sea life, the fish we consume? I cannot even think of any more harm any country can do, than to unleash a nuclear 'accident' on anyone else...
    Just because it will never happen to you (God forbid), doesn't mean it isn't terrible, and something to be prevented from happening at all costs...
    Comments page of 2
     Previous    

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.