Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Is Obama finally going to take action against Syria?

DEBKAFILE is reporting the Obama administration is ready to step-up to the plate and finally take action against Syria for the murderous crackdown on protesters. The death toll is reported to be around one thousand, but I suspect it’s quite higher than that as a mass grave has been found near Deraa. Citizens from the southern city of Deraa say hundreds of Syrians are unaccounted for since a crackdown on protests began on March 18th and intensified when the army moved in on April 25th. President Obama is said to be readying sanctions on Syrian dictator Assad and plans to recall the American Ambassador Robert Ford for consultations. Obama has also decided to give the IAEA authorization to report Syria to the UN Security Council in regards to Syria’s apparent violation in building a plutonium reactor for military purposes at Deir A-Zour.

President Obama has been tardy when it comes to making decisive decisions in the foreign policy realm. Obama failed twice during the Iranian election fraud protests and was seen as weak in his response. Obama’s wavering response in Egypt left the State Department scrambling in trying to stay on the same page as the White House. In the end, longtime ally President Mubarak was essentially thrown under the proverbial bus, which helped pave the way for the Muslim Brotherhood to fill the leadership vacuum. When the protests erupted in Libya, Obama was once again asleep at the wheel…or should I say asleep at the golf cart wheel on the 19th hole. The President dithered while the world watched as the protesters were routed by Col. Gaddafi’s henchmen. At a time, there was a small window of opportunity when the protesters could have captured Tripoli, but Obama waited until that opportune time had passed.

Whether or not Obama’s Syrian strategy will be successful remains to be seen, but I think more action is required. President Obama needs to put pressure on the International Criminal Court to issue arrest warrants for President Assad and his brother Maher Assad for murder. Strong unilateral sanctions need to be applied to Syria. If the United States will actually lead in this arena, I surmise most of the International community will follow suit. The United Nations must be avoided for the most part because China and Russia will veto any meaningful sanctions. When it comes to Iran or their Syrian ally, Obama appears to be gun-shy about making real decisions. I appreciate the fact that Iran and Syria can make trouble for our national security interests in that region if we push too hard, but the failure to act because of that fact is seen as weak and is very dangerous. The Obama White House is currently in 2012 campaign mode and I’m confident most of the decisions they make will have political calculations aimed at the election. That could be good for our foreign policy because Obama will want to look decisive instead of looking like the dithering wimp he has been for the past two and half years.

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