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Obama and Syria


This paper explores nine published articles that report the current state of relations between Obama administration and Syria. The articles consist of presidential speech of the American president, Barack Obama, about the current situation of Syria. The paper defines CIA factbook analysis about historical background of Syrian conflict, which explains the political instability of Syria since its independence in 1946, till current state of affairs in 2013. Sanger illustrates the statements from White House and State Department, where the Secretary of State, John Kerry, delivered his statements to the Syrian government. Gerschwer represents the current theoretical position of Syria. The renowned journalists and critics, Gowans and Cartalucci, show the data to specify humanitarian intervention of Syria. Crowley describes the recent humanitarian interventions of Libya. Sanchez examines the current non-interventions in Arabian countries.

The main purpose of the study is to analyze the relation between Obama administration and Syria and conflicts of Assad regime and civilians of Syria.

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Obama and Syria

Syria is an Arabian Republic country, located in Western Asia. It has fertile plains, desserts, and high mountains. The country has the majority of Arabian Sunni Muslim inhabitants. Currently, Syria is ruled by the president Bashar al-Assad and has a bilateral relation with the United States and other neighboring countries. The most remarkable issues of Syria are the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Iraq war, the Golan Heights annexation, and Syrian civil war.

In the recent time period, the American intelligence of Obama administration has shown that the Syrian president, Assad, and his forces are preparing to use chemical weapons. The report confirms that Assads forces launched rockets in the highly populated areas of Damascus and acknowledged that a chemical weapons attack has already taken place. Evidence shows that such attacks of Syrian government caused incredible harms to the local inhabitants. Local hospitals are overflowed with the victims of bombing attacks. More than 1,000 people were murdered by the Assads force. Among the victims several hundreds were the innocent Syrian children.

Currently Syria has a politically instable situation, which leads the country to a political uprising and violent unrest situation. Hundreds and thousands of Syrian citizens ran away from their own country. They started working in the neighboring countries as foreign migrant workers. The lack of security causes human trafficking in Syria. It became a destination country for the children and women subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking. Syrian armed forces use children in combat. The current government does not provide required protections and proper actions to the trafficking victims and offenders.

Historical Background of the Conflict

CIA Factbook

According to the CIA Factbook, France administrated the former Ottoman Empire province of Syria till 1946. After the independence, Syria had political instability. However, a group of experienced military coups managed to control the country for a decade. In 1958, Syria united with Egypt to form the United Arab Republic, but in 1961, the two entitles separated and Syria reestablished its Arab Republic. In 1967, Arab-Israeli war started and Syria lost the Golan Heights to Israel. In November 1970, Hafiz al-Assad, a member of socialist Baath party, came forward to seize the power in a bloodless coup and created political stability in Syria. During 1990s, Hafiz al-Assad was involved in occasional peace talks with Israel; however, in 2000, the President al-Assad died and his son, Bashar al-Assad, was approved as the president of Syria by popular demand. Basher al-Assad started to imply his presidential rules by taking several new steps in the country. He withdrew the Syrian troops from Lebanon in April 2005. In July 2006, Syria again started the conflict between Israel and Hizballah. So, Assad alerted his military force, but did not intervene directly for a war. His efficient performance led him to become approved as a president for the second time in 2007. Finally, Bashar al-Assad became the president of Syria for the second time. However, after the presidential approval, lots of people were not satisfied with Assads rules and they began to upraise antigovernment protests. In March 2011, protestors from the southern province Daraa called for the repeal of the restrictive law, which allows arresting individuals without charge. The protestors also demanded to legalize the political parties and to remove corrupt local officials of the country. After this situation, different demonstrations and unrest had spread in almost every city in Syria, but the size and intensity of the protestors were fluctuating from time to time. The government of Syria responded to the demands in a mixed concession. The government had repealed the emergency law and approved the new laws, which permitted new political parties to liberalize national and local elections and force. However, the government forces failed to meet other oppositions demands. One of the main demands of opposition was to step down of Assad from the presidential power. The opposite parties demanded to quell the ongoing security operations in Syria. The demonstrations took a different path, when the oppositionists extended their activities by using violence against the Assads regime. The following activities gave the civil war an international issue; thus, different countries pressured on the Assad regime to step down from their actions. The United States, Arab League, Turkey, and EU have expanded different economic sanctions against Assad regime.

Current joint Special Representative of the League of Arab States on Syrian crisis and United Nations, Lakhdar Brahimi, met regional heads of state in October 2012, and discussed the problems of Syria and asked for a cease-fire to the authority. In December 2012, National Coalition of Syrian Revolution has been recognized by the opposition forces including more than 130 countries. However, CIA reported that till 2013, the death toll in Syria of Government forces and civilians are increased by more than 100,000, which is a quite shocking value of deaths in Syria in a short period of time.

Statements from the White House and the State Department

Secretary of State, John Kerry, has delivered a statement on Assad regime on September 9, 2013, and suggested Syria to surrender its chemical munitions within a week. The Secretary appealed the idea of surrender, which he believes to be a successful way to create a lasting solution, than striking on Syrias chemical weapons infrastructure. Antony J. Blinken, the deputy national security advisor, reported that White House officials had been waiting for the actions of Syria to give up its chemical weapons for 20 years. He added that the United States had tried to sign on the international treaty for banning chemical weapon and it would take time, different resources, and a peaceful environment.

The leaders and representatives of the United States, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Republic of Korea, Japan, Italy, France, Canada, and Australia made serious statements on the margins of the group of 20 Nations Leaders meeting in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

According to the statement, the international norm against the use of chemical weapon is longstanding and universal all over the world. The use of chemical weapon in any part of the world may diminish the security of people everywhere on the globe. If such activities are left unchallenged, then it increases the risk of further use of these dangerous weapons.

The group nations condemned Syrian government for attacking the suburbs of Damascus on August 21, which took the lives of thousands of innocent Syrian people. They called for strong international response to this grave violence of international rules and regulations. The group nations added their statement by mentioning that such kind of atrocity can never be repeated and the responsible authorities for these crimes must be held accountable.

All of the signatories have consistently supported the United Nations Security Council Resolution and efforts undertaken by the United States and other countries to control the use of chemical weapons. Signatories condemn in the strongest term of human rights violations in Damascus and other regions of Syria. Report shows that more than 100,000 people have been killed in the Syrian conflict; more than 2 million people became refugees in the neighboring countries, and approximately 5 million people were internally displaced. Signatories believe that Syrias civil war has not any military solution, so other nations should reaffirm their commitments to seek peaceful political settlement through the implementation of 2012 Geneva Communiqu?. These countries contributed their views generously in the UN and ICRC appeals for humanitarian assistance in Syria. The member countries of peace endorsement in Syria are welcoming contributions of other countries to protect Syrian people.

Theoretical Positions

The theoretical approaches of current situation in Syria show the realist and liberalism theory. Liberalism is a political philosophy worldwide, which was founded on the ideas of equality and liberty. The oppositionists of Assad regime are the followers of the principles of equality. They demand that current government should equally take care of Sunni Muslims of Syria by conducting fair elections and fulfilling the civil rights of Syrian people. Their demands include freedom of press; the civilians want an ability to openly support or protest the works of presidential activities. Syrian people have natural rights of life and liberty, so the government should allow the inhabitants to perform social contracts. Government must do everything in order not to violate the civil rights. Liberalism of Syria opposes the traditional conservation of President Assad and his regime. The opponents demanded for absolutism in the government with representative democracy according to the rules of Arabian law.

On the other hand, from the realist point of view, the USA wants Assad to leave in order to lessen the power of Iran. Currently Syria is the only Arab state, which has close relations with Iran, but Iran has emerged as the regional power. However, Iran depends on the funnel support of Syria to Hizbollah; therefore, a serious regime of Syria compromises the ability to antagonize Israel, the USA, and Europe.

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Humanitarian Intervention

Data from Bricmont

Jean Bricmont, the Belgian theoretical physicist and philosopher of science, argues that Israel was wrongly blamed for the US policy on Syria. He argues with American political writer, Diana Johnstone, that the genuine economic interests of the U.S. against Syria to war are hard to find. He believes that the U.S. foreign policy is not based on proper moral concerns, and it does not consist of the real basis of war. So, ruling out the former two explanations must consist of pressure from Israel.

Jean Bricmont has dismissed the unsatisfying explanations of his Marxist friends, who believe that every war is driven by economic interest, and the latest issue of America and Syria is to be waged, because capitalist America wants to exploit Syrian resources, including gas pipelines, and Syrian foreign investmen.

On the other hand, Bricmont believes that the latest war is to be waged, because other super power neighboring countries, such as Iran, have frightened themselves into believing in another power in the region with existential threat to Israel. Bricomnt added that policies of government often do not make any sense, because the supreme decision makers always misjudge their true interests. Reports show that Bricomonts cases for Israeli pressure as the main basis for the US policies in Syria are extremely weak, which shows anecdotal evidence that the war with Syria is concerned with Israel, who directs the U.S. policies.

Some of the concerning data point out the Israel and its partisans back war on the territory of Syria. Recently, The New York Times reported that one of the influential pro-Israel lobby group, AIPAC, pressed for military actions against Assad regime. The main idea of the pressure is connected with the fear that if Syria escapes the American retribution for using chemical weapons, then Iran might be emboldened to attack Israel in future. Thus, these lobbies are trying to influence the US policy. Marxist viewpoint better explains the data than Israelis hypothesis, which have already been proved wrong at the moment, when Washington decided not to send cruise missiles to Damascus by favoring Russian brokered plan to destroy Syrian chemical weapon.

Bricomnt argues that the people, who think that capitalist countries, who want wars to make more profit, should spend more time by observing the directors of any big organization, which can easily show and proof that capitalists need stability, not chaos, and recent wars only brought chaos to the different countries. Bricmont argues that business needs stability, governments need peace, and employers need to paycheck to sustain capitalist activities, but if the government goes to war, then the employees will go on strike to fulfill their demands; thus, the country loses its economical sustainability. Thus, it is quite clear that the US policy on Syria is not connected with economic interests, any revenge, or a display of power.

Data from Cartalucci

One of the famous critics, Tony Cartalucci, believes that the US has been planning Syrian civilian catastrophe since 2007. According to the UNs data, more than 2 million Syrians have run into the neighboring countries as laborers and refugees. Almost 5,000 people have been fleeing everyday during the three-year conflict, which has already taken more than 100,000 lives. The UNs high commissioner, Antonio Guterres, thinks that Syria has become the greatest tragedy of this century for all over the world.

However, Cartalucci believes that the catastrophic results of Syria have been underlying political strategy of special interests in the United States, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and their other regional partners since 2007.

Tony Cartaluccis data show that Syrian conflict unfolded after the Arab Spring was disseminated in the public by the Syrian government. It started from 1991, when Paul Wolfowitz tells the US army general, Wesley Clark, that the United State has 5-10 years to clean up old soviet client regimes including Iran, Iraq, and Syria, so that these countries would not become a threat as the next super powers. In 2001, a classified plot was revealed to the US army that they are planning to destroy the governments of seven nations including Iraq, Sudan, Iran, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, and Syria. After such plans, the US Under Secretary John Bolton declared Syria a member of Axis of Evil in 2002, and warned that the US would take actions. In 2005, the US organized Cedar Revolution in Lebanon in order to undermine Syrian-Iranian influence in neighboring Lebanon. In 2006, Israel tried to destroy Hizbollah in Lebanon, which resulted in thousands of civilians death.

In 2007, a New Yorker, Semour Hersh, revealed that the US and other Arabian countries unleashed Al Qaeda terrorists in both Syria and Lebanon to exploit and create sectarian between Shia and Sunni Muslims. The report also indicated that the extremists would logistically staged in Northern parts of Lebanon, where they would be allowed to cross back and enter Syria. In 2009, the Brooking Institution has published a report Which Path to Persia?, which admitted that George Bush administration has evicted Syria from Lebanon and Israel struck a Syrian nuclear program. The report states that it was important to neutralize Syrian influence in the Arabian countries before any serious attack.

In April 2011, the Assistant US Secretary, Michael Posner, admitted that the US has budgeted $50 Million in the last two years to the Syrian oppositionist, so that they can develop the new technologies to protect themselves. The report also showed that the US has trained 5,000 activists in the different parts of the world, so that they can return to their country with the aim of training their friends and colleagues. Thus, American long-planned strategies worked in Syria by tremendous protest of civilians against the Assads regime. In 2012, NATO-backed Islamic fighting group (LIFG) claimed the United States as a foreign Terrorist Organization, who helps the terrorists with cash, weapons, and fighters in order to destabilize Syria. The US and Arabian authorities labeled extremists as Free Syrian Army and supported them to protest against Assad regime.

Recent Humanitarian Interventions

In recent humanitarian interventions we can notice the interventions in Libya. Obama cleared in his speech in March 2011, that he was not raising the curtain in a new era of humanitarian intervention, so that the criteria for American action would depend on different intersections of their interests and values. He told that Libya had passed the test by stabilizing their horrific violence scale. He added that Arab countries supported the US to sustain peace in Libya. However, he believes that the US had the ability to stop Gaddafis forces without engaging American troops in Libya; anyway, Libyan people were able to solve their problems by themselves. Obama administration also argues that Syria does not have the same criteria as Libya. Because Syrian has more sophisticated military and air defense forces than Libya. Thus, the US administration should take strong steps to sustain peace in Syria.

Current Non-Interventions

Some of the critics believe that Obama administration is responsible for the nationalism, corporatism, and warmongering in Arabian countries including Bahrain, Qatar, and Yemen. Obama administration is less disastrous on the different foreign policies and economic grounds in Syria. Critics believe that Obamas foreign meddling may cause future global conflict and instability. The current unrest situation in Arab world is caused by the Obamas recent meddling in Egypt, Libya, and other Arabian countries. Experts believe that American actions may lead to a serious trouble in the world, which cause an ideological driven educational system and intellectual bankruptcy, especially in the areas of Arabian history and religion.


From above discussion we can come to a conclusion that wars, conflicts, and foreign politics of Syria lead the country to an unstable condition. We can apply liberalism theory to distinguish the current civil wars of Syria, where Free Syrian Army acts as a part of the liberalism.

I believe that Obamas new war against chemical weapon will be a great success, if the US government takes such steps to ensure peace in the globe, instead of applying political conspiracy. I believe it will be a remarkable achievement for the United States, if Obama administration can secure the lives of Syrian people instead of supporting the locals with ammos and weapons to fight against the administration, because in such ways, there will be more and more losses of innocent lives in Syria without any stable political solution.

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