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Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, Saudi Arabia

Does It Make Sense, Mr. President?!


By Tariq Al-Humayd

Translated By Umar Seekdaur

29 January 2013

Edited by Natalie Clager


Saudi Arabia - Al-Sharq Al-Awsat - Original Article (Arabic)

In two independent media interviews, President Obama answered critics who blame his country for not intervening in the two-year Syrian crisis by stating that they were putting much effort into evaluating whether a military intervention in Syria would help to end the bloody conflict or would lead to escalation.

Of course, there is nothing strange with this, as it is every country's right to take its interests into consideration, even if it is the supreme power. But what is strange and startling is his statement in an interview with the “New Republic”: “How do I weigh the tens of thousands killed in Syria versus the tens of thousands being killed in the Democratic Republic of Congo?” This is not all there is to it. In another interview with 60 Minutes on CBS, he angrily added, “…we do nobody a service when we leap before we look.”

As we said before, the issue is not whether the U.S. president has the right to look after the interests of his country. We are all aware that the U.S. is not a charitable organization. The issue is with the logic of the justification. Is the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo the same as that in Syria, with all due respect to the DRC? Two years and 60,000 deaths later, is the evaluation of the Syrian revolution still considered rushed? This is confusing!

What Obama does not understand is that the humanitarian crisis in Syria will bring about long-lasting security, political and sectarian disasters on a deeper and more complicated level than expected. It is clear the reason for the president's confusion, which is evident from his statements, lies in his understanding of the region. What he does not realize is that disregarding the current events in Syria will cause his country to spend the next 30 years handling this crisis, under circumstances worse than what is happening in Afghanistan, which the U.S. had ignored since the ‘80s. It is still paying the price now!

The problem with the U.S. president is that he does not understand the danger posed by the Assad regime; that its collapse will remove the main obstacle in the way of peace and stability in the whole region; and that his departure means a strategic blow to Iran. This will probably eliminate the need for Washington to launch a military attack on Tehran due to its nuclear activities. Assad's collapse will reflect on the interior of Iran because its fall will mean the end of the Iranian expansionist project in the region. It is also sufficient to dwell over the ramifications of Assad's collapse on Hezbollah as well as radical groups in Iraq and Palestine.

That is why one can only say, “Does it make sense, Mr. President?!” Obama's logic is frightening and his understanding of the region raises doubts, especially since he is the man who saw a revolution in Bahrain and pushed Mubarak toward the exit. And today he says he is working hard on the evaluation of the situation in Syria! What is more discouraging is: Where are the intellectuals and leaders of the region?! And the diplomatic efforts in Washington?! Obama's speech suggests that either he has not heard serious evaluations or does not want to; both are dangerous.



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