Syria: Obama’s shame

 

News this morning out of Damascus is devastating for the Assad regime. Defense Minister Dawoud Rajha is dead; deputy defense chief and Assad brother-in-law Assef Shawkat is also reportedly dead. Other senior regime members are in the hospital.  Some reports indicate the bomber was an Assad bodyguard. Time is running short for all who have supported Assad, tacitly or explicitly, to explain themselves. Among them, first and foremost are the Iranians, for whom Assad is a key client.  But Iran is on its heels, and Syria is its only creature in an increasingly hostile Middle East. Then the Russians who have armed and protected Assad as his people rose against him, blocking every attempt at Security Council action, throwing spanners into the wheels of the “friends of Syria” group. But Putin is only playing to type. What of the West — the French who were the engine of outside support for Qadhafi’s enemies; the British who also led the way on Libya? And finally, what of the President of the most powerful nation on earth, a leader with a nominal commitment to freedom that extends only as far as his printed speeches, and little further?

The Obama administration has fussed and fluttered, blabbed and gabbed, and has ultimately done nothing for the people of Syria. The death of more than 17,000 Syrians is a stain on Obama’s hands. He will preen that this is what he predicted all along, and it happened without having to spend a dime, risk an aircraft, ship a weapon. Imagine how much faster it would have happened had the feckless president been less feckless.  Imagine how the people of Syria would celebrate America as the Libyans do. How much sway will we have over the post-Assad Syria? As much as we have earned: None.

 

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About the Author

 

Danielle
Pletka

  • As a long-time Senate Committee on Foreign Relation senior professional staff member for the Near East and South Asia, Danielle Pletka was the point person on Middle East, Pakistan, India and Afghanistan issues. As the vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at AEI, Pletka writes on national security matters with a focus on Iran and weapons proliferation, the Middle East, Syria, Israel and the Arab Spring. She also studies and writes about South Asia: Pakistan, India and Afghanistan.


    Pletka is the co-editor of “Dissent and Reform in the Arab World: Empowering Democrats” (AEI Press, 2008) and the co-author of “Containing and Deterring a Nuclear Iran” (AEI Press, 2011) and “Iranian influence in the Levant, Egypt, Iraq, and Afghanistan” (AEI Press, 2012). Her most recent study, “America vs. Iran: The competition for the future of the Middle East,” was published in January 2014.


     


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  • Phone: 202-862-5943
    Email: dpletka@aei.org
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