Syria has always been among the Middle East's most repressive dictatorships, in addition to serving as the home to terrorists that have killed American soldiers and non-combatants in Iraq, Lebanon, Israel, the West Bank and more. Now, Syria is under fire from within; since March 2011, tens of thousands of innocent Syrians have been killed in ruthless assaults by the Assad regime. While government forces continue to bombard major cities with appalling brutality, US strategic interests argue for intervention in this pivotal Arab country. For ongoing coverage and analysis on the escalating attacks in Syria, keep updated by AEI's foreign and defense policy scholars.
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President Obama has three significant Middle East diplomatic initiatives underway, treating, respectively, Iran's nuclear weapons program; Syria's deadly, exhausting conflict; and the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian dispute. Into these negotiations, Obama and his administration have poured enormous amounts of American prestige, time and effort.
As the Syrian civil war approaches its fourth year, prospects for peace seem dim. The negotiations this week in Geneva are showing as little progress as those late last month, for two clear reasons: First, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's hope that a resurgent Assad regime would offer concessions is a fantasy.
As bloodshed and nuclear menace mount in the Middle East, China and North Korea flex their military and nuclear muscles in Asia, and America retreats almost everywhere, how will history judge Barack Obama?
While we all scoffed (rightly) at Sarah Palin’s foolish recommendation to let “Allah sort it out,” the former VP candidate actually summarized de facto Obama administration policy.
Twelve years after 9/11, the administration does not understand al-Qaeda. Nor does it grasp the nature of war. The al-Qaeda war is a component of a larger contest for power in the Middle East, and by failing to understand terrorist groups in that context and to define enduring interests in the region, the President is trying to turn the war into something it's not: one from which we can withdraw.
Assad, like the Kims, has pushed the game one level further. In both cases, Washington drew red lines that subsequently seemed made of invisible ink. It is America's classic diplomatic failing, a combination of wishful thinking and a desperate desire to solve things at the negotiating table despite the lack of any real common interest with the other side.