September 12, 2013 |
Vladimir Putin is no hero, but he has, nevertheless, provided a way for President Obama to sidestep a string of bad options for dealing with Bashar Assad and the Syrian government's despicable use of chemical weapons against its own citizens. By offering to broker a deal that would put Syria's chemical arsenal under control of international inspectors, the Russian president has forestalled a looming conflict and created a rare opportunity for international cooperation. On Tuesday night, Obama switched gears in his address to the nation.
September 12, 2013 |
BAB AL HAWA, Syria - A group of Free Syrian Army rebels, run out of their hometown in northwestern Syria, hunkered down in an office with blacked-out windows. Their commander had been killed and beheaded by an Al Qaeda-linked group a month earlier, the rebels said. Now these surviving FSA fighters were hiding here near the Turkish border. Such mainstream rebel groups, formed to bring down the government of President Bashar Assad, increasingly find themselves in a battle against a different foe. Walid Shawkan, the new commander of the displaced group, said fighters with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria attacked his men in the town of Dana after a dispute over weapons.
September 11, 2013
Re "The road to Damascus," Editorial, Sept. 10 The Times dispassionately explains the challenges faced by the Obama administration in selling the case for action against Bashar Assad's regime in Syria. Members of the administration have been spending an immense amount of energy and media time making the case that the U.S. is compelled to act against Syria. The American people just aren't buying this, so your tone seems wishy-washy on a matter that deserves a voice. Allow me to do you the favor: The United States is not compelled and should not act in the Syrian civil war. Getting involved in the Syrian conflict is a slippery slope.
September 11, 2013 |
President Obama faced a tall order in addressing the nation about Syria on Tuesday: to convince war-weary Americans that taking military action against Syria for using chemical weapons is not only the right thing to do, but also in our country's interest. Before Tuesday's speech , his administration's efforts to win over Americans hadn't been working. Polls have shown that the public is overwhelmingly opposed to getting the country involved in the Syrian civil war, and the opinion of our readers has been similarly weighted against Obama.
September 9, 2013 |
In my Sunday column, I argued that there were good reasons for the United States (and its allies, if any) to attack Syria for its government's alleged use of chemical weapons, but also good reasons to be cautious. I came down on the side of limited military action, but reluctantly, with plenty of doubts. Not surprisingly, the column drew a flood of responses from readers. Most disagreed with me -- also not surprising, since polls suggest public opinion is still running 2 to 1 against an attack.
September 8, 2013 |
Veteran reporter Charlie Rose announced Sunday that he had secured a highly coveted scoop: He interviewed Syrian President Bashar Assad in Damascus. Later, from Beirut, Rose discussed aspects of the interview on CBS' "Face the Nation. " The interview will run in its entirety Monday night on the "Charlie Rose" show on PBS. The world's attention is keenly focused on the perilous situation in Syria, particularly now that Assad has been accused of using chemical weapons against his own people.
September 8, 2013 |
After two weeks of furious debate about whether the United States should attack Syria, the arguments on both sides are now clear. Haven't been paying attention? Still undecided? Here are the most cogent arguments for and against a military strike. First, the case for intervention. The most basic reason to attack is the one advanced from the beginning by President Obama and his aides: to deter Syrian leader Bashar Assad from using chemical weapons again. If he doesn't pay a heavy price for the Aug. 21 incident that killed hundreds of civilians, he's likely to use more sarin.
September 7, 2013
Re "Senate panel supports U.S. strike on Syria," Sept. 5 It's time to call everyone's bluff on the Syrian chemical issue to smoke out the contending parties. Whether it be Bashar Assad's regime, the rebels, the U.S. and its allies, Arab states, the Russians or the Iranians, all claim they are against chemical weapons use in Syria. Leaving aside the wink-wink involved - obviously, some party (think the Assad regime) used the weapons in the August attack - let's put the representations to the test.
September 5, 2013 |
There is a certain freedom in knowing that, no matter what you do, you will make someone mad. That is the situation in which President Obama finds himself regarding Syria: He has no good options, so he is free to simply choose the one he believes is right. He believes the government of Syrian strongman Bashar Assad must pay a price for using chemical weapons on his own people. He believes that price should be a missile strike delivered from U.S. warships because no one else is willing to stand up for the mandates of international law that have long said the use of chemical weapons is abhorrent.
September 4, 2013
Re "To Mideast, U.S. policy on region seems adrift," Sept. 2 Friends and foes alike are angry at us. Maybe we're on to something. The Syrian rebels are angry because we won't bomb immediately, whereas the Syrian government thinks we're soft. Israel, our alleged best friend in the region, thinks we haven't shown enough gumption. And no one's asking why we aren't talking to the new president of Iran, who claims to want an opening of new avenues. The Middle East is dangerous and uncontrollable.