September 21, 2013
Re "Bait-and-switch on Syria," Opinion, Sept. 17 Jonah Goldberg argues that the Obama administration changed its policy goal on Syria from ousting President Bashar Assad to eliminating chemical weapons in the hands of the government. He writes that the former policy goal is "now dead. " This is wrong. Secretary of State John F. Kerry faced these very questions in a joint news conference with U.S. allies in Paris the day before Goldberg's Op-Ed appeared. He pointedly said, "Nothing in what we have done is meant to offer any notion to Assad that there's any legitimacy" to his role as leader.
September 8, 2013
Re "No credibility, no trust," and "Credibility shouldn't be a factor," Opinion, Sept. 5 Benny Morris misconstrues President Obama's deliberative approach in seeking the appropriate response to Syria's alleged use of chemical weapons as a sign of indecision and political weakness. He attempts to extend this mistaken conclusion regarding the president's cautious approach to the Iranian nuclear problem. Morris' flawed argument serves as a classic illustration of what Rajan Menon, in his opposing Op-Ed article, calls the "credibility gambit.
July 25, 2013 |
Some 6,000 refugees pour out of Syria every day, straining humanitarian aid resources and destabilizing the country's neighbors. Cumulatively, they already make up 10% of the population of Jordan. And there is no end in sight. Antonio Guterres, the U.N. high commissioner for refugees, says the displacement of people has not risen "at such a frightening rate" since the Rwandan genocide of 1994. The absolute size of the humanitarian catastrophe may not yet match the largest of recent times, such as the 2010 floods in Pakistan, but Syria is working hard to catch up. Moreover, its political effects are potentially far greater than those of any tsunami or earthquake.
September 23, 2013 |
A mathematical solution in Syria? That's not as crazy as it sounds. In fact, the working compromise is a classic case of the power of game theory, a branch of mathematics that analyzes the best possible outcomes in conflicts where neither side knows what the other will do. It's not about winning as much as it is finding the least worst option, which is precisely what Presidents Obama, Vladimir Putin, Bashar Assad and company have done. No one gets exactly what he wants. But no one loses everything either.
December 15, 2013 |
Here's how feeble U.S. influence on the outcome of Syria's dreadful civil war has become: For the Obama administration's diplomacy to succeed, it now needs help from an armed group with the unpromising name of the Islamic Front. That wasn't where the administration hoped to be. When President Obama first got interested in Syria back in 2011, his hope was that a popular uprising just needed a little moral support from the outside world to topple the brutal regime of Bashar Assad. When that didn't work, Obama offered modest, mostly non-military aid to moderate groups in the Syrian opposition, enough to raise their hopes but not enough to ensure success on the battlefield.
August 28, 2013 |
President Obama appears increasingly ready to launch a military strike in response to Syrian President Bashar Assad's apparent use of chemical weapons against civilians. But the goal won't be to topple the Assad government, even though Obama has wanted that outcome for more than two years. Instead, White House officials say, the goal will be more limited: deterrence. The strikes will be aimed primarily at deterring Assad from using chemical weapons again. But there are other kinds of deterrence Obama is hoping for too. PHOTOS: Portraits of Syrian rebels He hopes to deter other adversaries, especially Iran, from concluding that he doesn't mean it when he proclaims a "red line," as he did on chemical weapons in Syria last year.
August 31, 2013
Re "A moral and legal test for Obama," Aug. 28 U.S. officials are claiming they have irrefutable evidence of a poison gas attack against civilians in Syria. Trade those words for something like "convinced that there are weapons of mass destruction. " Ring any bells? Kim Righetti Upland ALSO: Mailbag: Syria -- to strike or not to strike Letters: Egypt's choices and U.S. options Letters: iPads won't cure what ails LAUSD
January 24, 2014 |
We don't know their names but we know their numbers, and we can see the evidence of their torture, thanks to a former crime-scene photographer who says he became a reluctant documenter of murder "on an industrial scale" committed by Bashar Assad's regime in Syria. The photographer, code-named Caesar to protect his identity after his defection from Syria, says he worked in the military police for 13 years documenting crime scenes and accidents. But after the civil war began, Caesar says, Assad's government put his skill-set to a different use: photographing the bodies of detainees who had been killed by the regime.
April 26, 2013 |
BEIRUT - In a strong message of solidarity, Muslim clerics across Damascus on Friday denounced the kidnapping earlier this week of a pair of Syrian Christian bishops abducted at gunpoint. Imams and preachers at mosques throughout the Syrian capital said in Friday sermons that the kidnappers were “violating the sanctity of Christian and Islamic clergymen,” the official Syrian Arab News Agency reported. Greek Orthodox Archbishop Paul Yazigi and Syriac Orthodox Archbishop Yohanna Ibrahim were abducted Monday when gunmen stopped their vehicle near the battleground northern city of Aleppo, where both are based.
September 9, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, speaking at the White House, offered a qualified endorsement Monday of a Russian plan for Syria to give up its chemical weapons stockpiles. "If the regime immediately surrendered its stockpiles to international control,” Clinton said, “that would be an important step.” A move to give up its chemical weapons should be “immediate,” she said, and should not be an excuse for “delay.” Her remarks, made after a meeting with President Obama, appeared to signal the White House response to the proposal , made earlier in the day by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, for Syria to give up its chemical weapons stockpiles.