Monday, September 2, 2013

Obama Has Spoken On Syria: Not What You Wanted To Hear?

The drama unfolded around Barack Obama’s speech as the world waited for the U.S.’s official position on intervening militarily in Syria. If you were not busy in the past week commenting on and analyzing the situation and you simply observed, you probably came to the same conclusion.

If you didn’t know better you would think the United States is preparing to launch a fierce war on Syria and its people for no particular reason. Somehow the dead, injured, dismembered and displaced became figures in the back seat, Arab nationalism kicked in and took over most everyone. Comments of support for Syria poured in, not seen or heard in the past two and a half years to denounce Assad’s tyranny that got Syria to the shambles it is in today. No mourning the loss of life and livelihood in a country that’s considered both a neighbor and sister. Simply denouncing any foreign intervention in Syria as if Syria is the glorious fort it once was and is not enduring mass murder and chemical warfare at the hands of its own leadership!

Inside Syria, families rushed to stock up on food and goods, in Israel people filed long lines at gas masks distribution centers. Jordan moved its fighter airplanes to Aqaba and Lebanon readied to  absorb even more refugees while Hezbollah fighters were waiting for marching orders into Syria as promised by their Secretary General.

Experts hopping from one TV station to the next were so full of themselves predicting to the precise day and minute when the “attack” will begin, how long it will last and how wide of a scope it will have. All this, without any knowledge whatsoever of what kind of “intervention” this was going to be nor what its short-term and long-term golas were. The world looked like a headless animal zoo for a week, too many opinions but no substance. One had to really search hard to find the rare, level-headed analysts that were not selling confusion and fear to the war-thristy masses.

Somehow, the propaganda machine succeeded in making many in the Arab region forget Bashar al-Assad’s crimes in the past thirty months against his own people. And the chemical weapon attack which drove the U.S. to wake up to its moral responsibility. The conversation became an attack on foreign interference in Syria.

I constantly wondered if we were all watching the same massacres, the same divisions, the same destruction and the same human tragedy Syrians have been enduring since 2011. Did people not notice that the west has been mum about the tragic escalation in Syria? Did they not hear Syrians, especially inside Syria, lamenting painfully that the west hasn’t lifted a finger to help them?

No the U.S.’ decision on Syria did not come in a vacuum. Obama’s address on Syria could not be clearer. It exposed the agendas of Obama’s opponents around the globe. It also exposed those that wanted “war” at any cost.

The Commander in Chief of the most powerful military in the world said, “the U.S. should take military action against Syrian regime targets.” As the head of the oldest constitutional democracy, he said will seek approval from Congress, which he will most probably receive after talks.

This level-headed behavior proved to be very civilized, deserving ridicule, for many across the world including in the U.S.

One can only imagine the uproar that would have ensued if Obama had pulled a W. Bush and went straight to war without a clear strategy and no exit plan. Ironically, this seems to be what many -- friends and foes -- had wished for!


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