Author Topic: Obama may escalate role in Syrian war  (Read 589 times)

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Offline massadvj

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Obama may escalate role in Syrian war
« on: February 20, 2014, 10:49:23 AM »
http://news.yahoo.com/obama-may-escalate-role-in-syrian-war-020535771.html

Americans unquestionably oppose any U.S. military intervention in Syria of the “boots on the ground” variety. They’re not fans of the idea of air strikes there, either. But how would they respond to narrowly tailored attacks targeting Islamist fighters who may be looking to use that country’s lawless warzones as a staging ground for potential attacks on U.S. allies, U.S. interests, and possibly the United States itself? Would such a limited approach really help increasingly desperate moderate fighters squeezed between those extremists and strongman Bashar Assad’s troops? And what risk would it pose in terms of sucking the United States into an escalating role in the Syrian conflict?

Those are central, pressing questions as President Obama assesses his handling of arguably the worst foreign policy disaster of his administration and gives fresh thought to a limited military role, according to current and former administration officials and congressional aides.

“Right now we don’t think that there is a military solution, per se, to the problem,” Obama said last week at a joint press conference with his closest ally on the issue, French President Francois Hollande. “But the situation is fluid, and we are continuing to explore every possible avenue to solve this problem.”

Obama also signaled that his thinking has changed on whether the bloody conflict threatens core American interests, notably the stability of key friends in the region like Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon as well as countries like Iraq.

“It’s not just heartbreaking to see what’s happening to the Syrian people, it’s very dangerous for the region as a whole, including friends and allies and partners like Lebanon or Jordan,” he said.

That’s an important shift because Obama’s old argument for setting the limits he did on American actions in Syria turned in part on the idea that the humanitarian disaster unfolding there did not threaten core U.S. interests – such as the stability of key allies. When he threatened the use of force in 2013 , he argued it was the use of chemical weapons on a large scale – not the surging death toll – that threatened U.S. interests, by undermining an international norm the U.S. wants upheld.

The same questions and concerns have dogged U.S. policy towards Syria for the entirely of the nearly three years since the civil war flared up in March 2011.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday that “the military option always remains available and on the table,” but warned against a “rush” to embrace well-intentioned yet misguided action.

“While everyone is enormously concerned about and frustrated by the situation in Syria, it should be on everyone's mind that when we look at the situation we're in, we have to examine what the alternatives some might be proposing are and whether they're in our national security interest, and whether a desire to do something about it could lead us, the United States, to take action that can produce the kind of unintended consequences we've seen in the past,” Carney said.

Tragic and gripping photographs from Syria have horrified the world. But the precise death toll is unclear: The United Nations announced last month it would no longer update its estimate and could no longer vouch for the 100,000 figure it gave in July 2013. Pro-opposition activists have offered the unverifiable number of 140,000 .

But there’s no sign that the Pentagon has revised its very public misgivings about options like trying to ground Syrian air power , or carrying out air strikes, or setting up humanitarian “corridors” through which aid could flow.

The White House doesn’t seem to have changed its mind about not shipping heavier weapons to the rebels, like shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles that could take down Assad’s helicopters – or perhaps commercial airliners if they should fall into the wrong hands.

Then there’s the little matter of Congress refusing to give the green light for military action against Syria last year. With the mid-term elections looming, Obama is unlikely to commit to an unpopular course of action that risks facing another bipartisan defeat.

Efforts to broker a diplomatic settlement between Assad and moderate rebels show no promise right now.Russia and China have blocked any effort by the United Nations Security Council to tighten the pressure on the regime in Damascus.

But senior intelligence officials late last month opened a new path for Obama to increase U.S. involvement in a way that wouldn’t require congressional authorization, could minimize a public backlash, and might give Syria’s moderates some breathing room.

How? By telling Congress that Syria increasingly serves as a base, not just a battleground, for extremist groups looking to someday attack the United States.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper compared areas of Syria held by groups the United States considers terrorists to remote areas of Pakistan that are thought to harbor Al-Qaeda. Those groups have “aspirations for attacks” on the United States, he told the Senate Intelligence Committee.

“We're seeing now the appearance of training complexes in Syria to train people to go back to their countries and, of course, conduct more terrorist acts. So this is a huge concern to all of us,” Clapper said.

At least one major White House ally in Congress, Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein, seems to agree.

“Because large swaths of the country of Syria are beyond the regime's control or that of the moderate opposition, this leads to the major concern of the establishment of a safe haven and the real prospect that Syria could become a launching point or way station for terrorists seeking to attack the United States or other nations,” she said at the hearing.

National Counter-Terrorism Center (NCTC) director Matthew Olsen echoed Clapper, warning the committee of “the potential for terrorist attacks emanating from Syria to the West.”

And CIA Director John Brennan added his voice, saying that “with the increasing diversity of the threats and with the growth, as you pointed out, of terrorist elements in places like Syria and Yemen, we have a number of fronts that we need to confront simultaneously.”

Likening Syria to Yemen raises the possibility that America could widen its much-criticized strategy of targeting extremists with drone strikes.

Congressional officials say that the idea of using unmanned aerial vehicles against targets in Syria has gained currency inside the administration in recent weeks, but caution against expecting an imminent shift, much less announcement of a new policy.

But it would fit with the strategy Obama announced last year at the National Defense University, when he proclaimed that such strikes were legal and effective and reserved the right to use them when the local government cannot, or will not, confront a threat to the United States.

“Where foreign governments cannot or will not effectively stop terrorism in their territory, the primary alternative to targeted lethal action would be the use of conventional military options,” including drone strikes, he said.

Obama’s worries that Syria may be the next safe harbor for terrorists aren’t new. He laid them out in March 2013 at a joint press conference with King Abdullah II of Jordan.

“I am very concerned about Syria becoming an enclave for extremism, because extremists thrive in chaos, they thrive in failed space, they thrive in power vacuums,” he said. “They're very good about exploiting situations that are no longer functioning. They fill that gap.”

Whatever Obama decides, he’ll have to keep in mind the worries of allies like Jordan, which has absorbed a flood of some 600,000 Syrian refugees. And he’s unlikely to announce new steps before wrapping up a Middle East diplomatic push that includes a March 3 meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and talks later next month with Saudi King Abdullah bin Abd al Aziz al-Saud.

And for an administration that used to argue that its policy hasn’t failed, it just hasn’t succeeded yet, the change in tone could be just that.
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Offline DCPatriot

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Re: Obama may escalate role in Syrian war
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2014, 10:51:04 AM »
What?

Are they planning on building another 'consulate' in Benghazi?   :whistle:
"It aint what you don't know that kills you.  It's what you know that aint so!" ...Theodore Sturgeon

"If you want to change the world, go home and love your family".    ...Mother Teresa

Offline massadvj

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Re: Obama may escalate role in Syrian war
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2014, 10:52:07 AM »
Let's see if I have this right.  We need to attack the "extremists" who are fighting our enemy so that our enemy can focus on killing the moderates we like.  Only a Community Organizer could come up with such laughable pretzel logic, and yet they will probably make the sale to enough GOPe-types to get it through congress.
"She only coughs when she lies."

Offline Gazoo

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Re: Obama may escalate role in Syrian war
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2014, 11:01:37 AM »
So after the muslim brotherhood and AQ get a good foothold he now says this?
After he guts our military and primps it up to be top brass yes men to his ideals, he says this?

He really makes Jimmy Carter's foreign Policy look good.

Obama is out of control.
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When does the Republican Party, put in the majority by the Tea Party, plan to honor its commitment to halt the growth of the Federal monolith and bring the budget back into balance"?

Offline Bigun

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Re: Obama may escalate role in Syrian war
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2014, 11:22:39 AM »
The Al Qaeda flag now flies over all of Western Iraq because of this man! The same place many hundreds of young Americans gave their lives to take!

What more does ANYONE need to know!
« Last Edit: February 20, 2014, 11:23:12 AM by Bigun »
“It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere.” —Voltaire

Offline Gazoo

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Re: Obama may escalate role in Syrian war
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2014, 11:27:24 AM »
The Al Qaeda flag now flies over all of Western Iraq because of this man! The same place many hundreds of young Americans gave their lives to take!

What more does ANYONE need to know!

 :patriot:
"The Tea Party has a right to feel cheated.

When does the Republican Party, put in the majority by the Tea Party, plan to honor its commitment to halt the growth of the Federal monolith and bring the budget back into balance"?

Offline DCPatriot

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Re: Obama may escalate role in Syrian war
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2014, 11:35:04 AM »
The Al Qaeda flag now flies over all of Western Iraq because of this man! The same place many hundreds THOUSANDS of young Americans gave their lives to take!

What more does ANYONE need to know!

There.....fixed it!   :patriot:
« Last Edit: February 20, 2014, 11:35:32 AM by DCPatriot »
"It aint what you don't know that kills you.  It's what you know that aint so!" ...Theodore Sturgeon

"If you want to change the world, go home and love your family".    ...Mother Teresa

Offline Bigun

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Re: Obama may escalate role in Syrian war
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2014, 11:38:38 AM »
There.....fixed it!   :patriot:

Correction accepted and appreciated!
“It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere.” —Voltaire

Online 240B

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Re: Obama may escalate role in Syrian war
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2014, 11:42:01 AM »
Let's see if I have this right.  We need to attack the "extremists" who are fighting our enemy so that our enemy can focus on killing the moderates we like.  Only a Community Organizer could come up with such laughable pretzel logic, and yet they will probably make the sale to enough GOPe-types to get it through congress.

Obama does not give a damn about Congress. Obama does whatever he wants regardless of what Congress says or does.
You cannot "COEXIST" with people who want to kill you.

Offline mountaineer

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Re: Obama may escalate role in Syrian war
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2014, 01:28:33 PM »
Where are the anti-war protestors? Can't use their "Bush's War" and "No Blood for Oil" signs, I guess.
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Offline Millee

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Re: Obama may escalate role in Syrian war
« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2014, 01:31:19 PM »
Let's see if I have this right.  We need to attack the "extremists" who are fighting our enemy so that our enemy can focus on killing the moderates we like.  Only a Community Organizer could come up with such laughable pretzel logic, and yet they will probably make the sale to enough GOPe-types to get it through congress.

Does the emperor even need Congress??  He has a pen, yanno. 

Offline DCPatriot

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Re: Obama may escalate role in Syrian war
« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2014, 01:32:50 PM »
.....don't forget the phone......he's got a phone too, he said!   :laugh:
"It aint what you don't know that kills you.  It's what you know that aint so!" ...Theodore Sturgeon

"If you want to change the world, go home and love your family".    ...Mother Teresa

Offline kevindavis

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Re: Obama may escalate role in Syrian war
« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2014, 08:10:56 PM »
The Al Qaeda flag now flies over all of Western Iraq because of this man! The same place many hundreds of young Americans gave their lives to take!

What more does ANYONE need to know!

I would say 5 years or less there will be a major conflict in the middle east..
"Die-hard conservatives thought that if I couldn't get everything I asked for, I should jump off the cliff with the flag flying-go down in flames. No, if I can get 70 or 80 percent of what it is I'm trying to get ... I'll take that and then continue to try to get the rest in the future."

Ronald Reagan

"We must continue to go into space for humanity.” - Dr. Stephen Hawking

Offline DCPatriot

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Re: Obama may escalate role in Syrian war
« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2014, 08:24:09 PM »
I would say 5 years or less there will be a major conflict in the middle east..

Sorry, but that's not a stretch whatsoever. 

They're not going to wait for the 2016 election.   They'll all make their moves before that.

And especially if the mid-terms castrate Obama...politically speaking of course. 

Two years tops....starting now.
"It aint what you don't know that kills you.  It's what you know that aint so!" ...Theodore Sturgeon

"If you want to change the world, go home and love your family".    ...Mother Teresa

Offline kevindavis

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Re: Obama may escalate role in Syrian war
« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2014, 08:35:18 PM »
Sorry, but that's not a stretch whatsoever. 

They're not going to wait for the 2016 election.   They'll all make their moves before that.

And especially if the mid-terms castrate Obama...politically speaking of course. 

Two years tops....starting now.

I think you are right....  I also think we will get hit big time.
"Die-hard conservatives thought that if I couldn't get everything I asked for, I should jump off the cliff with the flag flying-go down in flames. No, if I can get 70 or 80 percent of what it is I'm trying to get ... I'll take that and then continue to try to get the rest in the future."

Ronald Reagan

"We must continue to go into space for humanity.” - Dr. Stephen Hawking

Offline Chieftain

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Re: Obama may escalate role in Syrian war
« Reply #15 on: February 20, 2014, 09:54:24 PM »
Let's see if I have this right.  We need to attack the "extremists" who are fighting our enemy so that our enemy can focus on killing the moderates we like.  Only a Community Organizer could come up with such laughable pretzel logic, and yet they will probably make the sale to enough GOPe-types to get it through congress.

Let's not forget he has plenty of help with Lurch over at State and Chuckie Hagel over at the Pentagon.  With that troika running things, what's to lose.....???

Obama's bluff has been officially called.  There is nothing he can do in Syria, not even with his magic pen or cell phone.



Offline Bigun

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Re: Obama may escalate role in Syrian war
« Reply #16 on: February 20, 2014, 09:58:08 PM »
Let's not forget he has plenty of help with Lurch over at State and Chuckie Hagel over at the Pentagon.  With that troika running things, what's to lose.....???

Obama's bluff has been officially called.  There is nothing he can do in Syria, not even with his magic pen or cell phone.

He has no intention of doing anything in Syria. Never has and never will. The same is true for the Ukraine.
“It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere.” —Voltaire


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