Asharq Al Awsat, Saudi Arabia
Obama’s War on Terrorism
By Hussein Shobokshi
Translated By Kristine Anderson
11 June 2014
Edited by Bora Mici
Saudi Arabia - Asharq Al Awsat - Original Article (Arabic)
Intense discussions of terrorism — and the war on it — have returned to media circles, think tanks, and centers of decision-making in the United States. Such discussions are supported by statistics and data showing a marked rise in deadly operations committed by al-Qaida and its affiliates, particularly in regions such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Nigeria, Libya and Europe.
This "incendiary" discussion comes in the midst of immense pressure on the U.S. and President Obama personally to sign an "agreement" with the Taliban that would release five of its members detained in the infamous Guantanamo prison in exchange for an American soldier. Opponents of Obama considered this move tantamount to granting an unprecedented legitimacy to the Taliban, enabling the terrorist group to make unprecedented significant gains that have let it bring more deadly elements to its side.
Opponents of the Obama administration have also vehemently criticized Obama’s policies toward the Syrian revolution and his mismanagement of this incendiary issue. They have also criticized his delays in making critical decisions that would have been able to determine the course of many complex issues on the ground and limit the Assad regime’s assault on its own people. Obama’s delay in taking decisive action fomented extremism on the ground, which has resulted in an alarming thrush of deadly extremist elements coming from abroad, such as al-Qaida, ISIS, Hezbollah, Liwa’ Fadal Abu al Abbass, and others.
Terrorism has not disappeared; rather, it has reappeared, and along with it rampant chaos and political extremism that people have resisted in various ways. This has created an asylum for terrorism — justified according to their way of thinking — and this kind of terrorism continues in different ways in each one of the countries involved in the Syrian issue. Obama has been exposed to pressures from within his party, which has appeared conflicted and fearful of paying the high price for these contradictory policies in the upcoming congressional election. Similarly, Hillary Clinton — secretary of state during Obama’s first term, who recently published her memoirs — is trying to distance herself from Obama’s policies and decisions regarding the "Arab Spring," Afghanistan and Syria, as she has recognized that these will represent an enormous burden on her, particularly since she is the frontrunner for the next Democratic primaries.
Barack Obama, on the other hand, is saying to his close advisers that he made good on all his campaign promises, and likewise that he is not falling short, but is now exposed to an unprecedented smear campaign based on the accusation that he has caused the U.S. to lose its prestige and gravity, and that Putin, Assad and even the Taliban have taken advantage of this. The harshest criticism comes from the major figures in the Republican Party, Sen. John McCain and Sen. Lindsey Graham, whose weight cannot be underestimated.
Obama is now in a "technical" dilemma in that he exceeded his constitutional powers as president by releasing a prisoner of war and making a deal with enemy powers without obtaining permission from Congress. Likewise, he is in a political dilemma with his party and his opponents. The question remains: How can this be translated in terms of the "war on terror," and who can change the current administration’s policies, which are stuck between squawking birds?
Obama — who began his term in a state of ecstatic hope, unprecedented with any modern American president — is now set to end his second term with low approval ratings for his performance.http://watchingamerica.com/News/240520/obamas-war-on-terrorism/