August is the cruelest of months for the Syrian people. In August 2011, responding to Syria’s enlarging killing fields, President Obama called on the grim reaper Bashar al-Assad - who was “slaughtering his own people” - to step down. But Assad contemptuously continued his death march with impunity because the American president did not say “or else” and opted to naively believe that diplomatic pressure and strong words would result in action. In August 2012, President Obama warned Assad that if he even dared to move chemical weapons, let alone use them against his own people, he would be crossing a “red line,” a dangerous move “that would change my calculus.” He ominously added “we have put together a range of contingency plans.” In August 2013, when Assad horrifically erased Obama’s infamous “red line” by killing more than 1,400 people - among them a large number of children with sarin gas - Obama initially, but hesitantly, decided to deliver a punishing blow to the dictator’s killing machine. A few days later, he reneged on delivering on his threat when Britain and Congress balked, and after Russia threw the embattled president a life line in the form of surrendering Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons if Obama were to call off the threatened strikes. On September 4, 2013, Obama, who believes that sophisticated sophistry can explain anything and everything, had the audacity to declare “I didn’t set a red line. The world set a red line.” A low point for Obama, to be followed by many more related to Syria.
Passively gazing at death and the dying
The mere fact that the United States is seriously contemplating military cooperation with Russia’s expeditionary forces in Syria, thus legitimating the very military that occupied Crimea two years ago and have been trying to shred Ukraine to pieces while intimidating the European Union by exploiting the refugee crisis, is in itself a stunning American retreatHisham Melhem