Has Obama been tricked on Syria?

Abdulrahman al-Rashed
Abdulrahman al-Rashed
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U.S. President Barack Obama is now a victim of the Syrian chemical weapons; he can no longer take a step forth or back, he did not even launch one missile and was not able to push for a vote on the matter in the Congress. Not one single barrel of chemical weapons was seized from the Syrian regime and Obama did not go to the U.N. SecurityCouncil as he had wished. What a difficult situation he has faced.

I believe that Obama has now realized that he was fooled by the Syrians and the Russians; Assad will not deliver his chemical weapons stockpiles and the Russians won’t authorize the U.S. administration to strike Syria as long as Obama himself has chosen to negotiate with the Russians. Both Russia and the Syrians have even taken advantage of the U.S. president and have started a campaign against him, terrifying American public opinion about al-Qaeda and the Syrian opposition.

The statements of the Russian president, in his article that was published in the New York Times, provoked Americans against the position of their President Obama. Yesterday, the Syrian president appeared on Fox News and hosted a number of American and European correspondents in Damascus. It was all part of the propaganda campaign against the White House’s position on Syria.

The statements of the Russian President Putin provoked Americans against the position of their President Obama

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

Someone wrote a report declaring that President Assad can now win the war, and we must be ignorant to believe such a claim. The war in Syria may be long, but Assad will not be the winner because more than two-thirds of the Syrian population are against him, especially since his crimes are unmatched.

Let us not forget the most important event; what happened to Putin’s gift for President Obama in his bid to eradicate the Syrian chemical weapons? What happened to those smiles, optimistic spirits and signs of victory that were spread throughout international media?

We must be fools if we believe that Assad will hand over thousands of tons of his dangerous weapons just because he got caught gassing five thousand Syrian citizens in the suburbs of the capital Damascus, 1,400 of which died from sarin gas. Assad believes that his chemical weapons are his only way towards salvation. He will cling to them and will use them to procrastinate for months but, in the end, he will not give his chemical weapons away. This is because he thinks that without these weapons he will be unprotected. He will discuss his chemical weapons stockpiles in exchange for staying in power.

A difficult position

The U.S. president is in a difficult position; the chemical crime was committed a month ago and yet he did nothing. There is no approval from Congress yet regarding a punitive strike and there is no Russian cooperation, despite the many conferences and statements. The reasonable solution for Obama is to convey his problem to the Syrian people and get them to fight the war he threatened against Assad.

He has to change his policy and declare a clear stance in favor of the Free Syrian Army as well as providing the FSA with massive qualitative support to do the job. He will win if he supports the FSA by providing it with intelligence information and qualitative weapons to help the factions on the ground. He should also provide logistic help to the fighters, this may be enough to quickly change the dynamic of the war in Syria. The White House will benefit from supporting the opposition in their bid to overthrow Assad and reach power because it will not allow Iran and al-Qaeda to control the country. This is especially important since both are spreading their influence thanks to the situation brought about by the actions of the Assad regime.


Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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