Obama Conference Call Ignoring Administration’s Syria Stagnation

President Obama’s reelection team held a conference call recently. The call was meant as an attack on Mitt Romney’s trip abroad, a trip meant to burnish his foreign policy creds. But one thing that team Obama seemed to want to ignore was Obama’s own foreign policy failures in Syria. And so the civil war in that far away lands was practically ignored by Obama’s advisers.

In fact, Obama’s entire policy on Syria seems to have at the very least become stalled. It is likely he’s putting off any further decisions until after the election in order to appease his anti-war left wing supporters. But whatever the case, he is failing to lead in Syria.

There may soon come a very dangerous tipping point in Syria, too.

This week it was reported by some sources that Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian forces have chemical weapons and may be prepared to use them against rebels. Obama has done little of note about this threat.

Sadly, the rebels have been pleading for better weapons from the U.S. but despite Obama’s pledge of his support for them, he has ignored their pleas.

As to the conference call, the only mention of the situation in Syria was when Colin Kahl, former deputy assistant secretary of Defense for the Middle East, said simply that, “the Assad regime appears to be losing control.” That was all.

The Washington Free Beacon notes that the President is coming under fire for his failures in Syria.

“The Obama administration has mishandled Syria for 17 months now, since the revolt began,” said Elliott Abrams, a former national security adviser for George W. Bush.

“Their main goal has appeared to be kicking it down the road until after the U.S. election, rather than helping the rebels remove the Assad regime,” Abrams said. “Of course they don’t want to talk about it much, because they can’t really explain why it was in the interest of the United States to stand back, watch the bloodshed rise, and do nothing but make speeches.”

Other watchers of Middle East policy feel that Obama’s administration is so muddled that it cannot even arrive at a concrete policy, instead just drifting from incident to incident without direction. This, one senior policy adviser said, is why Obama is avoiding any talk about Syria.

“The Obama campaign strategically wants to avoid any discussion of Syria because it’s one of the most striking failures of this administration,” explained one senior foreign policy adviser on Capitol Hill.

“There’s as much blood on this administration’s hands as on Russia’s hands,” said the source, referring to Russia’s repeated attempts to block action on Syria. “After more than a year of murder in the streets and crimes against humanity, they’ve done nothing to stop that violence.”

Whenever you ask a liberal about Obama’s successes in foreign policy, they quixotically point to Obama’s ramping up of the drone program and how it has “gutted” al Qaeda. It’s quixotic, of course, because it is the exact program that they hated Bush for.

But, still, that is a singular success and it doesn’t seem to be one tied to a greater foreign policy schema. Other than the drone war on al Qaeda, Obama doesn’t seem to have any concerted foreign policy. He’s hit or miss, all over the map. There is no Obama doctrine. This man is not a leader, he’s pushed and buffeted by events.

Thus far Obama has squandered America’s position of leadership on the world stage. He’s stepped back and allowed other nations to take the lead. Worse, he’s also stepped back from supporting those yearning to be free.

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  • herddog505

    Remember when the Hilldabeast referred to Baby Assad as a “reformer”?

  • herddog505

    Remember when the Hilldabeast referred to Baby Assad as a “reformer”?

  • GarandFan

    “….he is failing to lead in Syria.” No, he prefers to ‘lead from behind’. As for ‘kicking the can down the road’, that’s The Chosen One’s default position.

    If you ignore a problem:
    a) It will go away – claim success
    b) it will resolve itself – claim success
    c) others will resolve it – claim success
    d) it blows up in your face – not your fault

  • Commander_Chico

    the civil war in that far away lands was practically ignored by Obama’s advisers

    Sounds like a good idea, ignoring civil wars in far away lands. Unfortunately, I fear what you’re saying is not true. Today’s news brings this:

    Syrian opposition groups have been unable to control territory that could serve as a foothold for CIA teams.
    Despite the limitations, President Barack Obama has given the agency authority to provide aid to anti-Assad forces through a collection of operations that require the president’s signature on a covert action “finding.”


    Sadly, the rebels have been pleading for better weapons from the U.S. but despite Obama’s pledge of his support for them, he has ignored their pleas.

    Given that “the rebels” contain a heavy Al Qaeda/Salafi terrorist component which has been setting off terrorist car bombs against civilians in Aleppo and Damascus, it seems like a bad idea to support their bid for “freedom” to ban alcohol and enforce women’s dress codes. Is Assad any more of a tyrant than the king of Saudi Arabia? Um, considering both political and personal freedom, Saudis are actually a lot less free.

    So, by all means, let’s replace a secular regime with a hard-core Islamist one. FREEDOM!! What could go wrong? Of course, this is only Phase I of the War with Iran, securing Israel’s northern flank by taking out Assad and isolating Hezbollah in Lebanon. Then the bombing of Iran starts when, October?

    One thing Warner could never be accused of is consistency. One day an American colonel giving a Ramadan trial break is a “traitor,” the next day Obama is not doing enough to support Al Qaeda in Syria. I don’t know what kind of mental gymnastics it takes. I guess a mind unencumbered by knowledge helps.

    • herddog505

      While I don’t agree that Syria is a stepping stone to Iran, I do think that you’ve got a point: WTF are we getting mixed up in Syria for? I feel sorry for the long-suffering people of that blighted country and I also think that the world would be a cleaner place with Assad not in it, but I don’t see how it’s worth US blood and treasure to fix the problem.

      As far as criticism of Barry, it’s politics AND pointing out his hypocrisy: it was totally fine to institute “kinetic military action” against Libya (and I seem to recall that a certain Commander here was totally cool with that), fine to cheer as the Egyptian government was toppled, fine to interfere with Honduran internal politics, but Barry has been oddly reluctant to do anything with regards to Syria or Iran (and he’s only getting involved in Syria because he can’t stand the heat).

      • Commander_Chico

        I wasn’t “cool” with Libya at all, I said again and again it was none of our business. I just pointed out that comparisons with Bush’s Iraq adventure were totally ridiculous by any measure. And sure enough, Libya is over with zero US KIA and a relatively modest dollar cost. By any measure it was a low cost, moderate risk operation. And now after the successful election of a moderate non-Salafi government, things are turning out better than I expected.

        Syria is more insane to get involved in, because of its location (will destabilize Iraq and Lebanon, maybe Jordan), the nature of the “rebels” (many hard-core Al Qaeda types among them), and the sectarian divides (the Alawites, Christians and others may get massacred by our “friends”).

        But it is about Iran. Does not make sense any other way.

        • herddog505

          The virtues of 20/20 hindsight cannot be overstated, can they?

          And do you seriously believe that BARRY wants to get involved in Iran? He’s pretty happy to leak and take credit for cyberattacks against their nuke program (which they don’t have, right? Except for peaceful atomic energy development, I meant to say) and otherwise ignore them just as he’s ignored Syria up to this point.

          There are people who want to kick Iran’s a** (I am one of them), but Barry is NOT amongst their number.

          • Commander_Chico

            What do you think Syria is about? Human rights? ROTFL.

            Actually, based on the Libyan model, Syria is making good progress towards regime change.

            Iran will be kicking off this year, before or after the election is the only question. Did you read about the Stennis?

          • herddog505

            I have no idea what Syria is “about” for other people. I suggest:

            1. Flexing the ol’ foreign policy, “I can be tough, too!” muscles during an election year;

            2. Evening the score with the Assad / Ba’athist regime that has been troublesome to us in the past;

            3. Interfering with Russian attempts to establish some sort of foothold in the area;

            4. Genuine concern at the number of people who are being killed;

            5. An effort to (dare I say it?) establish democracy in Syria.*

            Anyway, why would Barry go after Iran? After all, lefties have been telling us for years that Iran poses no threat to us, that they are only mad at us because of Bush or the Shah or something else bad that we did to them, and that they have NO aspirations to develop nuclear weapons AT ALL (how can anybody possibly think such a thing???).

            As for the Stennis, looks like she’s relieving Enterprise, just as Ike is slated to relieve Lincoln. When Barry starts shifting more CVBG’s to the area and deploying B-52’s to Diego Garcia, then I think we can say that he’s getting serious.


            (*) Funny, ain’t it, how the left ridiculed the idea of trying to establish democracy in Iraq but are so pleased with themselves for establishing… um… whatever it is that’s being established in Egypt.

          • Commander_Chico


            1. That’s a dumb reason to do anything;

            2. Why now? The Germans thought back in 1986 that the Syrians were behind the La Belle disco bombing in Berlin, they broke relations. We blamed and bombed Libya. Anyways, Assad is not likely to be as troublesome in the future as the Al Qaeda people who will take over.

            3. The Russians have had their naval base at Tartus for decades. It’s more destabilizing to back a relatively weak power into a corner than to wipe out their influence in a small country.

            4. Watch accounts of the “number of people being killed” carefully. They are almost all based on rebel sources. Many of the “people being killed” have weapons in hand when killed.

            Video of Al Qaeda in Syria:

            kid with AK and Al Qaeda flag behind him:

            5. I discount this as a real motive.

            The Stennis is significant because it just returned from a deployment in March. To return it to deployment so soon is highly unusual – carriers have a regular deployment cycle of stay time and leave in home port, maintenance, training, and qualifications and work-ups of more than a year. This will also put four carriers in range of Iran in the fall.

            The last week I’ve talked to three acquaintances about Syria. One is an ex-IC guy who worked in Iraq and Afghanistan. Another is a former State Department guy who has worked in the region. The third is an older Iraqi guy who had a senior position in the Saddam government but fled when he thought they were going to get him, who now lives in the USA.

            All of them agreed that this is about Iran. They also thought that it would lead to the bloody break-up of Iraq, as the Sunnis in Anbar, Salahadin and Ninveh might want to join in a Sunni Syria, and that the Saudis would support and pay for this.

            *As far as what happened in Egypt goes, “the
            (American) left” had nothing to do with it – the Egyptians themselves did that. As it should be. To compare the indigenous, mostly peaceful Egyptian revolution with the brutal invasion of Iraq by foreigners in which tens of thousands of Iraqis died is ridiculous.