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Mon Aug 26, 2013, 10:43 PM Aug 2013

Want Some Insight Into Arab Mindset Regarding Syria? Marwan Bishara- Political Analyst, Al Jazeera

Marwan Bishara discusses the implications for the international community of potential chemical weapons use in Syria.
Last Modified: 23 Aug 2013 17:55

Bishara discusses why Assad may or may not have used chemical weapons.


What explains the impotence of the international community to act on Syria?

Over the last half a century, the international community's will to act in such circumstances has been dependent on the power and will of the United States.

But the Obama administration has made it abundantly clear in the past that it was not going to intervene militarily in Syria despite the political noise from Congress and the Washington pundits.

The conventional wisdom being, the White House is preoccupied by its domestic agenda, and terribly reluctant to intervene militarily after the fiascos of Afghanistan and Iraq, especially when none of its vital interests are threatened.

Indeed, until recently, the opposite has been true. In other words, not intervening seemed to serve US interest regardless of the human cost to Syrians.

There was no harm in watching from the sidelines as Syria, long America's nemesis and Israel's foresworn enemy, is terribly weakened, while Iran and Hezbollah are humiliated and losing support in the Arab world.

However, sustained Russian and Iranian support to Assad has turned the tables on the opposition and on America's calculations.

If Obama was reluctant to intervene or provide support for the opposition that ends up in the hands of "extremist Jihadis", today, Washington has every strategic reason to save face.

But President Obama's administration is choosing his foreign battles carefully and prefers not to be drawn into a dirt fight with Assad, Putin, and Khamenei.


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