○ Jerusalem Post Breaking News: Obama’s national security team to meet on Syria this weekend.
○ Ynet Opinion: Assad senses West’s weakness.
Of course, Obama had made a declaration “Assad regime had crossed his red line” before heading to the G8 conference on June 13, what made the change in Middle-East politics where Qatar was ousted and the Saudi influence increased? Could one evil man make so much difference – Prince Bandar, the dark prince of George Bush? How will the rest of the world react, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Maliki in Baghdad. Erdogan in Turkey and last but not least Putin in Moscow. To strike Syria will at least put Xi Jinping in China is his place as a warning the US is resetting priorities moving towards Asia.
A strike on the evil Assad, who just didn’t roll over in the promised few weeks, will be a great diversion away from the Snowden affair and the NSA perils. We’ll find out what Obama is made of, I still don’t like the two “humanitarian hawks” near the President. I don’t like the president’s association with Cass Sustein, the Trotsky in Obama’s outing of manhood in the White House. Let the testosterones flow. Building a nation after the chaos is just an afterthought, that’s why the world community has the UN for, all nations chip in. We have seen it before … Barack Obama the placeholder for George Bush. A miserable policy put in place by various US administrations, will add another chapter to its fiery chariot.
WASHINGTON (Jpost) – Hagel told reporters that the president had asked for “military options” in response to Assad’s alleged use of chemical weapons on a mass scale in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta on Wednesday. The attack reportedly killed over 1,000 civilians.
Obama and his national security team had a four hour Oval Office meeting on military options Friday, focusing on cruise missile targets, but no decisions were taken. Obama’s senior national security advisers were set to convene at the White House again on Saturday to discuss US options, including possible military action, a US official said.
US naval power in Mediterranean gives president option to fire Tomahawk missiles at Syrian targets.
Political pressure mounts to strike Syria
The top Democrat on the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee urged Obama on Friday to order air strikes against Assad’s government after the apparent chemical attacks.
Representative Eliot Engel cited Obama’s statement that the use of chemical weapons by Assad’s forces would cross a “red line” and cause the United States to act to halt such violations of international law.
“If we, in concert with our allies, do not respond to Assad’s murderous uses of weapons of mass destruction, malevolent countries and bad actors around the world will see a green light where one was never intended,” Engel wrote in a letter to Obama and obtained by Reuters.
Syria denies being responsible and has in the past accused rebels of using gas. However, US and allied intelligence agencies have made a preliminary assessment that Syrian government forces indeed used chemical weapons in Wednesday’s attacks and that the act likely had high-level approval from Assad’s government, according to US and European security sources.
The sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, cautioned that the assessment is preliminary and, at this stage, they are still seeking conclusive proof, which could take days, weeks or longer to gather.
General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wrote to Engel this week saying the United States had the capability to conduct targeted air strikes in Syria to destroy runways, fuel depots and helicopters.
“And, we can do this with no boots on the ground, from stand-off distances,” Engel wrote in his letter to Obama. “I know that your Administration is wrestling with these very complex issues, but I believe that we, as Americans, have a moral obligation to step in without delay and stop the slaughter.”
Engel has been a strong advocate for more aggressive US military intervention in Syria, as have several other members of Congress, including such influential foreign policy voices as Republican Senator John McCain.
QUETTA, Pakistan, July 17 (UNHCR) – Adults make wars, while children first think it is a game, watch colourful explosions in the distance, draw pictures about it – and then suffer nightmares.
The current conflict in Swat, in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province (NWFP), has changed the lives of many children, leaving them with deep and lasting psychological wounds. After having grown up beside the wars in Afghanistan, I know what they are experiencing.
In a small, spartan room at a Sikh temple in the north, internally displaced mothers tell me how the latest conflict has affected their children. “They have become very sensitive, they hide when they hear any loud sounds and wake up screaming in the middle of night, but I’m glad we managed to escape and hope they will get back to normal soon,” says 35-year-old Misha.
In the scorching heat of Yar Hussain camp in the Swabi district of NWFP, the words of displaced mothers are the same; the children play war games and draw while the women speak of fleeing. It brings back my own memories of when the war in neighbouring Afghanistan was at a peak – and how it permanently affected me.
YIDA, South Sudan, May 23 (UNHCR) – Truckloads of refugees are arriving in South Sudan’s Yida border area from neighbouring Sudan’s Nuba Mountains every day, including many malnourished children.
Obama, aged two, looks a fraction of his age. His family walked for two days from Mongolo to reach the border, and were then taken by truck to Yida a few kilometres away in South Sudan’s Unity state. Along with luggage, sacks, bed frames and cooking pots, Obama is dangled from the truck and passed into waiting hands at UNHCR’s registration centre for new arrivals.
“The Antonovs [war planes] kept coming,” says his aunt Madina, 13, as the under-sized baby clings to her. “There is no food in Mongolo. We ate wild fruits.”
See my previous diary – US/Russia Should Lead – A Yalta Conference on Middle East.