- Gentlemen, start your drones: Judge’s ruling opens door for commercial use
- Soldier who hid, bragged about not saluting flag to be punished — in secret
- ‘Maverick’ of the seas: ‘Top Gun’ school for U.S. ship officers to launch
- Putin declares Sochi Paralympics open amid Ukrainian protest
- ‘In Jesus name, we pray’ sparks ire at Ohio council meeting
- Navy’s first laser weapon ready for prime time; drone killer to deploy this summer
- Billionaire backer: Rick Santorum ‘needs to be heard’ in 2016
- Obamacare fallout: 49 percent pessimistic; 45 percent ‘scared’
- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
U.S. leadership on Syria brings long-awaited relief to Group of Eight allies
When President Obama arrives in Northern Ireland for the Group of Eight summit Monday, some U.S. allies will wonder why he was late to a different party — the decision to intervene more strongly in the Syrian civil war.
The American president isn’t likely to be pleading with G-8 friends to help rebels overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad. Rather, analysts say, Britain, France and other nations will breathe a sigh of relief that the U.S. finally has decided to throw its weight behind the effort to topple the Syrian leader.
The White House announced last week that intelligence reports confirmed that Mr. Assad used chemical agents such as sarin gas against his own people, triggering a stronger U.S. response and a commitment in Syria that has been long-awaited by other nations. American involvement now will involve sending arms directly to Syrian rebels, in addition to more medical and communications supplies and potential training for opposition forces.
The administration may need to do even more, some Capitol Hill Republicans — and even Democrats — said Sunday.
Sen. Robert Menendez, New Jersey Democrat and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called the White House action a “first step.”
“The reality is we need to tip the scales, not simply to nudge them,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
On “NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, said the Obama administration’s objective should be to “balance the military power, and providing small arms won’t do it.”
Many others following the Syrian crisis share Mr. Graham’s skepticism.
“Until this recent announcement by the Obama administration, the allies have been looking for U.S. leadership. It is the absence of U.S. leadership that, in particular, explains the longevity of this conflict,” said Murhaf Jouejati, a professor of Middle East studies at the National Defense University and George Washington University. A specialist on the region, Mr. Jouejati is a native of Syria, which is being torn apart by a bloody civil war that has raged for more than two years and has claimed more than 92,000 lives, according to United Nations estimates.
“Now that the U.S. has taken leadership, each country among the allies will have a particular role to play,” he said. “Everybody was waiting for the United States. And it was the United States that was not moving.”
Key meeting for world leaders
Mr. Obama will arrive Monday morning at the resort in Northern Ireland where the summit is being held and will participate in sessions through Tuesday. From there, the president and his family will travel to Berlin, where Mr. Obama will give a speech Wednesday at the Brandenburg Gate.
This G-8 gathering could be pivotal for Mr. Obama as he looks for a way to defuse the situation in Syria. Late Friday, he held a conference call with British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Francois Hollande, Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta and German Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss the crisis. In addition to those leaders, the heads of Russia, Japan and Canada will attend the summit.
“He’ll be discussing with [other G-8] leaders what the best way forward is. He’ll hear from them what their plans are. Thus far, they’ve been important partners,” Ben Rhodes, the administration’s deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, said during a White House press briefing Friday. “This will be an ongoing dialogue between the president and his fellow leaders.”
The international community’s new tack in Syria is expected to dominate the G-8 agenda, but major developments in Iran, North Korea and other parts of the world also will be addressed.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Ben Wolfgang covers the White House for The Washington Times.
Before joining the Times in March 2011, Ben spent four years as a political reporter at the Republican-Herald in Pottsville, Pa.
He can be reached at email@example.com.
- Russia besieges Crimea as U.S. seeks diplomacy
- Ukrainian Prime Minister Yatsenyuk to meet with Obama at White House
- Cruz: Putin taking advantage of Obama's weakness
- Gates: Obama strategy won't stop Putin
- Paul takes veiled shot at Cruz, says GOP must focus on growth
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
Taxpayers must pay the freight for over-budget train projects
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Rand Paul wins 2014 CPAC straw poll, Ted Cruz finishes a distant second
- SAUERBREY: Taxing Marylanders until they flee
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- Bill Clinton cashes in on struggling nonprofit hospital
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- CPAC 2014 straw poll results
- Senate Democrats, Republicans spar over restoring unemployment benefits
- 'Blarney Blowout' near UMass results in 73 arrests; 4 officers injured
- Russias Putin nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again