Posted by Joshua on Sunday, January 27th, 2013
But in Syria, his administration wants to make sure U.S. action would not backfire, he said.
“We do nobody a service when we leap before we look, where we … take on things without having thought through all the consequences of it,” Obama told CBS.
“We are not going to be able to control every aspect of every transition and transformation” in conflicts around the world, he said. “Sometimes they’re going to go sideways.” (Editing by Mohammad Zargham)
“I’m older than the president,” she joked, then turned serious. “I remember some of the speeches of Eisenhower as a young girl. You know you’ve got to be careful, you have to be thoughtful, you can’t rush in, especially now where it’s more complex now than it’s been in decades.”
Clinton called Syria a “wicked problem” that highlights the delicate balancing act of how to make sure U.S. foreign policy upholds American values and freedom in situations where the solution has the potential to be worse than the problem.
Clinton said the president’s policy on Syria has been appropriately measured.
“I’m certainly grateful for the president’s steady hand and hard questions and thoughtful analysis as to what we should and shouldn’t do,” he said.
President Obama to CHRIS HUGHES of New Republic
CH: The last question is about Syria. I wonder if you can speak about how you personally, morally, wrestle with the ongoing violence there.
Obama: Every morning, I have what’s called the PDB—presidential daily briefing—and our intelligence and national security teams come in here and they essentially brief me on the events of the previous day. And very rarely is there good news. And a big chunk of my day is occupied by news of war, terrorism, ethnic clashes, violence done to innocents. And what I have to constantly wrestle with is where and when can the United States intervene or act in ways that advance our national interest, advance our security, and speak to our highest ideals and sense of common humanity.
And as I wrestle with those decisions, I am more mindful probably than most of not only our incredible strengths and capabilities, but also our limitations. In a situation like Syria, I have to ask, can we make a difference in that situation? Would a military intervention have an impact? How would it affect our ability to support troops who are still in Afghanistan? What would be the aftermath of our involvement on the ground? Could it trigger even worse violence or the use of chemical weapons? What offers the best prospect of a stable post-Assad regime? And how do I weigh tens of thousands who’ve been killed in Syria versus the tens of thousands who are currently being killed in the Congo?
Those are not simple questions. And you process them as best you can. You make the decisions you think balance all these equities, and you hope that, at the end of your presidency, you can look back and say, I made more right calls than not and that I saved lives where I could, and that America, as best it could in a difficult, dangerous world, was, net, a force for good.
On Friday, a senior member of Saudi Arabia’s monarchy said militants should be given sophisticated arms, including anti-aircraft weapons.
“What is needed are sophisticated, high-level weapons that can bring down planes, can take out tanks at a distance. This is not getting through,” Prince Turki al-Faisal, a former intelligence chief and brother of the Saudi foreign minister, said at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
“I’m not in government so I don’t have to be diplomatic. I assume we’re sending weapons and if we were not sending weapons it would be terrible mistake on our part,” Faisal said, adding that “You have to level the playing field…”
Jihadists and Secular Activists Clash in Syria
By HANIA MOURTADA and ANNE BARNARD, January 26, 2013
BEIRUT, Lebanon — The tensions had been simmering for months in the northern Syrian town of Saraqib. Civilian antigovernment activists had complained of rebel fighters who needlessly destroyed a milk factory and treated residents disrespectfully. A growing contingent of jihadist fighters from the ideologically extreme and militarily formidable Nusra Front was suspicious of the activists’ secular, nonviolent agenda.
On Thursday, mistrust erupted into confrontation. Masked men believed to be with Al Nusra raided the headquarters of two secular civilian grass-roots organizations — setting in motion one of the most dramatic tests yet of the makeshift system of local governance that civilians and fighters have established in Saraqib, a rebel-held town.
The dispute also tests the clout of jihadist fighters and the ability of civilian opposition groups to stand up to them. The increasingly prominent role of jihadist battalions on the battlefield worried the United States enough to blacklist Al Nusra last year as a terrorist organization, an effort to isolate it that may have backfired. The Syrian opposition is ambivalent about the group: while many antigovernment activists oppose its vision of an Islamic state and complain of attempts to enforce pious practices, its relatively steady arms supply and string of battleground victories have brought it respect
Israel Girds For Attacks As Syria Falls Apart
By JODI RUDOREN and ANNE BARNARD NYTimes
“If there will be a need, we will take action to prevent chemical weapons from being transferred to Islamic terror organizations,” Mr. Shalom said on Army Radio. “We are obligated to keep our eye on it at all times, in the event chemical weapons fall into Hezbollah’s hands.”…
Uprising’s first Druze defector declared dead
January 24, 2013 The Daily Star
by Marlin Dick
The first army defector from the southern province of Swaida was declared dead Wednesday, after having led a battle against regime forces earlier in the month.
The Facebook page of the Revolutionary Military Council for Swaida said that Khaldoun Zeineddine, the leader of the Sultan Pasha al-Atrash Battalion of the Free Syrian Army, had been “martyred,” along with an undisclosed number of his comrades….
…28 rebels of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), the main opposition fighting to topple the regime of President Hafez Assad, and five from the Kurdish Popular Protection Committee (YPG), were killed in last week’s encounter….
“We are struggling against terrorist armed groups who have caused total destruction in the city and forced our people to leave their homes,” Silo told Rudaw over the phone. “We will confront all enemies of the Kurdish people, whether they belong to the regime or the FSA.”
Silo said that fighters from the al-Nusra Front, Ghuraba al-Sham and the FSA were involved in the fighting.
“Kurdish areas should remain under Kurdish control, otherwise the consequences will be severe for the future of our people,” he added.
المجلس العسكري السرياني السوري Syriac Military Council formed
Assad made ‘grave error’ over reforms: Medvedev
2013-01-27 15:39:49.135 GMT
SYRIAN President Bashar al-Assad made a “grave, perhaps fatal error” by delaying political reforms, Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev says.
“He should have acted much more quickly and reached out to the peaceful opposition, which was ready to sit at the negotiating table with him,” Russian news agencies quoted Medvedev as saying.
“It’s a grave error on his part, perhaps fatal,” he said, in a rare criticism of Assad by Syria’s traditional ally Moscow.
“It seems to me that his chances of staying (in power) are shrinking day by day,” Medvedev said in remarks to CNN television on the sidelines of the Davos World Economic Forum in Switzerland.
He reiterated Russia’s position that only the Syrian people can decide the fate of Assad, whose departure the West has long called for in the face of the nearly two-year-long conflict in Syria.
“I repeat once again: It is for the Syrian people to decide. Not Russia or the United States or any other country.” Moscow has long opposed any foreign intervention in the conflict that the United Nations says has killed at least 60,000 people since March 2011.
This Message is addressed to the French Republic and its people from the Mujahideen of Syria, following the French government’s decision to attack our noble brothers, who instated the shari’a, who fought polytheism, who spread monotheism in northern Mali – the law of Allah, the shari’a, the only legislation to which a Muslim may submit.
The most fundamental right of a Muslim is to live according to his religion, and his duty is to strive to instate it on the lands of Islam.
A Mujahid fights so that the word of Allah may reign supreme.
The simple reason that drives France and its allies to attack and kill those who establish the shari’a in Muslim countries is that they want to maintain the subservient regimes that agreed to be their vassals, to serve their interests in Muslim countries, and to oppress them with their tyranny.
As a result of the decision of the French government, which is not satisfied with preventing our virtuous sisters from donning the veil in accordance with Allah’s decree, and with constantly fighting Islam and the Muslims…