U.S. Grudgingly Intervenes in Syria

The United States will directly intervene in the ongoing Syrian civil war, but that doesn’t mean the Obama Administration is happy about it.

The U.S. confirmed on Thursday that the government of Bashar Assad has used chemical weapons against rebel fighters. This crosses what President Barack Obama has called a “red line,” a point at which the U.S. must intervene.

The U.S. will arm rebels directly, and is considering imposing a no-fly zone on the Jordanian border, which would give rebels a safe haven in which to train and organize.

American involvement has been growing more likely in recent weeks, as Russia continues to arm the Assad regime, and as pro-Iranian fighters from Lebanon enter the country to fight on Assad’s side. Still, the U.S. government doesn’t sound particularly thrilled to be engaging in yet another military struggle in the Arab world.

Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said that imposing a no-fly zone “would carry with it great and open-ended costs for the United States and the international community. It’s far more complex to undertake the type of effort, for instance, in Syria than it was in Libya.”

Unlike Libya, Syria is geographically situated at the crossroads of the Middle East. Bordering on Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Israel, Syria is of significant strategic importance. With Lebanon still recovering from its brutal civil war, and Iraq still fighting a low-level civil war sparked by the American invasion of the country, the future stability of the country is of vital importance.

Nevertheless, the Obama Administration has been hesitant to engage in the civil war. This is in no small part because the rebels have their share of terrorists and radicals among them. This was thrown into stark contrast when Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., visiting with rebels to spur support for intervention, accidentally met with Mohammad Nour, who is part of a group that kidnapped Lebanese pilgrims in 2012.

Frankly, I appreciate that the Obama Administration is moving into Syria carefully and grudgingly. The United States is battle-weary. We fought two wars in the last decade, at least one of which was a tragic, pointless waste at best.

War should not be engaged in carelessly, nor welcomed eagerly. If Assad is using chemical weapons against his citizens, then Obama is right — that is not something the international community can condone. We cannot sit idly by while a leader uses weapons of mass destruction against his own people.

But that doesn’t mean we should celebrate our engagement, nor that we must rush in blindly. The United States is going to join France, Saudi Arabia and Qatar in arming rebels. We may put together a no-fly zone. We’re not, however, going to send our troops in to go fight the evil-doing evil-doer. It may lack the panache of a splendid little war — but then, that’s exactly the point.


Image Source: DoumaRevolution/Flickr


Jim Ven
Jim Ven5 months ago


Eleonora Oldani
Eleonora Oldani3 years ago

Ros G. raised the following question a few days ago: "Heard tonight on Australian ABC news that the US has planned talks with the Taliban and are excluding the Afghanistan Government in a meeting in Qatar..talking to rebels over an elected Government???"

For the US this is "business as usual". They've done the same in Libya, Tunesia, Egypt to name just a few. While the Bush Administration was officially supporting Hosni Mubarak (the kicked out Egyptian President) the (banned) Muslimbrothers where photographed and videoed on several occasions entering the White House through a side entrance. The US is always "playing footsie" with the opposition as one never knows ... they might be the partner of tomorrow if the US feels they serve them and their interest better.

Knowing the Muslimbrothers a little bit ... they always sell out to the highest bidder. The "religion" is just decorum and a fig leave for those at the top in order to lure the gullible masses. Sad but true throughout hisstory and applicable to all religions and believes.

Robert H.
Robert Hamm3 years ago

And who would YOU feel Sarah if China came in and took sides in our next civil war?? Picked sides so to speak. I am sure you would be speaking from the other side of your mouth.

Syria is none of our business.

Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill3 years ago

We should have done something 3 years ago! Then, they really were rebels...now they are terrorists. Now we are arming them so they can use them against us and our allies! This is the result of Obama's poor leadership, leading from behind which isn't leading at all!

Ros G.
Ros G.3 years ago

Well, it's official now..the US is going to arm the Rebels in Syria (SBS Australia News) Qatar is going to fast-track the supply and John Kerry (think that's his name) said that he can't say who they are going to arm..Thank you yet again America..for making the rest of the World nervous with your over zealous generous offer..told you right from the start..there was nothing grudgingly about this..

Robert H.
Robert Hamm3 years ago

It would be incredibly stupid to send troops there. But war-hawks like McCain may press for it very hard. How they can be for austerity and spending many millions of dollars at the same time is beyond me, Its hypocrisy.

Ros G.
Ros G.3 years ago

Robert H..the World is watching the US and your representative Obama, just like you he had to clarify his words today. As for those poor soldiers, yes they would love to come home, but if they stay in the military it will only be for R&R leave...Syria the next destination.

Robert O.
Robert O.3 years ago

Thanks Jeff.

Robert H.
Robert Hamm3 years ago

I didn't say we couldn't control them. I said they are negotiating with them. If it doesn't work it doesn't work. I am sure our soldiers would love to just come home.

Ros G.
Ros G.3 years ago

Thanks Robert..how do you think the US can control them anymore than what has already been done?? Are you forgetting that there are thousands of soldiers from different nations there at the moment (even more in the past) and this "band of merry men" are still fighting these armies - another 4 US soldiers killed. What do you think these men want..more guns, more money, more power..yes I'm sure the US will be able to oblige them.