By Sharif Hikmat Nashashbi…
Barack Obama has warned that he could deploy American forces in Syria if “we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilised,” his first direct threat of force against the Assad regime since the uprising began. A British echo swiftly followed, with the government talking of a “revisit” of its approach so far.
“Obama’s threats are simply propaganda linked to the US elections,” said Qadri Jamil, Syria’s deputy prime minister for economic affairs. I would not be so dismissive, particularly in light of Obama’s statement that contingency plans have been drawn up. This is a very serious development that has drawn sharp condemnation from the Assad regime’s main allies.
“There should be no interference from the outside,” said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov who, after meeting China’s ambassador, added that Moscow and Beijing were committed to “the need to strictly adhere to the norms of international law…and not to allow their violation.” China’s state news agency Xinhua accused the West of “digging deep for excuses to intervene militarily,” describing Obama’s warning as “dangerously irresponsible.”
I have supported the goals and aspirations of Syria’s revolution from the outset, but I oppose the realisation of Obama’s threat, and so should those, like me, who yearn for an end to the Assad regime. The warning was not made out of concern for the Syrian people – if that was the case, Obama’s “red line” would have been the killing of thousands upon thousands of civilians, and the displacement of hundreds of thousands.
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