Sep 09 2013
US Secretary of State John Kerry has announced that he has managed to convince a number of Arab leaders to join the United States on a military campaign against the Syrian regime. Counting Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates among its allies, the Obama Administration hopes to gather a coalition of nations before the Senate votes to authorize the President to use force this week. Repeating a familiar refrain to justify an attack, Mr. Kerry said that a “global red line” had been crossed and that nations of the world could not be “silent spectators to slaughter.”
Kerry also made an offhand remark, that Syria’s President could still call off a US strike by turning over his chemical weapons cache within the week.
In urging a yes vote in Congress, Obama also has to make the case that the Syrian opposition to President Bashar Al Assad, which the US has been supporting through training, is friendly to US interests. However, Secretary Kerry’s portrayal of rebel forces as moderate is at odds with European intelligence sources who say “Islamic extremists remain by far the fiercest and best-organized rebel elements” (Reuters).
The push to sway public opinion is also heavily underway with President Obama scheduled for half a dozen interviews today and a major address on Syria tomorrow. American sentiment remains strongly against a military strike on Syria and dozens of cities around the nation, including here in Los Angeles, held antiwar rallies.
GUEST: Rania Masri, assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences at the University of Balamand in Lebanon and is currently visiting the U.S.