Now that violence has broken out in Jordan and Syria, countries where we have much more vital strategic interests, will Obama open up a fourth and a fifth military front as well?
Even as the Obama administration defends the NATO-led air war in Libya, the latest violent clashes in Syria and Jordan are raising new alarm among senior officials who view those countries, in the heartland of the Arab world, as far more vital to American interests.
Deepening chaos in Syria, in particular, could dash any remaining hopes for a Middle East peace agreement, several analysts said. It could also alter the American rivalry with Iran for influence in the region and pose challenges to the United States’ greatest ally in the region, Israel.
In interviews, administration officials said the uprising appeared to be widespread, involving different religious groups in southern and coastal regions of Syria, including Sunni Muslims usually loyal to President Bashar al-Assad. The new American ambassador in Damascus, Robert Ford, has been quietly reaching out to Mr. Assad to urge him to stop firing on his people.
As American officials confront the upheaval in Syria, a country with which the United States has icy relations, they say they are pulled between fears that its problems could destabilize neighbors like Lebanon and Israel, and the hope that it could weaken one of Iran’s key allies.
The Syrian unrest continued on Saturday, with government troops reported to have killed more protesters.With 61 people confirmed killed by security forces, the country’s status as an island of stability amid the Middle East storm seemed irretrievably lost.
For two years, the United States has tried to coax Damascus into negotiating a peace deal with Israel and to moving away from Iran — a fruitless effort that has left President Obama open to criticism on Capitol Hill that he is bolstering one of the most repressive regimes in the Arab world.
[...]Indeed, the crackdown calls into question the entire American engagement with Syria. Last June, the State Department organized a delegation from Microsoft, Dell and Cisco Systems to visit Mr. Assad with the message that he could attract more investment if he stopped censoring Facebook and Twitter. While the administration renewed economic sanctions against Syria, it approved export licenses for some civilian aircraft parts.
The Bush administration, by contrast, largely shunned Damascus, recalling its ambassador in February 2005 after the assassination of a former Lebanese prime minister, Rafik Hariri. Many Lebanese accuse Syria of involvement in the assassination, a charge it denies.
When Mr. Obama named Mr. Ford as his envoy last year, Republicans in the Senate held up the appointment for months, arguing that the United States should not reward Syria with closer ties. The administration said it would have more influence by restoring an ambassador.
Diplomacy only works when it is backed by the CREDIBLE threat of FORCE. For two years, Obama didn’t show that he was willing to use force, and it emboldened the Iran-backed Syrian government to behave violently. Look at how Obama fumbled the Iranian election, where civilians were being shot down in the streets. That’s what causes violence – appeasement of evil. If evil people thought that they were going to have to pay a price for being evil, then they wouldn’t be evil. Obama made friends with bad people – he emboldened them to do bad things.
What is the strategic advantage of war in Libya?
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said that Libya did not pose a threat to the United States before the U.S. began its military campaign against the North African country.
On “This Week,” ABC News’ Senior White House Correspondent Jake Tapper asked Gates, “Do you think Libya posed an actual or imminent threat to the United States?”
“No, no,” Gates said in a joint appearance with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. “It was not — it was not a vital national interest to the United States, but it was an interest and it was an interest for all of the reasons Secretary Clinton talked about. The engagement of the Arabs, the engagement of the Europeans, the general humanitarian question that was at stake,” he said.
Why didn’t the Obama administration go to Congress before engaging in military action in oil-rich Libya?
During his campaign for the Presidency, in December, 2007, Barack Obama told The Boston Globe that “The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”
Earlier in 2007, then-Senator Hillary Clinton said in a speech on the Senate floor that, “If the administration believes that any — any — use of force against Iran is necessary, the President must come to Congress to seek that authority.”
Bush debated the war in Iraq for 6 months and got permission from Congress before going in. Why couldn’t Obama do it? Why does Obama have to rush to war?