Obama policies made a 'muddle' of Syria

Problems in Syria remain emblematic of incoherence in Obama’s foreign policy, despite Kerry’s attempt at defense

Obama policies made a 'muddle' of Syria

World Bulletin / News Desk

As President Barack Obama has only one day left in office, experts say his policies actually led to the conflict in Syria becoming a “muddle” despite his team's defense that U.S. has accomplished much in two years.

Over a week ago, U.S. Secretary of State Kerry for the last time defended U.S. policies in Syria during a press conference, saying Washington was "on the right path, both diplomatically and militarily," in fighting ISIL and added that it should "stay on that course".

However, experts say that the truth is something different.

“Syria is certain to remain a prime example of muddle and incoherence in Obama's foreign policy,” Pavel Baev from the Washington-based Brookings Institution told Anadolu Agency.

According to another Washington-based political analyst, Hussain Abdul-Hussain, the Middle East had been headed in the right direction “until Obama committed grave mistakes.”

"When Obama let Iran and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad try to forcefully kill a peaceful revolution in Syria, chaos ensued and gave more space for extremist groups to organize across the Iraqi-Syrian border," Abdul-Hussain said.

Moreover, Obama’s Mideast policies upset the balances not only in Syria, but also in some other conflict zones like Iraq, which faces many other problems such as extremist groups getting stronger, according to several critics in Al-Monitor and the Wall Street Journal.

“The offensive on Mosul – inconclusive as it is – cannot compensate for the fact that ISIL came into existence on Obama's watch, and cannot camouflage the failure in stopping the tragedy in Aleppo,” Brooking’s Baev said.

ISIL emerged from al-Qaeda in Iraq in 2004 while the U.S. invasion in the country continued, according to the Wilson Center in Washington.

The group reemerged in 2011 – when Obama was in office – and was renamed the so-called “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria” (ISIS) in 2013. As the extremist group actually has nothing to do with Islam, Turkey and others know it as ISIL.

According to the Wilson Center, the U.S.-led coalition began airstrikes against ISIL in Iraq in 2014, and expanded the campaign to Syria shortly after the operations in Iraq.

In the following years, the group took advantage of growing instability in Iraq and Syria to carry out attacks and bolster its ranks, the center says.

Last October, the Iraqi army – backed by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes and local allies on the ground – began a wide-ranging campaign to retake Mosul, which ISIL overran in mid-2014.

However, Mosul is still not fully liberated from ISIL.

Meanwhile, several planned UN-led negotiation talks – supported by the U.S. – in Vienna and Geneva for the conflict in Syria failed, and the U.S. was harshly criticized for not doing enough to make them succeed. Moreover, none of the cease-fires brokered by the U.S. and Russia really held even in parts of Syria.

Additionally, Moscow lately carried out a pounding aerial offensive to assist forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that left much of eastern Aleppo in ruins, and displaced or killed scores of civilians.

Late last month, Syrian opposition forces and the regime reached a cease-fire deal, brokered by Turkey and Russia, to evacuate civilians from eastern Aleppo to safe areas in opposition-held Idlib.

Released shortly after the press briefing, Kerry’s 21-page summary of the Cabinet exit memo which covers U.S. domestic and international policies under the Obama administration argues how successful Washington has been in the fight against ISIL in Syria as well as its efforts for a political solution for Syria.

Last Mod: 19 Ocak 2017, 14:37
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