The latest news on Syria includes whether President Obama should do more to stop the Islamic State (IS) militants from further atrocities. For months, IS has terrorized innocent civilians with executions and imprisonment while the group also performs takeovers of cities in both Syria and Iraq. Some may argue the militant group, which split off from Al Qaeda, has been successful due to the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. Others may argue it is due to both Iraq and Syria being unable to effectively defend their sovereignty over their territory. The U.S. will have to make a decision on their next move according to their own investigations, reports of threats made against humanity, and the will of the U.S. Commander-in-Chief.
According to a report from the Los Angeles Times, the Obama Administration has officially considered the beheading of American journalist James Foley a terrorist attack. What President Obama sought to leave alone in both Syria and Iraq has forced its way into American politics yet again, as IS groups not only seek to recruit foreign devotees, but commit further atrocities toward humanity.
In a report by the Chicago Tribune, United Nation (U.N.) investigators had stated both the Syrian government and IS were committing “war crimes” against each other and humanity. IS was reported as committing public executions and whippings while the Syrian government was believed to be dropping “barrel bombs” in civilian areas with speculation that such barrels also contain the chemical agent, chlorine. Not only did these occurrences happen as recently as April, but the U.N. had reported Syria is also killing and torturing their very own citizens.
On August 26, Anne Gearan of The Washington Post had reported the Obama Administration had ruled out cooperation with the Syrian government on airstrikes because according to Jen Paski, a spokesperson with the State Department, “there will be no cooperation” with President Bashar al-Assad. Despite Assad’s interest in also wanting to defeat IS groups, U.S. officials had stated other ways were being considered in order to target airstrikes against IS militant groups located in Syria, particularly in the northern area where the city of Raqqa is located and where IS leaders are believed to be stationed.
Although Syria’s Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem was reported as highly discouraging U.S. officials from taking any unilateral action, Gearan reported that Moualem was open to having the U.S. work with Syrian government to defeat IS forces. Otherwise, any action would test Syria’s air defenses or Assad’s military forces, Geran had reported. Geran also added that U.S. officials have not made any concrete decisions, nor have they ruled anything out.
The latest news on Syria also includes the Obama Administration looking for support from foreign allies. According to a report by FOX News, the New York Times reported that White House representatives had mentioned Great Britain and Australia could be key allies in joining any U.S. launch of airstrikes on Syria if the decision was made to act. In fact, the report mentioned the Obama Administration has already considered using military bases located in Turkey, and that help was also sought from Jordan, as well as the Free Syria Army located in Saudia Arabia, and financial groups from both Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
FOX News reported that the Pentagon had also been given authorization to send drone aircraft over Syria to monitor the position of IS. The N.Y. Times clarified that the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also mentioned “non-Syrian spy planes” had carried out surveillance. This brings valid concerns from the homeland which, according to an Opinion report by the N.Y. Times includes repercussions dealing with the cost of such military commitment, the real benefit of any success in Syria, and whether an accurate assessment of imminent threat even exists.
Whether the latest news on Syria includes the U.S. drawing closer to reaching a firm decision, or not, the U.S. will have to consider all the elements going into such a big move, including but not limited to the seriousness of adjoining allies, reaction from Syrian government, and the cost of defeating a militant group which has spread like wildfire across Syria and Iraq. Though the Opinion report from the N.Y. Times stated the Defense Department does not believe IS poses an imminent threat on U.S. territory, the fact that IS threatened to kill more Americans abroad forces the Obama Administration to come to a decision while the world awaits their next move.
By Liz Pimentel
See also Guardian Liberty Voice