“There’s a different leader in Syria now. Many of the members of Congress of both parties who have gone to Syria in recent months have said they believe he’s a reformer. What’s been happening there the last few weeks is deeply concerning, but there’s a difference between calling out aircraft and indiscriminately strafing and bombing your own cities [as in Libya] and police actions, which, frankly, have exceeded the use of force that any of us would want to see.”
Well, Assad over the past year has strafed and bombed his own cities, and the Obama administration did . . . nothing.
However, Obama and other Western leaders are beginning to regret their apathy to the tens of thousands of Syrian civilians who have been mowed down by the Assad regime.
As recently acknowledged by UK Prime Minister Cameron (see: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/us-election/9662268/Syria-crisis-is-priority-Cameron-tells-Obama.html):
"Look, let's be frank, what we've done for the last 18 months hasn't been enough.
. . . .
The slaughter continues, the bloodshed is appalling, the bad effects it's having on the region, the radicalisation but also the humanitarian crisis that is engulfing Syria. So let's work together on really pushing what more we can do, what other steps we can take to hasten the end of this regime."
And indeed, the US is suddenly weighing intervention in Syria. As noted in a New York Times article entitled "U.S. Weighs Bolder Effort to Intervene in Syria’s Conflict" (see: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/29/world/us-is-weighing-stronger-action-in-syrian-conflict.html?_r=0):
"'The administration has figured out that if they don’t start doing something, the war will be over and they won’t have any influence over the combat forces on the ground,' said Jeffrey White, a former Defense Intelligence Agency intelligence officer and specialist on the Syria military. 'They may have some influence with various political groups and factions, but they won’t have influence with the fighters, and the fighters will control the territory.'"
Why the change of heart? What finally got the Obama administration's attention? Simple. The rebels have overrun several army bases over recent weeks, giving them tanks and much needed ammunition. In addition, the rebels have been supplied with Stinger shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles by the Saudis (see: http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/08/17/232739.html) and have brought down one attack helicopter and a jet fighter over the past two days. And if that is not enough, al-Qaeda style car bombings in the pro-regime town of Jaramana, outside of Damascus, killed 54 civilians on Wednesday.
In short, the Assad regime is wobbling, and when it finally falls, the Obama administration is without a strategy to prevent Syria's enormous stockpiles of chemical weapons from falling into the wrong hands.
Yeah, I know: Obama was supposed to have delivered a death blow to al-Qaeda when he took out bin Laden.
Great job, Hillary.