Skip to main content

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated Cookie policy, Privacy policy and Terms & Conditions

sachs264_John Moore_Getty Images_us flag wall John Moore/Getty Images

America’s True Role in Syria

Syria’s civil war is the most dangerous and destructive crisis on the planet. Unfortunately, President Barack Obama has greatly compounded the dangers by hiding the US role in Syria from the American people and from world opinion.

NEW YORK – Syria’s civil war is the most dangerous and destructive crisis on the planet. Since early 2011, hundreds of thousands have died; around ten million Syrians have been displaced; Europe has been convulsed with Islamic State (ISIS) terror and the political fallout of refugees; and the United States and its NATO allies have more than once come perilously close to direct confrontation with Russia.

Unfortunately, President Barack Obama has greatly compounded the dangers by hiding the US role in Syria from the American people and from world opinion. An end to the Syrian war requires an honest accounting by the US of its ongoing, often secretive role in the Syrian conflict since 2011, including who is funding, arming, training, and abetting the various sides. Such exposure would help bring to an end many countries’ reckless actions.

A widespread – and false – perception is that Obama has kept the US out of the Syrian war. Indeed, the US right wing routinely criticizes him for having drawn a line in the sand for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad over chemical weapons, and then backing off when Assad allegedly crossed it (the issue remains murky and disputed, like so much else in Syria). A leading columnist for the Financial Times, repeating the erroneous idea that the US has remained on the sidelines, recently implied that Obama had rejected the advice of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to arm the Syrian rebels fighting Assad.

We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.

To continue reading, subscribe now.

Subscribe

Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.

https://prosyn.org/onwBD3n;

Handpicked to read next

  1. haass107_JUNG YEON-JEAFP via Getty Images_northkoreanuclearmissile Jung Yeon-Je/AFP via Getty Images

    The Coming Nuclear Crises

    Richard N. Haass

    We are entering a new and dangerous period in which nuclear competition or even use of nuclear weapons could again become the greatest threat to global stability. Less certain is whether today’s leaders are up to meeting this emerging challenge.

    0