MEL GURTOV – There are no winners, here or abroad, in Trumpâ€™s decision to withdraw troops from Syria. But there are important losers: innocent lives and prospects for peace. However remote a political settlement in Syria and Afghanistan might have been before, it is even more remote now. With the US largely out of the picture, incentives for adversariesâ€”Syria and Russia in Syria, the Taliban in Afghanistanâ€”to negotiate war-ending or at least violence-reduction agreements are now gone. Civil war is likely to gain intensity. Civilian casualties and refugee numbers will rise substantially. A new regional war is possible. The defeat of peace should be the focus of criticsâ€™ concern.
JAMES CARDEN – Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has accused President Trump and Vice President Pence of protecting â€œal-Qaeda and other jihadist forces in Syria.â€
MEL GURTOV – Protect innocent civilians, gain the removal from Syria of as many occupying forces as possible, let Assad learn what it means to be dependent on Russiaâ€”these are all that is left of a Syria policy.
DARIUS SHAHTAHMASEBI – August 04, 2016 “Information Clearing House” – “Anti Media” – Corporate media regularly attempts to present Bashar al-Assadâ€™s government in Syria as solely responsible for the ongoing conflict in the region. The media does report on events that contradict this narrative â€” albeit sparingly â€” but taken together, these underreported details shine a new light on the conflict.
WINSLOW MYERS – Torture and rape are unbearable enough, but a nuclear war anywhere could throw billions of people into the misery of worldwide starvation. It is a dangerous illusion to assume that our political leaders and foreign policy experts will magically prevent apocalypseâ€”that the generals on the front lines in Pakistan or anywhere else are sufficiently trained and disciplined never to fall into fatal error. With each further deployment of battlefield nuclear weapons, weapons that the United States and other nuclear powers are also developing, the temptation grows to cross the nuclear threshold. As Lao Tzu said, â€œif you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.â€ All nations share an interest in stepping back from a catastrophe where any â€œvictoryâ€ is a mirage that briefly disguises defeat for all.
MAJD ISREB, M.D. – Syrian people have suffered enough for almost five years in the worst humanitarian disaster since WWII. American people who were generous enough to accept about 760,000 Vietnamese refugees, and many Bosnian refugees are surely able to extend a welcoming hand to less than 0.01 percent of the displaced Syrians.
MEL GURTOV – The contrast between Obama the engager and Obama the warrior is striking. US arms exports to authoritarian regimes such as Pakistanâ€™s, just one element of military aid, continue to rise even as we celebrate the Presidentâ€™s initiatives with Iran and Cuba.
DAVID SWANSON – The accepted story in the United States of what’s happened in Syria is just that, a story told to make narrative sense of something completely un-understood.
ROBERT PARRY – Showing who some in Congress believe is the real master of U.S. foreign policy, House Speaker John Boehner has invited Israelâ€™s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session and offer a rebuttal to President Barack Obamaâ€™s comments on world affairs in his State of the Union speech. Boehner made clear that Netanyahuâ€™s third speech to a joint session of the U.S. Congress â€“ scheduled for Feb. 11 â€“ was meant to counter Obamaâ€™s assessments.
ROBERT PARRY – Neocon ideology appears to have seized near total control over the editorial pages of Americaâ€™s premier news organizations, including the New York Times and the Washington Post, contributing to an information crisis inside â€œthe worldâ€™s superpower,â€ a development that should unnerve both Americans and the world community.
WILLIAM R. POLK – Underlying the political situation in Syria is an economic and ecological disaster resulting from climate change. As more and more people competed for scarce jobs, food and other resources, they became desperate and their desperation led inexorably to war. Military support for neither side of the conflict will address its root causes.
PHYLLIS BENNIS – Syria is close to full-scale civil war. If the conflict escalates further, as former UN Secretary-General and current envoy of both the UN and the Arab League Kofi Annan noted: “Syria is not Libya, it will not implode, it will explode beyond its borders.”
ALON BEN-MEIR – Despite efforts to internationally isolate Syria, especially during the Bush era, Syria has reasserted itself as a central player in the Middle East. Following the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005, the United States withdrew its ambassador to Beirut, intensified sanctions against Damascus and sought to deepen Syria’s isolation from the international community. The recent array of high-level visitors to Damascus-including United States officials-demonstrates that President Bashar al-Assad has weathered the storm of isolation and has emerged as an essential actor in resolving regional disputes, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel should now respond favorably to Damascus’ call for renewed peace talks, and in so doing utilize Syria’s influence to advance peace, rather than thwart it.