U.S. President Barack Obama demanded the resignation of the secretary of defense, Chuck Hagel, with whom he conflicted over the issue of the Syrian dictator, President Bashar Assad. As is known, Hagel was defending the inclusion of the perspective of Assad's subversion in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) - a view parallel to Turkey's arguments. On the other hand, the Obama administration, which admitted that they "found an enemy that would fight for years," is insisting on populist methods such as good-for-nothing air operations against ISIS. Another development in Syria that coincided with Hagel's resignation showed one more time how wrong Obama's approach is.
While the entire world has focused on ISIS, which was nearly turned into a global object of fear with the air operation shows of the U.S., Assad, who caused the death of 250,000 people in four years, is keeping his job. Assad continues his massacres by capturing nearly all the cities except Deir ez-Zor and Raqqa, which are under the control of ISIS. Lately, the regime's forces closed the 4-kilometer humanitarian passage between Aleppo in Syria and Turkey. While the international coalition was dealing with ISIS, the group, also known as "Assad's crouches," since the regime prevalent in the region aided its growth, the dictator easily entered the city. It is said that the last units of the Free Syrian Army that keeps resisting to protect civilians in the city has left their positions.
Let's hear what this development means from Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, who has seen to the care of about 2 million Syrian refugees who have fled Assad's massacres: "Recently, the main target of the Syrian regime is to prevent its opponents from having access to international aid by besieging Aleppo and cutting off its opponents' ties with Turkey. This means that we could face an immigration of nearly 3 million people. As long as the Syrian opposition is not fully supported, extremist groups will keep being the center of attraction and the regime will keep making use of it. It is clear that air operations will not be enough by themselves to get rid of the threat caused by ISIS."
Obama blurred the red lines of the U.S.
Doubtlessly, ISIS is a terrorist organization that poses a serious threat to the region. However, the U.S.' attempts to shoot the blood sucking mosquitoes in the country with airstrikes without trying to drain the Damascus swamp certainly does not contribute to the fight with this terrorist group. The civil war, ongoing for four years, caused the growth of chaos and radical groups such as ISIS in Syria. If Obama had displayed the courage to develop a position against Assad in the first year of the civil war as Ankara and Hagel suggested, such agonies would not have been experienced. The Free Syrian Army, the umbrella term for the democratic opposition forces in Syria, would have provided unity under the supervision of the international community.
The thousands of civilians that were killed would be alive in their hometowns now, and about 10 million Syrian refugees taking asylum in neighboring countries would be in their homes today. But of course this picture has been disregarded by the Obama administration, which claims that they conducted their ineffective airstrikes against ISIS "on behalf of humanity." The socio-economic problems suffered by the region's countries that shoulder the moral and material burden of the war do not interest the U.S. Therefore, it does not regard 3 million Syrian refugees seeking asylum in Middle Eastern countries, particularly in Turkey, as a big deal.
But strangely, Mr. Obama also mentioned his "red lines" to reinforce his international prestige. He was persuaded by the evidence approved by international institutions on the matter of thousands of people Assad killed with chemical weapons. And now he ignores the violation of the pledge of suspending the blockade the regime implements in Syrian cities for humanitarian help in the Second Geneva Convention. I guess President Obama sees no harm in blurring the red lines of the U.S. when Damascus comes into the question. However, this double standard cannot be only attributed to Obama's political problems as what really matters here is the prestige of the U.S. and the heritage of democrats, of course.
Meanwhile, we Turks ask each other by looking at their attitude in the face of all those humanitarian tragedies: Which one was the Republican, Obama or Hagel? I must admit that I have not yet seen anyone who could give a straight answer to that.