The outgoing Obama presidency's failed Syrian policy left behind a region in total chaos where thousands of people have lost their families and homes
U.S. President Barack Obama, who is to hand over the presidential seat to President-elect Donald Trump on Friday, let down almost every segment of society during his term in office. The greatest mess he left the Middle East has been the Syrian crisis.
The U.S. was the first country to respond to the uprisings that broke out in 2011. The Obama administration seemed to be siding with the opponents immediately after the unrest began while mobilizing several countries in the region, including Turkey.
In the sixth month of the uprisings, the U.S. president determinedly and outspokenly said: "The future of Syria must be determined by its people, but President Bashar Assad is standing in their way. For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside."Meanwhile, Obama's Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was displaying a more radical approach at the United Nations' meetings on Syria. "If you do not choose to try to stand on the side of the Syrian people, then you are standing on the side of continued killing and abuses that are carried out every single day," Clinton said at a U.N. meeting.
On Aug. 21, 2012, Washington announced its red lines on the matter of Syria, arguing that Assad's employment of chemical weapons was the reason for a military intervention.
The year 2013 gave Obama an opportunity. While documents proving that Assad used chemical weapons on Syrian people were circulating across the world, all eyes focused on Obama's reaction. But no remnant of his former determined and democratic stance was left at that point. For whatever reason, Obama's priority switched from overthrowing Assad to the fight against Daesh, which blurred his aforementioned red lines.
Understanding that Obama would not do anything against Assad, Russia and Iran reinforced their support for Assad's regime. Since then, the crisis in Syria has expanded, spreading ever-increasing terror to other countries in the region and as far away as Europe.
Obama was making the situation in Syria even worse. Apart from the Daesh threat brought about as he lingered on the uncertainty in the region, Obama also backed up the outlawed PKK's Syrian offshoots, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and People's Protection Units (YPG). The president even provided weapons aid to PKK and PYD militants on the grounds that they are "secular" formations.
The situation in Syria has turned into an impasse. Millions of refugees have played havoc with the demographic and economic structure of many countries, particularly Turkey. It is also possible to ascribe the disrupted structure of the European Union to this process.
Our only consolation is Obama's departure. He will no longer be a party to the Syrian issue. The new and promising Trump administration is to join the determined leaders of Turkey, Russia and Iran in the meeting to be held in Kazakhstan's Astana for a resolution in Syria.
Hopefully, the world will be able to erase this disgrace from its collective memory.