Sunday, September 20, 2015

Obama’s Syria Policy

I kept asking why the administration wasn’t doing more to help my people. Then the Iran deal came through, and I knew.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I was meeting with high-level Obama administration officials in Washington, D.C., two months after escaping Syria in February 2014, and I had just described to them all the horrors I had seen: the torture of protesters, the rape of women, the bombardment of civilians, the barrel bombs, the massacres, the sieges, the starvation, and the gassing of hundreds of innocents with sarin in August 2013. I had recounted how I barely survived those sarin attacks and the siege of my hometown, Moadamiya, near Damascus; and how, by some miracle, I managed to trick the regime into letting me leave Syria.
Now, I was asking the officials to take simple steps, to do something, anything, that would protect the millions of civilians I had left behind from further starvation and slaughter. But as I pressed these officials for answers, their replies grew increasingly divorced from the Syrian conflict:
When I first heard words to the effect that “President Obama does not wish to upset the Iranians,” I thought it was one more bad excuse for inaction. But in the aftermath of the Iran deal, I realize that those who gave me that absurd line were actually the most honest.
President Obama wishes for a legacy of peace through diplomacy; that I understand. What I can’t understand is why he believes that making deals with dictators can bring peace. During the Obama presidency, millions of people in Iran, Egypt, Libya, Iraq, Syria and Ukraine protested for a better life only to be met with bullets, tanks and fighter jets.
Now tens of thousands in the Middle East are fleeing for Europe, despairing of ever seeing peace or freedom in their homelands. Had the president supported these people against oppression, he would have made the world a better place and achieved a true legacy. Instead he risks leaving behind disappointment and memories of drowned refugee children lying on beaches.

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