On the last stop of Obama’s Middle East trip, the President visited Jordan and met with head of state King Abdullah II ibn Al-Hussein. Their main discussion was the flow of Syrian refugee’s flowing into the country as the Civil War rages on. Syria, Jordans neighbor, has received over 460,000 refugees and rises daily (7,000). CNN reports, “That equals 10% of Jordan’s population, and the total could double by the end of the year, the king said in asking for more help from the international community as his country also deals with internal reforms in response to economic woes that are raising public dissatisfaction.” In response to Jordan’s’ economical needs to provide basic necessities such as food, clean water and shelter, Obama has pledged an additional 200 million dollars in aid.
Although this aide will slightly help the annually growing cost of Syrian refugees (550 million per year), it will not solve the conflict. A few questions still remain with the lack of involvement the United States has in Syria. The most important one being what is the United States interest? Many critics of Obama’s handling of the continuing war in Damascus, from Congress and the international community, have been offering plans in which the President could intervene militarily in Syria. The most promising plan is to arm militant opposition forces against Assad’s regime, giving them the resources they need to effectively topple the government. However, Obama still resists this notion and course of action. He said today in Amman, “The United Sates often finds itself in a situation where if it goes in militarily, then it’s criticized for going in militarily and if it doesn’t, people say ‘why didn’t you go in militarily?'” The President still believes that multilateral action and the weight of diplomacy will work.
As an avid Obama supporter, I am not so sure in his logic. With the constant death and atrocities being committed in Syria, the world is growing tired and weary of less than adequate results. Obama, even stating it today in Amman, still suports his belief that President Assad ‘will go.’ By arming or at least proliferating weapons to rebel supporters, it will pick up the process and means towards an end sooner. In the past it has worked for the United States, for example in WII we armed Great Britain against the Axis powers before Pearl Harbor and Japan entered the war. The United States has also armed Cuban exiles in 1961 in the Bay of Pigs Invasion at the command of Kennedy and the CIA. Although it was deemed a disaster, it was an action that caused the Cuban Missile Crisis which ultimately ended the conflict with Cuba/ Soviet Union.
Lets hope the trip to Jordan and seeing the constant pressure of the conflict in Syria first hand is a wake up call. Giving aide to Jordan is only a temporary solution and throwing money at refugee’s will not stop the fighting. As the leading moral country and superpower in the world today, it is the United States responsibility to do what is necessary when all options fail. Arming Syrian rebels is Obama’s last option before Assad decides to use chemical weapons to the growing body count (still under investigation by the way).
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