Home
In this issue
December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

It's not only Americans who are befuddled by Obama's Syria policy

By Jonathan S. Landay


Many in Middle East struggling to grasp President's logic


JewishWorldReview.com |

A MMAN, Jordan — (MCT) Ahmad Nemah, a midlevel Syrian rebel commander, is certain there's sound military logic behind President Barack Obama's decision to delay U.S. missile strikes against the Syrian regime, but he's having a hard time persuading his subordinates.

"I know that this is not a postponement but a strategic pause to set up for a surprise attack," insisted Nemah, a former colonel in Syrian air force intelligence. "Of course, people are depressed, and I'm having trouble convincing everyone that there will be a strike."

There's a good reason Nemah is having difficulty selling his argument to his fighters of the Free Syrian Army, the loose tangle of disparate guerrilla bands nominally backed by the United States and its European and Arab allies.


Gary McCoy, Cagle Cartoons



Obama's abrupt decision Saturday to delay the strikes that seemed just hours away is being seen in the region as the latest confirmation of an incoherent U.S. approach of mixed messages and unfulfilled threats that have driven America's standing to a new low.

"Washington doesn't understand the Middle East. His (Obama's) image here is of someone who is afraid of getting enmeshed in the machinations of the Middle East," said Maher Abu-Teyr, a political columnist with Ad-Dustour, a semi-official Jordanian daily newspaper. "There is no trust in Washington in the area because (people) think Obama is weak."

He cited a "constant change in rhetoric and hesitation" by the United States since the brutal conflict erupted in Syria in mid-2011. Among other missteps, he said, was the U.S. reluctance to take action early in the conflict that might have bolstered moderate rebel factions before the rise of al-Qaida-linked groups, which now dominate the opposition. "Obama should have moved in the first six months of the Syria crisis, not now," said Abu-Teyr. "Now, all of his choices are very difficult because he took all of this time."



Obama has shifted several times since the August 2012 "red line" he first set against Syrian President Bashar Assad's use of chemical weapons. After cautioning Assad against even moving a "whole bunch of chemical weapons around," he didn't enforce the warning when the regime allegedly was detected in December mixing components for the nerve gas sarin, or when in March the United States followed Britain and France in accusing Assad of having used chemical weapons "on a small scale."

The United States repeatedly has demanded that Assad leave power. But it has failed to forge a viable alternative from the feud-riven opposition factions comprising the U.S.-constructed Syrian Opposition Coalition, which the United States and others have called the sole legitimate representative of Syria's 20 million people.

Even if Obama — with or without congressional approval — orders U.S. warships in the Mediterranean to loose retaliatory strikes against the Syrian regime, the limited operation, which U.S. officials say wouldn't be aimed at toppling Assad, may do little to restore Washington's credibility. Moreover, they could carry significant costs for the security of the United States and its allies, experts said.

Washington could be dragged deeper into the conflict as a defiant Assad — bolstered by unwavering support from Russia and Iran — intensifies offensives to regain lost ground. More civilian deaths could make already long-shot prospects for peace talks even more remote while driving destabilizing flows of refugees — now estimated at 5,000 per day — into adjacent Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.

In return, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey could boost their weapons supplies and other support to rebel groups.

"We all need to be prepared for things to get worse before they get better," Antonio Guterres, the head of the U.N. refugee agency, warned Tuesday at a news conference in Geneva.


FREE SUBSCRIPTION TO INFLUENTIAL NEWSLETTER

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". HUNDREDS of columnists and cartoonists regularly appear. Sign up for the daily update. It's free. Just click here.


Ramzy Mardini, an independent Jordan-based political analyst who spent time at the Institute for the Study of War, a Washington policy institute, said that the United States doesn't appear to have a long-term strategy for dealing with such scenarios.

"There's no mechanism to reinforce any particular outcome," he said. "What you are eventually doing is encouraging military escalation."

Obama insists that he's committed to launching missile strikes against Assad in response to what the United States and its allies charge were regime chemical attacks that killed hundreds of civilians in rebel-held Damascus suburbs on Aug. 21. With most Americans opposing intervention, Obama put the operation on hold to lobby for congressional approval of a limited operation to deter Assad from using chemical weapons again. Assad contends that rebel forces fired the chemical weapons.

Obama "knows that if he doesn't have congressional support it reduces the perceived legitimacy of the act both at home and abroad," said Mark Jacobson, a former NATO official with the German Marshall Fund, a Washington policy institute.

Moreover, leaving Assad in power reflects an administration approach that wants to avoid any steps that could shift the advantage to al-Qaida-linked Islamist fighters.

Obama's calculations, however, matter little in a region whose leaders rarely pause to consider popular sentiment and that hasn't forgotten the Bush administration's use of bogus intelligence to justify the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

"U.S. influence has drastically decreased. It started long ago with Iraq," said Mardini. "Nobody really cares what the U.S. says anymore. They care about action."

Frustrated by what they see as U.S. inaction, Syrians stranded in a grimy, crime-ridden refugee camp in Jordan warned that support could grow for the al-Qaida-linked groups fighting to supplant 30 years of Assad family rule with an Islamist state. The rise to power of those groups would threaten the region, especially U.S. allies Israel, Turkey and Jordan.

Several opposition activists contacted inside Syria said that Assad has been using the postponement to redeploy troops and hardware that could be targeted to safer positions and into civilian areas.

"The postponement of the American strike is helping the regime evacuate soldiers and equipment from military sites," said an opposition activist in Ghouta, the Damascus suburb that bore the brunt of the alleged chemical attacks. "From the beginning of the revolution, the whole world has been silent about the massacres of the Syrian people. Therefore, the rebels don't count on these (U.S.) strikes, especially after the statements that the aim is not to bring down the regime."

Obama's reluctance to act decisively could make it even harder for Washington to get the Syrian Opposition Coalition to agree to peace talks with Assad, something the United States has been struggling to convene with Russia.

The perception of U.S. infirmity might even hurt prospects for progress toward settling the international feud over Iran's nuclear program, because Tehran could begin doubting Obama's threats to use force to stop it developing nuclear weapons, some experts believe.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


Comment by clicking here.



© 2013, McClatchy Washington Bureau. Distributed by MCT Information Services

Quantcast