comments_image Comments

Obama wrestles with US role in Syria conflict

US President Barack Obama during the 57th Presidential inauguration ceremony on January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC
US President Barack Obama waves after taking the oath of office during the 57th Presidential Inauguration ceremonial swearing-in at the US Capitol on January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC. Obama said in an interview published on Monday that he was wrestling

US President Barack Obama said in an interview published on Monday that he was wrestling with a decision on whether the US should get involved to resolve the conflict in Syria.

"In a situation like Syria, I have to ask, can we make a difference in that situation?" he said in an interview with the New Republic magazine.

"Would a military intervention have an impact? How would it affect our ability to support troops who are still in Afghanistan? What would be the aftermath of our involvement on the ground? Could it trigger even worse violence or the use of chemical weapons? What offers the best prospect of a stable post-Assad regime? And how do I weigh tens of thousands who've been killed in Syria versus the tens of thousands who are currently being killed in the Congo?"

"And what I have to constantly wrestle with is where and when can the United States intervene or act in ways that advance our national interest, advance our security, and speak to our highest ideals and sense of common humanity," Obama said.

"And as I wrestle with those decisions, I am more mindful probably than most of not only our incredible strengths and capabilities, but also our limitations," he added.

The 22-month Syrian uprising has left over 60,000 dead, according to the United Nations.

Almost 600,000 Syrians out of an estimated two million displaced have fled to neighbouring countries, many of them living in tent camps. The United Nations says four million Syrians need emergency aid.

The president said he had to make decisions that balance all these issues and hope that at the end of his presidency, he could look back and say that he had made more right calls than wrong ones.

Share