News24

Obama win signals new phase in Syria war

2012-11-07 15:00

Zaatari — Western efforts to oust Syrian President Bashar Assad shifted dramatically on Wednesday, with Britain saying it will deal directly with rebel military leaders and Turkey saying Nato members have discussed protecting a safe zone inside Syria with Patriot missiles.

The developments came within hours of President Barack Obama's re-election, which US allies said they have been waiting for before implementing new strategies to end the deadlocked civil war that has killed more than 36 000 people over the past year and a half.

British Prime Minister David Cameron, visiting a camp for Syrian refugees in Jordan, said the US, Britain and other allies should do more to "shape the opposition" into a coherent force and open channels of communication directly with rebel military commanders.

Previously, Britain and the US have acknowledged contacts only with exile groups and political opposition figures inside Syria.

And a Turkish official said Turkey and allies, including the United States, have discussed the possibility of using Patriot missiles to protect a safe zone inside Syria.

The foreign ministry official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of ministry prohibitions on contacts with the news media, said planning for the safe zone had been put on hold pending the US election.

No weapons offer

He said any missile deployment might happen under a "Nato umbrella", though Nato has insisted it will not intervene without a clear United Nations mandate.

"There is an opportunity for Britain, for America, for Saudi Arabia, Jordan and like-minded allies to come together and try to help shape the opposition, outside Syria and inside Syria," Cameron said. "And try to help them achieve their goal, which is our goal of a Syria without Assad."

In London, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said talks with rebel military leaders would not involve advice on military tactics or support for their operations. Hague also insisted that Britain would not consider offering weapons to Assad's opponents.

"British contacts with military elements of the Syrian armed opposition will be limited to a political dialogue including working towards an inclusive political transition," he told lawmakers in the statement.

Face-to-face meetings with military figures will take place outside Syria, Hague said. Diplomats from the US, Britain, France and Turkey are already scheduled to meet with Syrian opposition groups on Thursday in Doha, Qatar, though there has been no announcement that those talks will include discussion with rebel fighters.

"With the re-election of Obama, what you have is a strong confidence on the British side that the US administration will be engaged more on Syria from the get-go," said Shashank Joshi, an analyst at London's Royal United Services Institute, a military and security think tank.

Meeting for Syria

At the Zaatari camp, where more than 33 000 people have fled to from Syria, Cameron said he would press Obama at the first opportunity to drive forward efforts to end the 19-month-old conflict.

"One of the first things I want to do with the newly elected president is talk about how we can do more for refugees here on the border, more pressure on the United Nations, more pressure on this dreadful regime behind me in Syria, more to help the opposition," Cameron said.

Cameron will convene a meeting of Britain's National Security Council in London devoted entirely to Syria and how the UK can encourage Obama to pursue a more direct strategy, the British leader's office said.

Comments
  • fidel.mgoqi - 2012-11-07 15:09

    "He said any missile deployment might happen under a "Nato umbrella", though Nato has insisted it will not intervene without a clear United Nations mandate." And Russia and China, correctly will not give you that mandate!

      nick.armstrong.1800 - 2012-11-07 15:27

      F#ck Russia and China!! Fullstop. Then again - that said - the West and the rest should stay out of Syria now that we think about it - let them take each other out - endlessly... As has been proved in Iraq, Libya et al - they don't understand the basic concept of democracy - so let them live under dictatorship - it's all they know, and they aren't appreciative of Western interventions - so, hey - let them have at each other... Keep out. Wonder who'll be blamed then...??

      merven.halo - 2012-11-07 15:31

      " it's all they know, and they aren't appreciative of Western interventions - so, hey - let them have at each other... Keep out." The same can be said of South Africa, so what you are actually saying is, if the genocide expand into the cities of SA you would prefer that America and Britain don't get involve?

      nick.armstrong.1800 - 2012-11-07 15:46

      No Merven - what I am saying - is that from Iraq to Afghanistan, from Libya - to wherever - Western intervention has been called "imperialist" or "interfering" etc etc etc - so, heck - it's a case of "Devil you do, devil you don't"... What must the West do?? Get involved - and they're called "imperialists" - don't get involved - and it's "do something" or somehow it's the West's fault...... So - I say stuff that - they don't want us there anyways - we are the "infidel" - so, yeah - let them have at each other until the cows come home - got nothing to do with us! Until one day, maybe war weary - they might try our little experiment called "democracy"... And then actually abide by civilian rule, with Freedoms of Choice and expression for all citizens - especially women.. Until then - just wait...

      lesvokli.pitsiladi - 2012-11-07 15:47

      Nick - Russia only cares about Syria because Russia has a naval base there.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-11-07 15:52

      Nick, the west will not accept Arabs and Africans killing each other, but will willingly do it for them!

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-11-07 15:57

      Fidel, Stop, getting over excited ! The West has shown clearly, over the past 18 months, they don't have any inteterst in Syria. Nothing has changed!!!! Besides the US sending a box of night goggles to the opposition, the West has left the Syrian people to fight their own war!!! But in this FIFTY YEARS UPRISING, THIS TIME, there is no return to status quo. Even with these assad terrorists getting the best possible military hardware from these Russian scumbags, and many of the oppostion fighting these assad terrorists with hand made rifles, they WILL WIN !! When the Syrian population, last year , LOST THEIR FEAR for this assad monster, they had won the war. It is only the Russian scum , keeping this assad in his palace !!!

      lesvokli.pitsiladi - 2012-11-07 16:03

      Fidel - don't get me wrong, I am by all means not defending the United States one bit!

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-11-07 16:03

      Pitsiladi, it's called protecting your interests, a concept applicable to most western powers. The US fifth fleet is protecting the Bahrain government via Saudi Arabia, which also has a US military base, so is Jordan, Kuwait,etc.. This is how hardcore geo-politics are played. Forget the nonsense and bluster about spreading democracy and human rights. None of the western powers are interested in spreading democracy in Saudi Arabia, etc..instead sell the Saudis billions of dollars worth of arms.

      nick.armstrong.1800 - 2012-11-07 16:14

      Lesvokli - I know - same with China - China is only interested in a country if it can bleed it for resources.. So - truth is - folks mustn't get all teary-eyed and dreamy about any would-be idealist intentions on the part of Russia and China... Just stay out. The lesson is never learned - until it is learned. And if these states need to go through 1/10/100/ or a 1,000 years of civil war before they finally learn - then so be it - it's their problem and their journey to Realisation... Where an 'intervention' of a kind may be deemed fine - is when it's purely on humanitarian grounds - like aid after a natural disaster.. Or where conflict directly threatens the security of another state - where military assistance from the West would be appreciated - and the beneficiaries are actually grateful for it...

      lesvokli.pitsiladi - 2012-11-07 16:28

      fidel - thank goodness we live in SA :) god forbid they ever find oil here!

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-11-07 18:00

      Nick, China is not bleeding anyone. The Chinese are putting money on the table for resources, instead of guns and demanding that all resources be given to them for free. China will give Africa what it wants and Africa will get what it wants from China. It is up to Africa to promote its brightest to negotiate with the Han!

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-11-07 18:26

      patrick, Sanap out of your silly and absurd fantasy world. You and this Fidel , DON'T have the support of more than 3 % of Africa's population. Elections. ALL OVER AFRICA, INCL SA, have PROVED this. Your heroes---------gaddafi----mugabe------assad------------ are NOT Africa's heroes !!!! Your RACISM and HATRED, is not shared by Africa's population. YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN !!!!! 35 %.........................Phewwwwwwwwww .

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-11-07 19:21

      Fidel, Because of your inmature and absurd anti Western crusade, you live in a crazed fanatsy world, far vaway from any reality; The Chinese are PLUNDERING this continent. They are masters in 'negotiating' where THEY are the ones who benefit, and NO ONE ELSE !!! Like they tried recently to do a deal with the Ghana government on a mineral project; Their demand: NO TAX FOR........TWENTY FIVE YEARS !!!!! Just look here in SA, where these slimy bastards are ruining TENS OF THOUSANDS of small ( and often informal ) businesses. Just in the last few years betweeen 6000 AND 12000 Chinese shops have been opened accross SA, infiltrating even the smallest towns and villages. They don't employ South Africans, and the odd one they do, pay them next to nothing. They DON'T pay taxes, incl NO VAT !!! Most of these Chinese hardly speak a world of English, indicating they are here illegal. All the goods they sell are Chinese, and most either smauggled into SA, or underinvoiced, costing the SA taxpayer BILLIONS in lost revenue. And you say " Chinas not bleeding anyone"!!!!! Either you are disturbed or more than likely it is all part of your 24/7 spewing out your anti Western CRAP AND BS !!!!!!!!

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-11-08 03:08

      Fidel, wake up. China is doing what you and your Black Panther brothers have been crying about the West for decades (up to a point rightly so). It is transferring raw materials from Africa to the motherland for beneficiation, in exchange for interest-bearing development loans. Plus, it doesn't have the internal checks and balances that democracies had, to bring abuses and violations of human rights to light. Why don't you go live there for a few years? I expect you'll be fine the first year. Then, when you want to speak your mind, your house will be under surveillance, you'll be abducted by the secret police, questioned and imprisoned for months on end, beaten up, even tortured. And you won't be allowed to use the Internet freely. Like the neo-Colonialist African leaders you love, who ravaged Africa far more than colonialism itself, you're unwittingly supporting your own demise.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-11-08 03:11

      And, of course you hold the most absurd belief imaginable: that Nelson Mandela is a phony, a lackey of the West, a modern day Uncle Tom. Your exact words. Clearly, something ain't right with your thinking Fidel.

  • ali.asgar.58323 - 2012-11-07 15:12

    There we go again. The result of western democracy and capitalism is always war.

      merven.halo - 2012-11-07 15:32

      If you guys stop bombing and killing innocent people the West won't get involve.

      lesvokli.pitsiladi - 2012-11-07 15:34

      What does democracy have to do with this? Communist countries also and have attacked other countries before and still do. It has nothing to do with the economic system.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-11-07 16:01

      Ali, Well, the ones from the violent loony left, have some great alternatives to Western leaders; ------------gaddafi----------------mugabe---------assad-------------- Let's rather stick to Western leaders !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-11-07 19:29

      Patrick, The ONLY ones , who are 'forcing' democracy, are those in your violent fantasy mind. You just DON'T have the brain capacity to realize it are the populations of dictatorships , who are DEMANDING an end to MINORITY rule !!!!

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-11-08 02:58

      What is the result of extremist Islam, the darkest force on the planet at the moment? Wake up Ali. Your community is bring decimated and you're allowing absolute mayhem on our planet, while you make up stupid versions of history to satisfy your ignorant prejudices.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-11-08 06:18

      Patrick, Wake up, You forgot to give yourself a 'thumbs up' !!!!!!!

      ali.asgar.58323 - 2012-11-08 08:41

      Freddie says I am concocting history but he has not refuted one of the crimes against humanity which I mentioned. He is desperately trying to convince the readers to overlook this big sea of blood that America has created. At least be an honest zionist.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-11-08 09:21

      Your entire analysis is wrong. It belongs in the toilet.

  • ali.asgar.58323 - 2012-11-07 15:12

    There we go again. The result of western democracy and capitalism is always war.

  • khethu.ndlovu.3 - 2012-11-07 15:13

    I thought these things happen only in savage africa. Is syria somewhere in africa?

      chris.summers.3954 - 2012-11-07 15:27

      Everything south of Munich is Africa.

      merven.halo - 2012-11-07 15:32

      Same mindset. Democracy is a foreign word for both.

  • Eterni80 - 2012-11-07 15:27

    what a pile of crap, talk about disrespecting the dead ! the UK leadership are a bunch of f'ing wimps. watch them on sky news in the house of commons (I know, appropriate) when they debate issues, like a bunch of pre-pubescent teenagers talking about their fantasies. the WORLD NEEDS LEADERS NOT POLITICIANS !

      merven.halo - 2012-11-07 15:33

      Like Hitler or Stalin? Strong actions from world leaders were suppressed when the media got involved with wars.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-11-07 15:46

      No, like Lumumba and Nkrumah!

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-11-08 02:48

      The Black Panther Fidel speaks again, stuck in the 1950's. Neo-colonialist African leaders caused at least as much harm as colonialism itself.

  • lesvokli.pitsiladi - 2012-11-07 15:30

    The West should just leave these Arabian knights to slaughter each other. Let Russia keep their submarine naval base.

      kabelo.mamadisa - 2012-11-07 16:00

      installation of patriot missiles will open up chances 4 the russians to resupply Assad with weapons.

  • arnaud.munezero - 2012-11-07 15:35

    This is not just Western intervention on Syria but if you go deeper it is crash of civilisation between the West and Middle- East

  • michael.i.wright - 2012-11-07 15:43

    But, but, but, I thought Romney was a nasty warmonger. Best estimate will be a body count of 200 000 by Christmas.

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-11-07 15:55

      That would have been the case had Russia and China allowed the Nato terrorists to bomb Syria! More Syrians will be alive when this is over compared to if Nato had been given the Go ahead by the UNSC.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-11-07 17:06

      Fidel, WRONG AGAIN !! If Russia and China had not blocked the UNSC resolutions, this assad monster would now be history, like that other terrorist, your hero; fruitcake gasddafi. And like Nato did in Libya, very likely up to 20000 less Syrians would now be dead!! But, you knoe very well, Syria is not really an issue for you. You just ABUSE the Syrian people !! It is ALL , AND ONLY , about spewing out anti Western CRAP and BS. So fortunate for Africa and its people, less than 3 % of this continent's people agree with you. Africa's people are the very opposite than your RACISM and HATRED. THEY ARE NON RACISTS AND (VERY) COMPASIONATE PEOPLE !!!!!

  • ali.asgar.58323 - 2012-11-07 16:48

    Hitler and Bush were democratically elected presidents. If you can't see the connection between war and corporations then you are either too stupid or you are just trying to protect your american dream that was built and maintained on the ruins of other nations. Who attacked America when they murdered 3million vietnamese. Who attacked them when they killed 2 million Iraqis in the illegal sanctions and war. America destroyed civilian populated cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki murdering hundreds of thousands of civilians and causing the destruction of generations of japanese with total disregard for the Geneva convention. And let us not forget the sadistic rape and torture of thousand of Iraqi civilians in american captivity. These are just a few of the crimes against humanity that America has committed. Why do they hate us? Take your pick! And when a storm comes to her destroying homes and taking a few lives she expects the whole world to sympathize with her. Instead of taking stock and asking themselves what we are doing wrong. Instead of realizing their vulnerability and becoming humble and God fearing,they become even more arrogant threatening new wars. Was this not the path of the pharo against God when he was tested with natural disasters. So many tests but no lessons taken until the world opens and swallows them up.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-11-07 16:55

      . Yes, and the Americans are also to blame that the size of chicken eggs is getting smaller!! 'bastards' !!!!!

      russellblack.cowan - 2012-11-07 18:24

      GUESS WHAT , I WOULD RATHER LIVE UNDER THE TYRANNY OF THE WEST THAN THE DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED COUNTRIES WHO ALL ABIDE BY HUMAN RIGHTS OF THE ARAB WORLD.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-11-08 02:42

      Ali, you're still making history up based on your ridiculous and ignorant prejudices. Hiker was not democratically elected. You just want to put George Bush in the same category. Ridiculous and immature.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-11-08 02:44

      Hiker = Hitler

  • derek.bredenkamp.3 - 2012-11-07 16:50

    Wonderful, lets give him another peace prize! 36000 dead and he's itching for more.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-11-08 02:44

      ? The "36,000 dead" is because Obama has done nothing to help Syrians free themselves. Again, how big of a fool do you want to make yourself out to be.

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