Turkey Unhappy with US Approach to Syria

Will US Congress approve a Syria strike? US Capitol building. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

Will US Congress approve a Syria strike? US Capitol building. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

It’s turning into a soap opera drama in the Middle East—something of an un-love triangle—after US President Barack Obama has decided to limit plans for a strike on Syria and confer with the US Congress before doing anything. Obama says something must be done in response to the Syrian regime’s using chemical weapons on its own people, but wants Congress to agree with no promise they will. And now Turkey doesn’t like what the US is doing—or rather, not doing.

The Daily Hurriyet is reporting that Turkey respects Obama’s decision to include Congress, but one source noted that “this brings a delay in a situation where even a minute, a day counts for the human life.”

It could also prolong anxieties in the oil industry that US action could lead to a broader war in the Middle East. Hence, oil prices will likely rise and could stay up there until the situation is resolved. That’s bad for you.

Turkey also wishes the US would do more and hasten the end of the Syrian regime’s power, instead of just punishing Assad with a limited strike. Ideally, such a heavier move would convince President Bashar al-Assad to accept a political solution to end the civil war in his country with a transition to a new government.

That being said, Turkey is not entirely upset with the US moves. In particular, they are glad that Obama isn’t hinging his response to Syria’s crimes on a vote by the United Nations.

Of course, he is betting that Congress will approve when there’s not guarantee they will. For example, US Senator Rand Paul, a strong opponent of Obama and long a critic of how the US spends its money abroad, is very hesitant to approve action. “We should ascertain who used the weapons, and we should have an open debate in Congress over whether the situation warrants U.S. involvement,” Paul said in a published statement last week.

For now, it’s a delay. Some in Congress are happy, Syria’s regime is doubtless happy, but Turkey is not. It’s just another twist in the Middle East plot.

(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, September 1, 2013)

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