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Rather, it is important to consider an important difference between Egypt and Syria that would account for Obama’s apparent moral dissonance with respect to human rights in the Middle East: Syria is one of the closest allies of Iran, a country the Obama White House has been careful not to provoke. From his first days in office, Obama has attempted to reach out to Iran in an effort to stop that country’s nuclear weapons program and antagonism on the world stage. What the White House probably fears most in a firm response to the Syrian situation is Iranian reprisals through its extensive network of regional terrorism — another so-called “obstacle” to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
However, if the administration hopes the situation will eventually stabilize in Syria enough so that the president can pursue his Middle East peace dream, he is in for a major disappointment. The instability and the killing in Arab countries will most likely continue for some time yet and even get worse. In the Arab states experiencing unrest, the underlying issues are economic. Unemployment is rampant and food prices have soared 30 percent over the past year, putting millions of people living on or below the poverty line in dire straits.
Syria is no exception. The disturbances there in fact started when a group of students protested rising food prices. The food situation was exacerbated by merchants who then began to hoard non-perishable items like rice and cooking oil. As with Egypt’s poor, millions of Syrians living below the poverty line (of about $2 per day) would have found their survival threatened by steeply rising prices.
Thus, the Obama administration suddenly finds itself in a situation it is doubtless unequipped to deal with. Not wanting to upset the Syria-Iranian axis of terror, the White House is content to countenance the gross human rights abuses of the Assad regime until the opposition burns out. Unfortunately, the anti-regime movement in Syria has only continued to grow in response to each government crackdown to date. If the administration continues to forgo even rudimentary measures of condemnation in the face of such brutality, public scrutiny — from the Left and Right — on the president’s unintelligible policy regarding the Middle East will also continue to mount, and leave an indelible mar on his presidency.
Editor’s note: To get the whole story on why leftist administrations like Obama’s act aggressively towards U.S. allies while coddling enemy regimes, read Jamie Glazov’s critically acclaimed, United in Hate: The Left’s Romance With Tyranny and Terror.
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