Jan 312014

Reuters’ Headline: “Senate Majority Support Iran Sanctions Bill Opposed By Obama” (Timothy Gardner And Patricia Zengerle, “Senate Majority Support Iran Sanctions Bill Opposed By Obama,”Reuters, 1/9/14)

  • More Than Half Of U.S. Senators Support The Iran Sanctions Bill. “More than half of U.S. senators support a bill to impose new sanctions on Iran should the Islamic Republic break an agreement to curb its nuclear program, aides said on Thursday, but there was no plan yet to debate the measure.” (Timothy Gardner And Patricia Zengerle, “Senate Majority Support Iran Sanctions Bill Opposed By Obama,”Reuters, 1/9/14)

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY): “I Am Disappointed By The Terms Of The Agreement Between Iran And The P5+1 Nation Because It Does Not Seem Proportional.” “‘I am disappointed by the terms of the agreement between Iran and the P5+1 nation because it does not seem proportional,’ Schumer said.” (Evan Puschak, “Critics Blast Iran Deal As US ‘Defeat,’”MSNBC, 11/24/13)

CNN’s Elise Labott: Obama’s Syria Policy Is “In Shambles.” TAPPER:“I want to bring in our foreign affairs reporter, Elise Labott. Elise, specifically what kind of nonlethal aid are we talking about, how will it impact the rebels?” LABOTT: “Well, it’s nothing that’s really going to turn this conflict around. It was nonlethal aid, food, medical supplies, communications equipment, trucks. But what this meant, the fact the Islamists seized these warehouses that belonged to the moderates is really a wake-up call for the administration that their policy on Syria is really in shambles right now because Islamists are gaining a lot of influence in the country, not just battling Assad but battling their own moderates.” (CNN’s “The Lead With Jake Tapper,” 12/12/13)

Politico Headline: “The Unraveling: How Obama’s Syria Policy Fell Apart” (Michael Weiss, “The Unraveling: How Obama’s Syria Policy Fell Apart,”Politico, 1/2/14)

  • “It’s Hard To Pinpoint Just When, Exactly, Barack Obama’s Syria Policy Fell Apart…But Collapse It Has.”“It’s hard to pinpoint just when, exactly, Barack Obama’s Syria policy fell apart. Was it in December, when Islamists humiliated U.S.-backed rebels by seizing what limited supplies America had given them? Was it back in September, when Obama telegraphed his reluctance to enforce his own ‘red line’ after the Syrian regime used chemical weapons on its own people? Was it in the months beforehand, when the administration quietly and mysteriously failed to make good on its pledge to directly arm the rebels? Or did it collapse in August 2011, when Obama called on Syrian dictator Bashar Assad to go, only to do almost nothing to make it happen? But collapse it has, and more than 130,000 deaths later, the White House is now pinning its hopes on a peace conference in Switzerland later this month that is being billed as the last, best hope for a negotiated solution to a conflict that has displaced a staggering 40 percent of Syria’s total population, some 23 million people, in what the United Nations says is fast becoming the worst and most expensive humanitarian catastrophe in modern history.” (Michael Weiss, “The Unraveling: How Obama’s Syria Policy Fell Apart,”Politico, 1/2/14)

Politico: On The Current Syria Policy: “To Whom Is This An Intelligent Or Wise Policy?” “Almost comically, Washington has gone, in the last two and a half years, from demanding of an atomized but fairly moderate collection of Syrian rebels that they lower their expectations in exchange for a minimal level of badly needed material support to demanding of a well-organized group of hardline Islamist rebels that they lower their expectations in exchange for minimal levels of totally unnecessary support. To whom is this an intelligent or wise policy?” (Michael Weiss, “The Unraveling: How Obama’s Syria Policy Fell Apart,”Politico, 1/2/14)

Council On Foreign Relations’ Leslie Gelb: The Obama Administration Does Not Have A Serious Mideast Policy Or Syria Strategy.GELB: “I’ll do my best to be brief. The start of any effort to make sense out of what we’re doing in Syria is to have a serious Mideast strategy. We don’t have it. I just talked to the leaders of the nations in the area, and you’ll see that they’re confused and dismayed and their willingness to help us on Syria, to follow our lead on Syria, will depend in good part about our getting our act together in terms of dealing with Iran, Iraq, Arab-Israeli negotiations. These things all fit together in the real world.” (Leslie Gelb, Hearing Statements, 10/31/13)

  • Gelb: We Have No Strategy In Syria. “As far as Syria itself is concerned, we do have no strategy. I think all of you touched on that point very well.” (Leslie Gelb, Hearing Statements, 10/31/13)

Obama’s Handling Of The Syrian Crisis “Has Been One Of The More Stunning And Inexplicable Displays Of Presidential Incompetence” Ever Witnessed. “It has been one of the more stunning and inexplicable displays of presidential incompetence that I’ve ever witnessed. The failure cuts straight to the heart of a perpetual criticism of the Obama White House: that the President thinks he can do foreign policy all by his lonesome. This has been the most closely held American foreign-policy-making process since Nixon and Kissinger, only there’s no Kissinger.” (Joe Klein, “Obama And syria: Stumbling Toward Damascus,”Time, 9/11/13)

On Obama’s Foreign Policy “Words Like Ad Hoc And Improvised And Unsteady Come To Mind…This Has Been Probably The Most Undisciplined Stretch Of Foreign Policy Of His Presidency.” “But Richard N. Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations and a former State Department official under Mr. Bush who broke with his old boss and has been supportive of Mr. Obama at times is highly critical of the way he has handled Syria. ‘Words like ad hoc and improvised and unsteady come to mind,’ Mr. Haass said. ‘This has been probably the most undisciplined stretch of foreign policy of his presidency.’” (Peter Baker, “A Rare Public View Of Obama’s Pivots On Foreign Policy In Syria Confrontation,”The New York Times, 9/11/13)

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