Obama Warns against Unilateral Military Action in Syria

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U.S. President Barack Obama Tuesday described the violence in Syria as "heartbreaking," but cautioned there was no simple solution, warning unilateral military action would be a mistake.

"What's happening in Syria is heartbreaking, and outrageous, and what you've seen is the international community mobilize against the Assad regime," Obama told a White House press conference.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has "lost legitimacy of his people. And the actions that he is now taking against his own people is inexcusable," the president told journalists.

"On the other hand, for us to take military action, unilaterally, as some have suggested, or to think that somehow there's some simple solution, I think is a mistake."

On Monday, top Republican Senator John McCain called for U.S. air strikes on Syrian forces to protect population centers and create safe havens for opponents of the regime.

"Time is running out," McCain said, with the United Nations reporting more than 7,500 people killed in Syria in the past year. He added "the only realistic way" to save civilian lives was "with foreign air power."

But Obama cautioned the situation was not the same as in Libya, when the United States used its air force to back a NATO no-fly zone.

In Libya, the United States "had the full cooperation of the region, Arab states, and we knew that we could execute very effectively in a relatively short period of time. This is a much more complicated situation," he said.

"Ultimately, this dictator will fall, as dictators in the past have fallen. But the notion that the way to solve every one of these problems is to deploy our military, you know, that hasn't been true in the past, and it won't be true now," Obama added.

Amid the escalating violence in Syria, a flurry of diplomatic initiatives has been launched separately by the Arab League, the United Nations, Russia and China -- all aimed at ending the year-long tumult.

Former U.N. chief Kofi Annan is to launch a mission aimed at Assad to silence the guns blamed for thousands of deaths since anti-regime protests broke out last March.

He is to hold talks with Arab leaders in Cairo before he heads to the Syrian capital on Saturday as joint special envoy for the United Nations and the 22-member Arab League.

"We've got to think through what we do, through the lens of what's going to be effective, but also, what's critical for U.S. security interests," Obama added.

Comments 2
Thumb falanges 07 March 2012, 09:03

Mccain knows what he's talking about. obama is done. muslims should enjoy these times as much as they can

Thumb jcamerican 07 March 2012, 10:17

What muslims are you talking about? McCain is an old man, he is the mouthpiece of Israel. They call him and his two friends Lieberman and the other, the axis of error.