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Video Weakens President’s Hand

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Obama’s efforts to convince the rest of the world leaders to join him in intervening in Syria may have just been swept away. A short but brutal video clip showing Syrian rebels executing seven soldiers from Bashar Al Hassad’s army emerged a few days ago, and has been published on by the New York Times website.

At the G20 Leaders’ Summit that ended on the 6th of September, only five countries backed the United States and their proposition to intervene in the Syrian conflict : France, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Canada and Australia.

Although the conflict started with the Arab Spring in 2011, the debate over a possible intervention surfaced only a few months ago when physiological samples revealed proofs of a sarin gas attack. Sarin is a chemical banned in 1993 by the United Nations Chemical Weapons Convention, and considered to be a weapon of mass destruction.

Now it is going to be very difficult for both Obama and the French president Hollande, to justify why they would support a group of rebels who perpetrate brutal executions. At the same time, they insist the international community cannot remain indifferent to a government killing its own people with chemical weapons.

Former French Minister of Foreign Affairs Bernard Kouchner expressed his indignation at the generalised “Compassion Fatigue” of both Europeans and Americans. Less than thirty years ago, the revelation of such acts would have brought thousands to march on the streets both in the U.S and in Europe, he claims.

Surveys carried out by Ipsos and Reuters revealed that 60% of Americans were hostile to an intervention; likewise, 59% of French people were against the idea of action by their government.

Obama is now seeking the approval of the U.S Congress, whose representatives will be voting next week. French president Hollande said his country will await the Congressional vote as well as the UN inspectors’ report before making a final decision.

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