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Obama ‘should be grateful’ for face-saving chance to backpedal on Syria

Published time: September 10, 2013 03:09

US President Barack Obama (AFP Photo)

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President Obama should curb threats of a US military strike on Syria by joining Russia’s "face-saving" proposal for Damascus to give control of its chemical weapons to the international community, independent researcher Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich told RT.

Sepahpour-Ulrich said that Russia’s proposal allows Obama and America “to save face,” given the fact that a military strike on Syria would be “contrary to the people’s will” and receive little international support.

RT: Do you think this nascent solution is something that can actually lead to a workable compromise?

Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich: It could. It’s a face-saving out for Mr. Obama, really. Because he doesn’t have the support to go to war, and if he chooses to go over the people of the United States, the majority of whom disapprove of this war, and the strikes, then he’s turning his back on democracy, and they always say in America they want to export democracy to other countries. So this is a blatant violation and goes contrary to the people’s will. And I think the proposal is really being very kind to Mr. Obama, giving him a way out.

RT: Why do you think Russia’s proposal to put Syria’s chemical stockpiles under international control received a positive response so quickly?

SSU: I think it was very positive because, well, for one, Assad doesn’t want war, he doesn’t want his people to die because there are lobby groups in Washington pushing for war. So I think he was happy to accept that. And I think the other countries, although Kerry and Obama are skeptical, they do not want this war. They do not want to go to this war. They do not have the support they hoped to have and yet they have those red lines that they have drawn which in fact were violated back in May. That’s when the United Nations said they thought the rebels were responsible and they didn’t act on it. But then to have painted themselves in a corner and this gives them the way out. It helps America, of course, its allies are happy not to go to war. It might be a win-win situation for all.

RT: The president has recently come out in some interviews saying this could be a positive step in the right direction, but we haven’t heard any assertive decision on his part. How do you think his quick his repositioning on the subject can be explained?

SSU: I think when he saw there is absolutely no support at all whatsoever, I mean even if Congress did vote for him to carry out these strikes, again, Congress would’ve been acting against the will of the people. America’s really onstage right now for the whole world to see. Not from a degree of, perhaps, hypocrisy, but the fact that it’s not really a promoter of democracy anywhere. And I think that this is a face-saving way for Obama to back-pedal on his position, and he should be very grateful that this solution was offered.

RT: Many legislators we’ve heard from say they were relieved by this talk of a compromise. Do you think they were looking forward to a vote on this subject?

SSU: I think they were very apprehensive because on the other hand, any legislator that would not have acted out the people’s will and had voted for war to please the lobby groups - no matter how much money the lobby would have actually put into their re-election - they would still need the vote of the people. So they were in a dilemma as well. I think the whole country, the whole nation was in a dilemma. And this really was a very clever way of avoiding all sorts of conflicts and casualties and allowing America to save face.