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Local expert weighs in on president's prime time speech

Updated: Tuesday, September 10 2013, 08:39 PM EDT

By Rich Pierce 

September 10, 2013 

Jefferson County, OH

President Obama is set to speak to the nation Tuesday night about the potential U.S. military intervention in the Syrian civil war.

The president already faces an uphill battle with polls showing 60 percent of the country against military action. The news Tuesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin had come to diplomatic terms with Syria officials to release chemical weapons into the hands of the international community compounds that battle according to a local expert.

Franciscan University political science professor Dr. Daniel Kempton said the focus of the president’s address may need to change.

“Obama has to again draw new criteria, and at the same time address the public relations problem created by President Putin’s response,” Kempton said.

The new criteria may be to broaden the scope of reasons why the United States should intervene. Putin’s diplomatic solution has muddied the waters.

“Now, a solution is increasingly dependent on President Putin. The two are fairly well acknowledged to not have a great personal relationship,” Kempton said.

Kempton believes that with the new options on the table, President Obama will have to consider finding a peaceful alternative or risk creating an even more strenuous relationship with Russia.

“Suddenly, there’s a lot of players in the political initiative that are making proposals for a peaceful resolution that President Obama would now look as if he were preemptive if he ignored those,” Kempton said.

Kempton added that intervention is less likely than it was a couple of weeks ago. 

Local expert weighs in on president's prime time speech


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The Syrian civil war, (also known as the Syrian uprising or Syrian crisis) is an ongoing armed conflict in Syria between forces loyal to the Ba'ath government and those seeking to oust it. A part of the larger Middle Eastern protest movement known as the Arab Spring, the conflict began March 15th, 2011 with local demonstrations that grew in scope to become nationwide by April 2011.

Protesters demanded the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad, whose family has held the presidency in Syria since 1971, as well as the end of Ba'ath Party rule, which began in 1963.

The Syrian Army was deployed in April of 2011 to stop the uprising, and soldiers fired on demonstrators across the country. After months of cities and neighborhoods being cut-off by the Army the protests evolved into an armed rebellion.

The Arab League, United States, European Union, and other countries condemned the use of violence against the protesters. The Arab League suspended Syria's membership as a result of the government's response to the crisis, but granted the Syrian National Coalition, a coalition of Syrian political opposition groups, Syria's seat on 6 March 2013.

According to the UN, about 4 million Syrians have been displaced within the country and 2 million have fled to other countries.

Syrian government supporters include Russia and Iran, while Qatar and Saudi Arabia are providing material and weapons to the rebels.


 

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