By Joseph Frager, MD
President Trump’s two-hour-plus meeting with Vladimir Putin on July 7 included a discussion on Syria. At the outset, it must be stated categorically that the disaster that the world now finds itself in falls squarely on President Obama’s shoulders. President Obama’s laissez-faire policies enabled Russia to move into Syria just as it did into Crimea and Ukraine.
Russia barged into Syria in September 2015 not long after its successful invasion of Crimea in February 2014 and Ukraine in August 2014. It was a well-thought-out, strategic set of maneuvers. Putin met little resistance from President Obama on all fronts. The bloodbath in Syria, which has taken over 500,000 lives, only got worse when Russia set up shop. It will be more difficult to get them out. President Trump’s goal should be to do just that. It would have been a lot easier to stop Putin from going in in the first place. This was one of President Obama’s foreign-policy blunders.
The situation could have been vastly different today had the State Department under President Obama not rejected a man by the name of Nofal al-Dawalibi in 2012. His father was Maarouf al-Dawalibi, who was prime minister of Syria until he was jailed and then exiled to Saudi Arabia by Hafez al Assad in 1963. Nofal al-Dawalibi was an acceptable and realistic replacement for Basher al Assad. Israel’s defense minister, Moshe Ya’alon, had given him a passing grade. Dawalibi traveled to the United States in 2012 and met with Senator John McCain. He was shown the door at the State Department. It is believed that Muslim Brotherhood operatives at the State Department would have nothing to do with him. President Obama had other opportunities to find a replacement for Basher al Assad but instead allowed Russia and Iran to control Syria. The Dawalibis of the world never had a chance.
President Trump can correct the errors of the previous administration. With Russia and Iran firmly entrenched in Syria, it will be far from easy. The president must find a way to get them out. The Iran presence enables a land corridor for arms and missiles to Hezbollah in Lebanon, which has partnered with Assad. The Russians have been aiding the Iranians in all of their efforts. Russia sent surface-to-air missiles to Iran as part of the catastrophic Iran nuclear deal. Russia has been flexing muscles that it no longer even has. It is up to President Trump to flex some real biceps and get Russia immediately out of Syria. America, under President Trump, can then dictate peace terms to Syria. Basher al Assad can be exiled to Russia or Iran. He can take his pick. This is the real scoop on Syria. The genocide has to end.