The Arab media report that some Arab governments are irate about US Secretary of
State John Kerry’s statement on Monday – that he was “very pleased” that experts
had begun the process of dismantling Syria’s chemical weapons.
states, particularly from the Gulf, were already upset with US President Barack
Obama’s decision not to enforce his own red line and attack Syria.
Sunnis, furious over the deaths of more than 100,000 people in Syria, had been
hoping for follow-through on US threats of air strikes against the Syrian
government, which came after a deadly August 21 chemical weapons attack in the
suburbs of Damascus. Instead, the US agreed to a deal brokered by
“I think it is extremely significant that yesterday, Sunday,
within a week of the resolution being passed, some chemical weapons were already
being destroyed,” Kerry said at a joint news conference with Russian Foreign
Minister Sergei Lavrov at an Asia-Pacific summit on the Indonesian resort island
“I think it’s also a credit to the Assad regime for complying
rapidly, as they are supposed to,” he added. “Now, we hope that will continue.
I’m not going to vouch today for what happens months down the road, but it’s a
good beginning, and we should welcome a good beginning.”
A team of
international experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical
Weapons in The Hague and UN personnel began destroying Syria’s chemical gas
arsenal on Sunday.
Urayb ar-Rintawi, a columnist for the Jordanian
newspaper, wrote on Wednesday that states in the region responded
angrily – both openly and quietly – to the news, and said it would not be
unexpected if Assad became a US ally in the war on terrorism.
especially true with the growing influence of groups like the al-Qaida-linked
al-Nusra, he said, recalling that Saudi Arabia had recently canceled its speech
at the UN General Assembly – a move thought to be largely due to the lack of
action on the Syrian issue.
“Israel’s security, and not ‘democracy in
Syria’ is the top priority of the American policy in the Middle East,” said
Rintawi, pointing out that the lives of innocent Syrian civilians was not deemed
important enough to intervene.
Elias Harfoush argued in the London-based
Arab daily Al-Hayat
that it “is no exaggeration in saying that Barack Obama has
disappointed many in the Arab region.”
It was thought that Obama, the
Nobel Peace Prize recipient, would stand up for human rights, he said.
Furthermore, he added, the lessons from this episode illustrate that Obama will
act in a similar fashion regarding Iran and its nuclear program.
result of all this American hesitation in our region, some stubborn and
oppressive regimes have succeeded in staying in power and maintaining the grip
of their forces... over their people via fictitious deals with Washington,”
Harfoush concluded.Reuters contributed to this report.