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US Strike on Syria An "Uncalculated Adventure": Jadaliyya Co-Editor Bassam Haddad on MSNBC

[Screenshot from Craig Melvin's MSNBC show.] [Screenshot from Craig Melvin's MSNBC show.]

MSNBC Headine "Haddad: Mulling Syria strike is an 'uncalculated adventure'"

Former State Department Spokesperson P.J. Crowley, Mouaz Moustafa from the Syrian Emergency Task Force, Bassam Haddad from George Mason University, Reuter's David Rohde and MSNBC military analyst and former army Colonel Jack Jacobs join MSNBC's Craig Melvin to discuss the possible outcomes to the President's decision on seeking congressional approval before taking action on Syria.

. . . Video #1. . . [at 3.20]

Craig Melvin (CM): How will the president's announcement today, and first of all, the president's announcement today, and unilateral action, how do both of those things be seen by other arab nations?

Bassam Haddad (BH): Well, to begin with, I think it's a horrible idea. What we have right now is a very uncalculated adventure that might have grave consequences for the United States and for peoplel in the region, notably the Syrian public that we are trying supposedly to protect. 

What we are doing in effect is launching a war, basically declaring a war on a sovereign nation on evidence that has not surfaced yet, and I do not think that we should be concerned with the reactions to the president's words from Iran or Hezbollah. I think we should be concerned about what is happening here in the United States, and look at some of the serious dissenting voices, and perhaps acknowledge that because of the international and regional opposition to this problematic move or impending move--I think the president is stuck. 

And one of the reasons he is going to congress, which apparently historically he did not have to do that, is basically to just make sure that he can say that he is keeping his word regarding the red lines. But I think it is an uncalculated adventure and it is not going to bode well for the United States or the Syrian people and for all concerned.

. . . Video #2. . . [at 3.45]

CM: What kind of support does the US have in Syria right now?

BH: There might be support for a strike, and a lot of what is happening in Syria in terms of external intervention and external movements is mostly a result of desperation. 

It is not the right metrics we should be paying attention to right now. I just want to say a couple of things regarding the danger the other speaker alluded to regarding Syria using chemical weapons vis-a-vis Israel. In the past six years Israel attacked Syria with airplanes, with jet fighters, and Syria did not respond at all. Of course, we all know it is because Israel has a stockpile of nuclear weapons and nuclear warheads more than anyone can count. 

And I agree with you Craig that there needs to be a debate. The problem with the discussion, not only on this show but on all shows, is that there is no serious engagement, a serious public debate in the US on these issues generally, regarding the US Middle East policy. What we have is commentary on a very limited set of options that are already predetermined by policy. And this policy is based on unrealistic presumptions and assumptions regarding how the United States is a benevolent actor in the world in terms of its foreign policy. 

In the MIddle East, this is not the case. The record is actually--it stinks, really. And, for us to continue to talk as if all of these [issue regarding the US role] are givens is the actual problem. The only solution to this [crisis] is a political solution that the United States, as the most powerful country in history, not just on earth, can actually start by a serious discussion with the Russians and other players. However, the problem is that we are not ready to actually have these discussions because it will take compromises; compromises that the United States is not willing to make in terms of its support of very problematic dictatorial or racist regimes, like the state of Israel and like dictatorships like Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries.

This is the problem. We are not willing to budge on other issues, so our bargaining power with Russia or other states is very limited. These are the issues that I think we need to discuss in light of what is happening in the region and in light of us getting it wrong almost every time since we fraudulently attached and invaded a country in 2003, the country of Iraq, on false premises.



First Segment (Haddad commentary at 3:20)

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Second Segment (Haddad commentary)

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