DENVER — President Obama says participation of the five Arab nations in airstrikes against ISIS is a victory. A Syrian-American family agrees. But a Middle East experts says, not so fast.
Nader Hashemi, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Denver says Obama is making a big deal about the alliance. He thinks it’s overstated.
But a Syrian-American welcomes the alliance–anything he says that will help the Syrian people.
“It’s about time. It’s about way past due,” says Obeid Kaifo, who is a first-generation American.
His parents, born in Syria, moved to the U.S in the 1980s.
Kaifo and his brothers, who run Shish Kabob Grill, welcome the first airstrikes against ISIS in Syria with the help of five Arab countries.
“How are you going to bring back my uncles? How you going to bring them back?” questions Kaifo.
He says the action comes too late for two of their uncles–killed by Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s army nearly two years ago.
“Had the U.S. taken care of this a long time ago when we asked Congress to help us out and take out Assad, we wouldn’t have this situation now,” says Kaifo.
“We are in the crisis we are today because of Obama’s failed policy in regards to Syria,” says DU’s Hashemi.
He agrees our hands-off policy with Syria led to the destabilization of the region.
“Remember, these Arab nations that are on our side, these nations’ policies created the social conditions for ISIS to emerge in the first place,” says Hashemi.
And he says he has a problem aligning with countries that are non-democratic, authoritarian and repressive.
“My biggest criticism and concern of Obama’s strategy is I don’t see what political plan there is over the long term in solving ISIS,” says Hashemi.
For the Kaifos, at least it’s movement, one they hope could eventually rid their country of two dangers: ISIS and Al-Assad.
“The people are being smashed around like a mashed potato,” says Kaifo.
Hashemi says the U.S. needs a long-term plan like it has in Iraq, in which you bring in an effective, inclusive, fully democratic government that will appeal to the Sunni minority, so citizens buy into the government and not rebel against it.