Tuesday night, President Obama addressed the American public — and the world — live from the East Room of the White House on the crisis in Syria. Some of his comments were recaps of statements made over the previous few weeks. The full text of the speech with video is available below as well as coverage from some major US media.
Full text of the president’s speech with video
Planned as Call to Act, Obama’s Speech Became a Plea for Time, New York Times
Obama Holds Fire on Syria, Waits on Russia Plan, Wall Street Journal
Obama Presses Syria Case to the Public in White House Address, Washington Post
Many in Congress Unswayed by Obama’s Speech on Syria, LA Times
Obama Argues for Attack But Says He Will Pursue Deal, Boston Globe
Atlantic Council experts weighed in with initial reactions to Obama’s speech Tuesday night. Vice President and Director of the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security Barry Pavel started with a blog post on New Atlanticist citing reasons the pause in Syria is making the world more dangerous. Fred Hof, senior fellow at the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, chimed in with insights on how Obama’s speech opened up options for himself, and Jeff Lightfoot, deputy director of theScowcroft Center, agreed with Obama’s decision to consider a diplomatic path. Finally, Faysal Itani, visiting fellow with the Hariri Center, commented from the regional perspective. This morning, another senior fellow for the Hariri Center, Richard LeBaron, posted commentary on the reaction of the Gulf Nations to Russia’s plan and the receding likelihood of a US strike.
Syria renouncing arms shows strength: Syrian government official, AP
A senior Syrian government official says his country’s acceptance of a Russian initiative to relinquish its chemical weapons is a sign of strength. Cabinet minister Ali Haidar says Syria did not agree to the proposal out of “fear of any enemy” and it should not be interpreted as a concession.
U.N. Probe: 8 Massacres by Syria Regime, 1 by Rebels, AP
Evidence confirms at least eight massacres have been perpetrated in Syria by President Bashar Assad’s regime and supporters and one by rebels over the past year and a half, a U.N. commission said Wednesday.
Divisions among region’s Christians; Syrian dissident’s patriarch criticism provokes backlash, Daily Star
Recent comments by a prominent Syrian dissident criticizing the stances of a Greek Catholic Patriarch over the Syria crisis have provoked reactions by church and political figures, revealing a schism in the Christian community over US intervention.
Turkey’s Policies Defied By Latest Twists in Syria, Al Monitor
The Erdogan government is expressing dissatisfaction over efforts to bring around a negotiated compromise with the Assad regime.
US will strike if Syria not ‘honest’: Israel’s Peres, Daily Star
Israel’s President Shimon Peres warned Wednesday that the US would pursue military action against Syria should its regime fail to destroy its chemical weapons in line with a Russian proposal. “If Syria is honest and will take real steps to remove and destroy the chemical weapons in its territory, the US will not attack,” Peres said in a statement. But “if there will be a crack in Syria’s integrity I have no doubt that the US will act militarily,” he warned.
How Assad Wooed the American Right, and Won the Syria Propaganda War, Foreign Policy
A successful media blitz by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime and its supporters impresses public opinion.
Did the World Just Legitimize the Assad Regime It Spent Years Discrediting? The Cable, Foreign Policy
After challenging Assad’s government for more than two years, is making a deal with him to get rid of chemical weapons acknowledging him as the real leader of Syria?
Did Obama move the needle on Syria? CNN
While Washington insiders and foreign affairs experts bemoan Obama’s speech as more needless talk, the president did apparently move the needle with the American people according to this CNN Instant Poll.