An Open Letter to President Barack Obama

Dear Mr. President,

The Syrian dilemma is a difficult problem to face by any standards. It is imperative the right decisions are made because Syria will have an impact on your legacy; and since you are the first African-American President in our history, it will have an impact on all Americans as well.

As a Syrian-American who speaks for many, I am compelled to see that our moral fabric does not fall victim to political expediency, ulterior motives of others, and utter disregard for human life. Yes, we are tired of wars, but we will never tire to stand by the weak and the helpless because this very nation was built on the strong shoulders of those deemed to be weak and helpless by others.

Because we want to see Syria rise again as a strong and peaceful nation of men and women who will defend her rights for liberty and equality the same way America does, permit me to suggest certain steps. They are based on creating conditions to separate Assad from the minorities supporting him and to assist with an internal coup that would remove Assad from power while keeping his second-tier bureaucratic structures in place.

With Assad gone, it will open endless opportunities to negotiate a peaceful settlement. Assad has been and will always be the main problem of Syria. Not the Alawites, the Christians, or any other political ideology.

  1. Islamists advisers in the Obama Administration. It is imperative to distance your Presidency, during these difficult times, from all the Islamist advisers your administration relies upon. These advisers were behind misleading Admiral Clapper to call the Muslim Brotherhood organization “largely secular” and behind the policy to view the Middle East region as one religious entity instead of a region with diverse political and religious views. They have led your Administration astray by confounding the issues. Replace them with country-specific (i.e. Syrian-Americans or Lebanese-Americans) task forces to advise the NSC staff directly and to stay five steps ahead of Assad. Mr. President, Islam is 1.3 Billion strong, we do not need any special treatment and if Islam goes astray as it is doing now, this is our problem to solve, not America’s or the world’s.
  2. Strike against Assad. It is imperative to strike Assad even at the expense of turning off your base. The world is your base today and allowing Assad to get away with mass murdering his people will make America look weak, something no Americans want. The US has never attacked the Assad regime. A US strike, even if limited in scope, will have a deep psychological impact on the Assad regime and the minorities around him that may tip the balance in favor of an internal coup. It will also deter Assad from ever using WMD in the future.
  3. Keep the US Navy in place as a warning.  The regime will consider a US Fleet evacuating after the attack a win for Assad if the strike is short-lived. The US Navy remaining in position sends the signal the US is intent on finding a solution in Syria, which will help indirectly prepare for an internal coup. If Assad declares victory, he would look like a fool.
  4. Arm the vetted rebels and chase the Jihadists. It is in the US best interests that we deliver sophisticated weapons to the right rebels to force a sensible solution or an internal coup; but it is also in our best interests to defeat the Jihadists. Mr. President, tie both programs together by delivering more weapons when more Jihadists leave or get defeated by the Free Syrian Army. Let our people force them out today or combat them the same way they are combating Assad. We need to cleanse Syria of both Assad and the Jihadists. Now is the time.
  5. Reconstruct the Syrian Opposition. Reconstruct a new opposition with a strong representation by the minorities and in the firm control of the seculars and the liberals. The biggest mistake the Islamist advisers in your administration made was to rely on PM Erdogan of Turkey who constructed an Islamist Syrian opposition that rallied the minorities around Assad and made him much stronger. The US must start all over but this time with a strong US message to appease the minorities of Syria and to guarantee their safety and future. Without the minorities, Mr. President, Syria is doomed. With these actions, the US gets closer to an internal coup that peels Assad from the minorities and invites them to consider his alternative. When a strong army emerges to protect all Syrians fairly and equally and to separate the avenger from the potential victim, all Syrians would start sharing in re-building Syria. They would have no choice but to. These reconstruction steps will also appease Russia mindful of Islamism.
  6. Capture the new defectors. There are more willing defectors than we can imagine. A fact the West ignored its advantages. After the strike, expect more defectors to join the ranks of the Free Syrian Army (FSA). Do separate these secular elements from the Jihadists by arming them directly. Between the new defectors and the FSA liberal elements who defected in 2011, the US will see the main nucleus of a new Syrian Army take shape to defend against Islamism and tyranny under the leadership of a diverse civilian Government that protects the interests of all Syrians.

Many would like to see you fail because of who you are not realizing that your failure is America’s failure. Let us defeat them and Assad in one stone.

One final recommendation that may not sound pleasing to read. Mr. President, stop blaming others. This turns off the very same people you need to succeed because they are always expectant for the other shoe to drop. To avoid the shoe, they avoid getting on-board with you.

We wish you great success,

Farid Ghadry

President, Reform Party of Syria