The Edmond Sun

Local News

August 30, 2013

Obama, Kerry make case for U.S. action against Syria

Local residents react to potential military strike

EDMOND — On the University of Central Oklahoma campus, Knut Evensen, a sophomore from Norway, and a couple of his classmates, were sitting at a table Friday in the student center getting ready for the long holiday weekend.

Evensen said he has been keeping an eye on the news and wondering what will happen next. He said he doesn’t like what he’s been seeing with all of the escalating war talk regarding Syria. There is usually no logic in military attacks, Evensen said.

“In Norway, we are pretty peaceful,” he said. “I think we all learned after the Second World War that war is never the answer. You’ve got to think ahead. I think war is all about money now.”

Rather than let the situation escalate, leaders need to work for a peaceful solution, Evensen said. If the United States acts, he thinks there is a pretty good chance for a broader conflict.

A preliminary U.S. government assessment determined that 1,429 people were killed including at least 426 children during a recent chemical weapons attack in Syria, the White House announced Friday.

It was an active day that saw U.N. inspectors in Damascus preparing to leave for The Hague and comments from President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry. Release of the assessment comes a day after the British Parliament narrowly voted against a motion to support the principal of military intervention, narrowing prospects for a coalition.

Since fighting began in March 2011 between the Syrian government and opposition groups seeking to oust President Bashar al-Assad, up to 100,000 people — perhaps more — have been killed, almost 2 million have fled to neighboring countries and a further 4 million have been internally displaced, according to UN estimates. At least 6.8 million Syrians require urgent humanitarian assistance, half of whom are children.

In 2011, locals took to the streets in the Syrian city of Deraa to protest after 15 schoolchildren had been arrested and reportedly tortured for writing anti-government graffiti on a wall, according to the BBC. Protesters called for their release, democracy and greater freedoms for Syrians.

On March 18, the government opened fire on protesters, killing four people. The next day, the regime killed a mourner at one of the victim’s funerals. People called for al-Assad to step down; he refused. The violence worsened, and the situation worsened due to the various players involved.

Friday, the White House announced it has assessed with “high confidence” that the Syrian government carried out a chemical weapons attack in Damascus suburbs on Aug. 21. Earlier in the week, the president briefed leaders in Congress on the situation.

Kerry said based on the pre-Iraq experience, U.S. intelligence has been carefully reviewed and re-reviewed. Some of the evidence, in order to protect sources, cannot be discussed publicly, Kerry said.

Kerry said the U.S. knows the Syrian government, which has the largest chemical weapons program in the Middle East, has been determined to rid the Damascus suburbs of the opposition, and that three days before the attack regime chemical weapons personnel were on the ground in the area preparing.

“We know where the rockets were launched from and at what time,” Kerry said Friday. “We know where they landed and when. We know rockets came only from regime-controlled areas and went only to opposition-controlled or contested neighborhoods.”

He described rows of dead lined up in burial shrouds, the white linen unstained by a single drop of blood, and rows of dead children lying on a hospital floor, all dead from Assad’s gas.

Earlier in the week, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon spoke during a ceremony marking the centennial of the Peace Palace in The Hague, where evidence gathered by UN investigators is going. Ban said there is no military solution to the conflict, noting it would only add to the violence inside the country.

“To those providing weapons to either side, we must ask: What have those arms achieved but more bloodshed? The military logic has given us a country on the verge of total destruction, a region in chaos and a global threat,” he said. “Why add more fuel to the fire?”

Oklahoma City University political science professor Mohamed Daadaoui, who specializes in Middle East and North Africa political analysis, said since Obama made his “red line” in the sand remark regarding chemical weapons, the administration feels compelled to act, likely without a broad coalition.

A limited, surgical strike would not inflict long lasting damage on the Syrian regime, enough to change the situation on the ground, Daadaoui said. He questioned the goals of such action. And he also spoke about the potential for a broader conflict given the interests of Russia and China in the region. | 341-2121, ext. 108

Text Only
Local News
  • Boston 1 Arcadia man, 80, prepares for 111th marathon

    A year ago, Arcadia resident Tom Briggs was well into the Boston Marathon course when he heard runners nearby talking about an incident up ahead.

    April 19, 2014 3 Photos

  • Anne Josette Hill Police seek teen last seen in Edmond-north OKC area

    The family of a missing teenage girl made a plea to the public Friday to help them find the Casady honors student.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • 4-19 Calendar

    For information about Edmond senior programs, stop by and pick up a monthly calendar, check out the website at or call 216-7600. Lunch is served at 11:30 a.m. and reservations are needed a day in advance by 11 a.m. For lunch reservations, call 330-6293 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

    April 19, 2014

  • UCO plans Earth Day Fair

    The University of Central Oklahoma invites the community to celebrate sustainability with its Earth Day Fair from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. April 22 in locations throughout Central’s campus.
    The fair kicks off at 10 a.m. around Broncho Lake with exhibitions from local businesses, state agencies and student organizations. Visitors will have the opportunity to learn about its environmental mission and message.

    April 19, 2014

  • UCO School of Music closes semester with concert series

    The University of Central Oklahoma School of Music will wrap up its instrumental performance season with three concerts featuring Central students April 29 through May 1 at Mitchell Hall Theater located on the UCO campus.    

    April 19, 2014

  • Fine Arts 1 Auction benefits Fine Arts Institute

    The Spring Sampler dinner and auction event April 12 at Oak Tree Country Club benefitted the Fine Arts Institute of Edmond.

    April 18, 2014 4 Photos

  • Kaiser joins Thunder ownership group

    Tulsa businessman George B. Kaiser has been approved by the NBA Board of Governors as a new partner in The Professional Basketball Club LLC, which owns the Oklahoma City Thunder. Thunder Chairman and CEO Clayton I. Bennett made the announcement Friday. Kaiser is purchasing the ownership interest of Tom L. Ward.
    “We are honored to welcome George Kaiser as a member of the ownership group of the Oklahoma City Thunder,” Bennett said. “George is a well-respected and important Oklahoma business leader, as well as one of the state and nation’s top philanthropists. His commitment to successful business and community leadership is in true alignment with that of the Thunder.
    “I also appreciate the commitment and leadership provided by Tom Ward as a member of our ownership group from the beginning,” Bennett added.

    April 18, 2014

  • Literally, books come to life for club

    When some of the women at Touchmark at Coffee Creek got together to form a book club, they didn’t know it would be so much fun and become such an important part of their lives.
    The group of about a dozen residents gets together monthly to not only discuss the assigned novel, memoir or classic, but also to immerse themselves in the setting and culture of the book. There is no limit to their creativity.

    April 18, 2014

  • pink.jpg Local children win Edmond Sun Easter coloring contest

    Two local children were named winners of The Edmond Sun’s Easter coloring contest. At left, Madsion Porter, 4, daughter of Tracy Porter, won a princess Easter basket, which included a tiara, tea set, stuffed bunny rabbit and chocolate rabbit. At right, BriAnna Harbaugh, 9, daughter of Leslie Haubaugh, won a Hello Kitty Easter basket, containing art supplies, a Hello Kitty stuffed animal and a chocolate bunny.  The families also received a three-month subscription to The Edmond Sun. For your own subscription to The Edmond Sun, visit, call 341-2121, or visit 123 S. Broadway.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • jc_HarveySparks.jpg Pastor seeks congressional seat

    Working in the Congressional 1st District office of Congressman Jim Bridenstine was an eye opener for Harvey Sparks, he said. His analytical exposure to Congress has sparked his drive to run for the Congressional 5th District of Oklahoma, said Sparks, R-Oklahoma City.
    Sparks has been a pastor for the majority of his professional life. Sixteen months ago, he was asked by 1st District Congressman Jim Bridenstine to come work in his Washington, D.C., office. He and his wife, Jennifer, have three daughters and a son, ages 10-3.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
NDN Video
Jabari Parker's Top 5 Plays From Duke Career Kourtney Kardashian Is a Bikini Babe More Manpower Than Ever Expected At 4/20 Rally Debunk'd: Miley Cyrus AIDS, Cheeseburgers Cause Cancer, Military Warning Bill Previewing the NBA playoffs Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite My name is Cocaine Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Lohan Gets Candid About Her Sex List The 2014 New York Auto Show Meet Johnny Manziel's New Girlfriend Chelsea Clinton Announces Pregnancy Funny: Celebrating Easter with Martha Stewart and Friends Man Accuses 'X-Men' Director Bryan Singer of Sexually Abusing Him As a Teenager Man hit with $525 federal fine after he doesn't pay for soda refill Lea Michele & Naya Rivera Feuding? Jabari Parker declares for the NBA draft Singing Nun Belts Out Cyndi Lauper New West, Texas Explosion Video Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday

Do you agree with a state budget proposal that takes some funds away from road and bridge projects to ramp up education funding by $29.85 million per year until schools are receiving $600 million more a year than they are now? In years in which 1 percent revenue growth does not occur in the general fund, the transfer would not take place.

     View Results