#SaveAleppo: Obama cannot be a success if a genocide happens under his watch
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Where does a Syrian American begin? I’m writing about my home city of Aleppo in my comfy chair in the beautiful city of Denver. In the past 24 to 48 hours the city of Aleppo has been on the verge of the largest scale genocide in Syria's history.

As we all stand back worrying about why Kanye West was hanging out with Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpNearly 300 former national security officials sign Biden endorsement letter DC correspondent on the death of Michael Reinoehl: 'The folks I know in law enforcement are extremely angry about it' Late night hosts targeted Trump over Biden 97 percent of the time in September: study MORE, people are leaving their last messages to family, friends, loved ones and anyone that will listen to their plea. Do you understand what it means to plead? To beg for your own sake and the sake of others around you?


Most Americans don't and probably never will. So what does it mean when a person pleads with you? It means that they have lost all pride in themselves. My survival is more important than that little pride I may have left in me. That's where I'm ashamed of myself. How do we allow people in the 21st century, the year 2016, to ignore the plea of others? We have to check with ourselves, particularly during these holidays.

Now, for this Syrian American. The first vote I ever cast was for Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaJacobin Editor-at-Large: Valerie Jarrett's support for Citigroup executive's mayoral campaign 'microcosm' of Democrats' relationship with Wall Street Obama to stump for Biden in Philadelphia On India, the US must think bigger MORE. Now, I wish I could have cut my hand off before I ever voted for him.

His lack of leadership on Syria will be his legacy — nothing else. Just like George W. Bush’s legacy was Iraq and we were the transgressors. However, we’re not the transgressors this time: We simply just didn't act. Yet Obama’s legacy will be worse than that of Bush.

How is that possible? I'll tell you how — our country has always been the beacon of hope, which is something Obama campaigned on. Granted, our involvement in the Middle East has not been the best by any means, but it was always in the name of liberty, hope and freedom.

In Obama’s case, it's not that he’s refusing to get involved because of potential conflicts — i.e., Russia. Rather, he’s not willing to be a beacon of hope for the people of Aleppo, even if the cost was more then what would have been excepted.

People would have given Obama more credit if such a thing would have happened. Why? Because at least it would have shown that he tried.

He tried to be that freedom and hope for Libya. But now, instead, he has chosen to stand back watching Russia ally itself with a known war criminal, Bashar Assad, as the Assad regime allies itself with the Iranian government in conjunction with Hezbollah and other Shiite militias. I wonder why seeing all of this didn’t make Obama realize that he had to act. What did he think Russia was going to do?

Obama will be remembered as a failed president. All the good that came with his presidency died with his leadership. My vote for him was a vote of death for my family members.

He was not the president of the United States, he was the president of the White House. Some may say it's not all his fault, that it’s not fair to “blame Obama for everything.”

Then let's not call the president of the United States of America the leader of the free world anymore. His presidency can not be a success if a massacre and a genocide happens under his watch. It's not like we don't have the capability to save Aleppo.

Iran, we know, funds the terrorist organization of Hezbollah in Lebanon. It has a stronghold in the south of Lebanon as well as representatives in the Lebanese parliament. So it's like having a mini Iran in Lebanon. Where is the tie with Syria? The common denominator among all three is the Shiite ideology. Iran’s Shiite, Hezbollah is Shiite and Assad is Shiite. There's a strong correlation.

So what about Russia?

Well Russia has a naval base in the city called Tartus. Of course Russia wants to ally with Assad — then they keep their naval base, which also happens to be the last Russian base in the Middle East.

So one could say Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerrySeinfeld's Jason Alexander compares Trump dance video to iconic Elaine dance This time, for Democrats, Catholics matter President's job approval is surest sign Trump will lose reelection MORE and U.S. diplomats could promise the Russians the protection of their base in exchange for an ally against Assad. Doesn't that sound more appropriate?

My only concern now in the latest developments in Aleppo is that Russia wants Syria to be what Iraq was supposed to be for the United States — not to overthrow a dictator but rather to rid Syria of this recent terrorism in the country.

Understand that now more than ever we as Americans need to reach out to our elected officials and hold accountable those who ask for our money and our vote. Now it's their turn to fight for our values and principles as a nation.

We don't want to be remembered as the people who stood by as a genocide and massacre happened right before our eyes, all in the name of staying away from issues that are not our own. I would argue that our lack of leadership now is defining us as a nation worldwide.

Congress needs to push President Obama for an evacuation and safe zone for the people of Aleppo — a safe zone is critical because there’s no point in evacuating them only to allow them to be murdered elsewhere. Do not let this be our Holocaust.

Congressional members like Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) have come out and done just that, asking for a peaceful and diplomatic negotiations for the evacuations and safe zone for the innocent civilians of Aleppo. If the president won't do anything about it, then congressional members have an obligation to stand for our values and principles as a nation.

Remember, history always remembers those who did or didn't act.

Obeid Kaifo is a first-generation Syrian-American, Muslim millennial born in L.A. and raised in Denver. His parents are from Aleppo; he’s the son of a small-business owner. Kaifo is a student at Metro State University and is one of the co-founders of Coalition for an Inclusive Colorado, which creates and supports community events that protect and respect the rights of those who wish to call Colorado home. 

The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the views of The Hill.