AS a president who has strenuously campaigned against war, Mr Barack Obama must be praying, like Jesus Christ, to let this Syrian cup pass from him.
In a sense, one can reasonably say that the bloody Syrian conflict, which has claimed an estimated 100,000 casualties since 2011, was bound to reach this crossroad. Last week's killing of hundreds of children using chemical weapons is hard for humanity -- and any president — to stomach. It seems to have constituted the straw that broke the camel's back.
Reports suggest the United States is preparing to launch an attack on the Bashar al-Assad-led regime in Syria and that the military might of the US is awaiting the decision of President Obama. France and Britain also appear to be ready to join the US in any strike on Syria.
We do not support going to war easily. In fact, we hate war. While we understood the US Gulf War under President George Bush to liberate Kuwait following the brutal Iraqi invasion, and the Afghanistan War ordered by his son, President George W Bush, because of the 9/11 attack on America by Al Quaeda, we were adamant that the War on Iraq to remove Sadam Hussein from power was without justification and unprovoked.
Yet, some form of intervention in Syria seems inevitable and necessary. Both the al-Assad regime and the rebels of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and Al-Nusra have been conducting their conflict virtually without regard for life.
The United Nations estimates that more than 1.5 million refugees have now fled Syria, mainly to neighbouring Lebanon, a country of 4.3 million and which is now dealing with an influx of nearly two million Palestinian and Syrian refugees.
The Western countries, no doubt made shy by the lessons learnt from the Iraq War, have been very reluctant to intervene directly in Syria, and even now have made it clear that any intervention would not be about regime change, but to protect innocent civilians who have borne the brunt of the bloodshed and dislocation.
If the US finally decides to strike Syria, it would be President Obama's first war. That is to say, the first war authorised by him. We are confident that Mr Obama will base his decision, not merely on what is in the best interest of the United States -- and we acknowledge that this is an important element of any decision to put US troops in harm's way -- but also what is in the best interest of the Middle East and Syria. It is our firm belief that the peace-loving people of the region are tired of the constant conflict.
It was our hope that the Arab Spring would have ushered in an era of peace and democracy. But the current Egyptian uprising gives reason to doubt that peace is anywhere in sight.
Even at this late hour, we hope that the al-Assad regime would step back and seek dialogue with the rebels, towards a peaceful resolution to the Syrian conflict.