U.S. Holocaust Museum Pulls Controversial Study Justifying Obama's Inaction in Syria

Study, led by a former national security official who served under Bush and Obama, concluded that U.S. support for rebels could have intensified the Syria conflict instead of ending it

Syrian refugees are helped into Turkey after breaking the border fence and crossing from Syria in Akcakale, Sanliurfa province, southeastern Turkey, June 14, 2015.
AP

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Holocaust Museum is facing criticism over a study it commissioned - and then retracted - on the Syrian civil war. The study, which offered justifications for the lack of American involvement to stop the atrocities in Syria, was removed from the Museum's website on Tuesday night. In addition, a public event to mark the study's publication, which was meant to take place next week in Washington, D.C., has been called off. 

The study had been going on for more than a year, and was led by Cameron Hudson, a former national security official who served under both the Bush and Obama administrations. One of its main conclusions was that for "a variety of factors," it has been "very difficult... for the U.S. government to take effective action to prevent atrocities in Syria." The study also stated that greater American support for the Syrian rebels, fighting against the Iran and Russia-backed Assad regime, could have intensified the conflict in Syria instead of ending it. 

The study was available online since at least last week, and was supposed to be presented at a public event next week at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C. On Tuesday night, however, it was removed from the museum's website - a development that was first reported in Tablet Magazine by Armin Rosen. The planned launching event has also been suspended as of Wednesday evening. 

The webpage which led to the study now contains only a short statement explaining that "last week the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide released a research study that examined several decision points during the Syrian conflict. Since its release, a number of people with whom we have worked closely on Syria since the conflict's outbreak have expressed concerns with the study. The museum has decided to remove the study from its website as we evaluate this feedback."

The main criticism that the museum faced, both internally and externally, focused on the fact that the study seemed to exonerate the Obama administration for choosing not to intervene in the Syrian arena in order to stop the atrocities, even after the Assad regime crossed Obama's declared "red line" and used chemical weapons against its' own citizens in the summer of 2013.

The museum did not respond to a request for comment from Haaretz.