Obama Rewards Syrian Terrorism

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In a move that some say rewards Syria for its past and continued involvement in sponsoring terrorism, President Obama recently used a recess appointment to name Robert Ford as the first US ambassador to Syria since 2005.

The US ambassadorial post had gone unfilled since the Bush administration recalled Ambassador Margaret Scobey in protest for what it said was Syrian involvement in the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri in February 2005.

Fueling speculation that Ford’s appointment is undeserved is the news that a UN tribunal is now preparing to indict members of the Syrian-backed Shiite terrorist organization Hezbollah for its involvement in al-Hariri’s assassination.

The UN indictment is said to include up to six members of Hezbollah, including Mustafa Badreddine, a senior Hezbollah military commander and brother-in-law of Imad Mugniyah. Mugniyah, killed in a bomb blast in 2008, was the mastermind behind the bombing of the Marine Corps barracks in Lebanon in 1983, an action that killed 241 Marines. He and Badreddine are said to be linked to the car explosion that killed Prime Minister al-Hariri and 22 others in 2005.

Al-Hariri’s murder, which prompted a strong anti-Syrian protest by the Lebanese people (dubbed the Cedar Revolution), led to Syria ending its 29 year-old armed presence in Lebanon in April 2005. Since then, a Western-backed coalition government, which shares power with Hezbollah, has kept a fragile peace within the country.

It is a peace many fear could now explode with the indictment of the Hezbollah members by the UN, plunging Lebanon into a repeat of the sectarian violence between Shiite and Sunni Muslims that occurred in 2008, violence which killed 81 people.

Both Syria and Hezbollah have done nothing to allay those fears. Hezbollah’s No. 2 official, Naim Qassem, has said, “Such an indictment is a warning bell equivalent to lighting the fuse, to igniting the wick for an explosion, and is dangerous for Lebanon.” Added Syrian Presdient Bashar Assad, “Any clash at any time between any group will sabotage Lebanon and destroy it.”

Acutely aware that a UN indictment could ignite renewed sectarian strife, the Lebanese government has even gone out of its way to downplay the role of Syria in the murder of al-Hariri. Lebanon’s current Prime Minister, Sa’ad al-Hariri, son of the murdered Rafiq al-Hariri, has said, “At a certain point we made a mistake in accusing Syria of assassinating the martyred prime minster. That was a political accusation and that political accusation has now come to an end.” The UN tribunal seems to have come to a far different conclusion.

Yet apparent UN corroboration of the Syrian connection to al-Hariri’s murder was not enough to deter Obama from naming Robert Ford as envoy to Damascus. Ford, whose term expires at the end of the next Congressional session in 2011, had been awaiting Senate confirmation since February 2010. However, no vote had been taken, primarily because of concerns expressed by lawmakers over continued transfers of long-range Scud missiles by Syria to Hezbollah.

Those apprehensions were voiced in a letter sent by a number of GOP senators to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in May 2010, which read in part: “If engagement precludes prompt punitive action in response to egregious behavior, such as the transfer of long-range missiles to a terrorist group, then it is not only a concession but also a reward for such behavior.”

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  • jaythehistorian

    Once again Obama shows what an absolute traitor he is. He deliberately sides with the enemies of this country. He should face charges of treason. He ordered the head of his Gestapo Holder, to prosecute Bush administration officials and those who interrogated Obama's favorite group Jihadists.

  • American_Flag

    Hypocricy gone wild…when is enough enough? WHEN?

    Will 2012 election results ensure that we get back to our core values? Probably not. What to do?>

  • Ollie_North fan

    One idea to consider is that perhaps O-Bomb is trying to drive a wedge between Assad and the Iranians. Unlikely, but sometimes you have to show good faith to turn someone your way.

    • http://apcnational.wordpress.com/ Mike in VA

      Your idea is probably what's going on here, ONF, but it won't work.

  • http://apcnational.wordpress.com/ Mike in VA

    Foreign policy naifs think that Assad's Alawi mafia is some sort of riddle wrapped in a mystery when it is not. The only thing the regime is concerned about is maintaining its illegitimate grip on power, period. This is the simple underlying basis of all its policy calculations and decisions. Sending an ambassador to Damascus isn't going to change or enhance our understanding of this fact, but it will embolden Assad and encourage his negative behavior. Once again, the Obama Administration reveals its ignorance, weakness and incompetence.

  • USMCSniper

    Barack Hussein Obama was a practicing Muslim throughout his entire youth through high school, as an undergraduate at Occidental and Columbia where he studied under his selected Marxist professors, at Harvard law school, after graduating Harvard Law School and even after passing the bar, and only converted for political reasons to the Marxist based Black Liberation Christian crackpot sect under the anti American, openly racist, anti semitic Reverend Jerimiah Wright when in his 30's. He is a clandestine Muslim and a Marxist racist,

  • Wesley69

    This administration's ideas about influencing Syria is nothing but candycanes and lollipops. It is dangerously delusional and can easily be misinterpreted as rewarding Syria for what they have done in the past. It is APPEASEMENT, plain and simple.

    Engagement of this criminal state will achieve the same results as it has with the Mullah theocracy of Iran: NOTHING, but rejection. In the meantime, it sends Israel the middle finger salute as Obama has done since taking office.