The Syrian Impasse


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The Obama administration’s recall of the US ambassador from Syria signals the latest diplomatic impasse between the United States and Syria. Despite eight months of diplomatic initiatives and economic sanctions, Syrian President Bashar Assad shows no signs of moving aside.

Citing “credible threats” against his personal safety, the United States recalled Robert Ford from his post as US ambassador to Syria. The State Department said Ford’s return to Damascus would be contingent upon an “assessment of Syrian regime-led incitement and the security situation on the ground.” The reaction by the Syrian government to the decision was to immediately recall its own ambassador from Washington.

Ford’s security has been in growing jeopardy since July 2011 when he visited the Syrian city of Hama and was greeted warmly by anti-government protesters. Ford’s welcome prompted Syrian authorities to incite hundreds of pro-government sympathizers to attack the US embassy in Damascus, where they smashed windows and spray-painted obscenities on the walls.

From that point on, Ford has been the subject of several incidents of intimidation by pro-Assad supporters, including one in which he was pelted with eggs and tomatoes while going to a mosque in Damascus.

While the Obama administration was quick to point out that Ford’s recall was not a formal breakdown in relations with Syria, the move underscores the failure to date of diplomatic initiatives and economic sanctions to either dislodge Assad from power or force him to enter into negotiations with Syrian dissidents.

The latest efforts against the Syrian regime include a new series of economic sanctions — on top of the ones already levied on Syria’s banking and oil sectors — by the European Union. They also include diplomatic efforts by the Arab League to host talks between the Syrian government and the Syrian opposition, an effort which has been rejected by both sides.

This latter rejection certainly makes sense given that Syrian President Bashar has steadfastly maintained that the uprising against his government, which began in March, has been fomented by “armed terrorists groups” carrying out a “foreign agenda,” resulting in the deaths of over 1,100 Syrian army and police personnel.

For its part, the Syrian National Transition Council, formed in early October as the leading voice of the Syrian protest movement, won’t negotiate until Assad stops his murderous assault against Syria’s civilian protesters, assaults which to date have produced an estimated 3,000 deaths and over 10,000 wounded.

Unfortunately, Assad continues to have his security forces ratchet up the violence to new and disturbing levels, with the latest deadly killings coming when Syrian tank forces killed at least 25 people in the Syrian city of Homs.

Syrian security forces have also been accused of arresting an estimated 250 doctors and pharmacists treating wounded anti-government protesters since the start of the uprising. In one case, Human Rights Watch said Syrian security forces “forcibly removed” patients from a hospital and prevented doctors from reaching the wounded during a military siege in Homs.

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  • D Marsh

    Hi:
    I just spoke to someone returning from a visit to relatives in Syria. Here is what I was told:
    The Syrian military is cautious around Americans, probably because they fear triggering American supported intervention. They confiscate all medicines brought by anyone entering the country. Approximately 10,000 civilians have been killed by the government, not 3,000. In Syria, so many people have lost friends and relatives that they don't care anymore; they will continue to protest despite the risk. They feel that they have nothing to lose. In one unreported incident, troops came to shoot up a crowd. Ford was there. When they saw him, they immediately left. Ford did a lot to support the revolt, going around the country, meeting with local protestors.
    I salute Ambassador Ford for his bravery and efforts.

  • http://www.contextflexed.com Flipside

    The American National Transition Council wonders why there is the same degree of vilification of civilian protesters. They hope it won’t come to brutal repression here too.

  • http://satanstrinity.com C"H"Martel

    My book, "Satan's Trinity: Hitler, Stalin & Muhammad, available at http://satanstrinity.wordpress.com/ For the first time in history "HSM" appear together on a book cover. The idea behind the book is to make headway against the ludicrous idea that Muhammad should be conjoined with any religious leader/founder. This book uses the specific names of Hitler and Stalin to efficiently identify the nature of Muhammad and by extension Islam. It compares the personalities and approach of each man to such categories as; war, peace, sex, torture, slavery, women, their respective childhoods and deaths, the critical affects of geography and timing, each man’s anti-social and narcissistic personalities. http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=CHMar

  • Zena

    Obama is so inept. The Jews that were so supportive of him, despite his obvious lies, his ridiculous lack of experience, should slap themselves as hard as they can across the face and then do everything they can to stop him. Gad, the so-called intellectuals are such brainwashed fools. There is a vast difference between knowledge and wisdom folks. Vaaaaaaaaaaaaast.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    The protecting of civilian lives means what? Killing ever who is identified as
    and antagonist of who you support, all of Assad's followers will not be considered
    as civilians and are targets for whatever bomb is falling. Funny how one side is
    civilian and the other is not, seems to be one sided but in that part of the World
    everything is not what it seems. Falsehood is a given no matter who is reporting,
    I do not think you can believe anything coming out of Syria but we know Assad
    is a murdering thug and his regime is anti-American, anti-Isreali and intent on
    supporting jihadist evil doers. If he is removed the Muslim Brotherhood takes
    over and then what, peace, no way, it seems you lose or you lose……….William