Syria Embassy Attack: The Last Straw?

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Protestors bused into Damascus by the Syrian government attacked the US and French embassies in what is seen as a shocking escalation by Syria in a growing diplomatic dispute over a visit to the city of Hama by the ambassadors from the two countries.

Some of the rioters manged to get into the US embassy itself, tearing down State Department plaques, smashing windows, and spraying obscene graffiti on the walls. Mobs also vandalized the residence of Ambassador Robert Ford a couple of blocks from the embassy compound. Ford was not at home when the attacks occurred.

French embassy guards fired live ammunition in the air to try and keep the rioters from overwhelming security. The Syrian police were nowhere to be seen at either embassy.

The violence comes at a time when President Assad has begun a “dialogue” with some opposition groups while simultaneously ordering tanks into the city of Homs to battle anti-government protestors. And the attack on our embassy, along with the continued rampage by Assad’s military against unarmed civilians, may have been the last straw for the United States.  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued a statement in which she announced that President Assad had “lost legitimacy” with the US government, because the Syrian president had “failed to deliver on the promises he’s made” to reform. She also said that Assad was “not indispensable” and the West has “nothing invested” in maintaining his position.

This is a far cry from the attitude shown toward Syria by the Obama administration in the first days of his presidency when the byword was “outreach” and the State Department considered Assad to be a partner in the peace process. All that is left now is to pick up the pieces of an empty, failed, and ultimately naive policy which has benefited Iran, and did nothing to moderate a brutal regime.

“This is a violent escalation by the regime. You do not bring bus loads of thugs into central Damascus from the coast without its consent,” said one western diplomat in Damascus. Indeed, the rioters were members of President Assad’s Alawite milita, the small Muslim sect that controls the Syrian government and economy. Both embassies complained to the Syrian foreign ministry that police were slow in reacting to the riots. A French Foreign Ministry spokesman said that Syrian authorities had done nothing to stop the attack: “(France) reminds (Syria) that it is not with such illegal methods that the authorities in Damascus will turn the attention away from the fundamental problem, which is to stop the repression of the Syrian population and to launch democratic reform.”

The US State Department went even further – chastising the Syrians for refusing to protect the embassy, while demanding compensation for the damage. “We strongly condemn the Syrian government’s refusal to protect our embassy, and demand compensation for damages.” The statement also alleged that a pro-Assad TV station encouraged the mobs to attack the embassies.

The diplomatic row began last week when Ambassador Ford paid a visit to the city of  Hama, a stronghold of anti-government sentiment. French Ambassador Eric Chevalier followed up with a visit of his own on Friday. The purpose was to show solidarity with the Syrian people and affirm their right to protest. Both diplomats were greeted by  cheering, flower-throwing crowds in Hama where, on Monday,  Assad’s secret police were going door to door arresting suspected regime opponents.

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  • al Kidya

    Syria…the new emerging Iran.

  • Viking

    Practically the same thing happened in 2006. The Norwegian and Danish embassies were attacked by a large mob and torched while the police were nowhere to be seen. And it took until now and 1400 dead to figure this guy out? I am impressed.

  • John

    Well this is clearly a declaration of war on the U.S.A…

  • Chezwick_mac

    Worst thing is, the Syrians were on the ropes when Obama took over. They were economically and diplomatically isolated…and had watched wistfully as Lebanon had pulled out of their orbit. Obama's overtures reversed all that; their proxies in Lebanon were emboldened and eventually took over, France back-tracked on its adversarial policy towards them, and – as they say – the rest is history.

    Now, Barry is reaping what he sowed.

  • jacob

    Americans should lose no sleep over this piece of work GOD only knows why was
    this "parachutist" made President, whose only credit was to shout "HERE" every
    time a rol call was made in the Senate, to take action for what ASSAD did to his
    embassy.

    So far (and I dare bet it is as far as he will go) he has only demanded "compensation" for the damages to the buildings but from there to tell ASSAD that he either leaves or
    be kicked out by American forces, it will call for him to be reborn..

    So he has been trying to wean ASSAD away from the SINISTER MIDGET's regime ???

    Wouldn't you say that his knowledge of international politics is limited to try to force
    ISRAEL to commit suicide ????

    I guess we would all be better off if he would dedicate himself exclusively to perfect
    his golf play and forget about governing…

    And still has the gall to prtend to run for a second term ???
    IS HE AMERICAN PEOPLE THAT STUPID ???

  • AntiSharia

    This never would have happened if we had a real President. Obama is weak, and the rest of the word knows it. He can't make up his mind and form a coherent, consistent, foreign policy. That's why were involved in Libya but not Syria. Attacking an embassy is an attack on national soil and must be considered, by even this administration, to be an act of war. But don't hold your breath on President Obama actually fighting to defend the United States. The only way force is justified for him is when America's interests are not involved.

    • Jim_C

      Right. And killing bin Ladin, Somali pirates, Taliban and Al Qaeda militants doesn't count.

      • coyote3

        Actually no. Therer are legitimate questions regarding the activities you mentioned, but the invasion of the U.S. by Iran, and now Syria, is about as egregious an act of war as you can get.

      • Wesley69

        -Killing bin Laden – good, but doesn't make a foreign policy.
        -Taking on the Somail pirates – if they defeat us, we ARE in big trouble. Oil has to flow.
        -Killing Taliban – good. but we are negotiating with them to leave their country. The Taliban can wait us out until we withdraw, then retake Afghanistan.
        -Killing Al Qaeda militants – Bush did it, but he captured many and put them in Gitmo and interrogated them, getting information that saved American lives. How much information have we got from using the Army Field Manual? Why, instead of capture, are we killing militants????

  • coyote3

    Indeed, this is not a "declaration" this is an act of war, period. It is, in fact, an invasion of another country, i.e., the U.S., by Syria, if the Syrian government, in fact, sponsored this. On the other hand, Iran invaded the U.S. and there has been no response to that invasion, by successive Democrat and Republican administrations, so this is not unprecedented. An invasion of a U.S. embassy is just as much an attack on the U.S. as attacking a state.

  • samsgran1948

    The Syrians' attack on our embassy kind of reminds me of the Unions' attacks on Wisconsin's State House: Bus in "rent-a-thugs", make sure the local police won't interfere, then riot to your heart's content. Who says the Syrians haven't created a US-style democracy?

  • Jim_C

    If Reagan were president, maybe he'd see this as the perfect opportunity to sell arms to Syria, just as he did with Iran?

  • BLJ

    What is the point of having embassy guards who are not allowed to shoot scumbags like these? Blow off a couple of heads and maybe these goat smellers will get the message.

    Better yet turn the place into the world's biggest parking lot.

    Oops…….I forgot…….these people are Comrade Obama's friends. My bad.

    • coyote

      Invading another country's embassy "is" invading that country. The embassy is soverign soid, just as much any other. We would be justified in attacking, turning Iran and/or Syria into a green glass table top.

      • Jim_C

        It wouldn't be the worst thing if a few of our bombs just happened to fall off a few of our planes onto their govt buildings.

  • Ghostwriter

    Once again,President Obama is shown to be a fool. The whole world knows he's a fool and a lot of nations hope that he's voted out soon.

  • Lightning Jack

    I can't believe that we don't have a cruise missile with Assad's address.

  • Jeamar37

    So "you don't bus thugs [aka 'protestors'] into Damascus. . . Busing protestors into others cities and states is used in the US frequently. Ask people in Az. or Wisconsin, etc. about having "protestors" bused into their areas.

  • Wesley69

    So Obama's attempt at APPEASEMENT has failed again. What does he do besides make bloviations condemning the attack on the US embassy? Weakness and failure to use power only brings contempt for the one in charge. Obama has not learned this lesson.

    If there was a war to fight, or an intervention to save the lives of a people from their murderous overlord, this would be the one.

  • kafir4life

    I've been to that site before. What I've gathered from it, boiled down, islam is a gutter cult invented by a pedophilic madman named mohamat, whose very shiiting method is followed by the 1.5 billion in the world today. Dog shiite is also very popular with flies, so they must be right too.
    allahu snackbar!

  • Spider

    We already are in a depression – and it is only getting worse !