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Archive for Tuesday, February 7, 2012

U.S. closes Syrian embassy as diplomacy collapses

February 7, 2012

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— The U.S. closed its embassy in Syria and Britain recalled its ambassador to Damascus on Monday in a new Western push to get President Bashar Assad to leave power and halt the murderous grind in Syria — now among the deadliest conflicts of the Arab Spring.

Although the diplomatic effort was stymied at the U.N. by vetoes from Russia and China, the moves by the U.S. and Britain were a clear message that Western powers see no point in engaging with Assad and now will seek to bolster Syria’s opposition.

“This is a doomed regime as well as a murdering regime,” British Foreign Secretary William Hague told lawmakers as he recalled his country’s ambassador from Syria. “There is no way it can recover its credibility internationally.”

President Barack Obama said the Syrian leader’s departure is only a matter of time.

“We have been relentless in sending a message that it is time for Assad to go,” Obama said during an interview with NBC. “This is not going to be a matter of if, it’s going to be a matter of when.”

The most serious violence Monday was reported in Homs, where Syrian government forces, using tanks and machine guns, shelled a makeshift medical clinic and residential areas on the third day of a relentless assault, killing a reported 40 people, activists said. More than a dozen others were reported killed elsewhere.

Those deaths followed a regime onslaught in Homs that began Saturday, the same day Syria’s allies in Russia and China vetoed a Western- and Arab-backed resolution aimed at trying to end the crackdown on dissent. Some 200 people died, the highest death toll reported for a single day in the uprising, according to several activist groups.

Even as the U.S. steps up pressure on Assad to halt the violence and relinquish power, Obama said a negotiated solution was possible, without recourse to outside military intervention.

Later, however, White House spokesman Jay Carney said the administration was taking “no options off the table.”

Comments

Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 2 months ago

I think this is an interesting observation:

During Operation Cast Lead in December 2008 - January 2009, which was undertaken in order to stop the indiscriminate and unceasing rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip, about 1,434 citizens of Gaza were killed. The military operation was not undertaken until after over 1,000 rockets had been fired into Israel.

Source: International Institute for Counter-Terrorism http://www.ict.org.il/Portals/0/Articles/ICT_Cast_Lead_Casualties-A_Closer_Look.pdf

During the recent unrest in Syria, sources for the number of casualties differ a great deal. But the number is much, much larger than the number killed in the Gaza Strip.

"Activists say more than 7,000 people have been killed since protests began in March last year. The government blames "armed gangs" for the unrest and says more than 2,000 members of the security forces have been killed."

Source: Al Jazeera http://blogs.aljazeera.com/liveblog/Syria

The casualties during Operation Cast Lead were considered to be terrible in the Islamic press. But the much larger, by a factor of perhaps four or more, casualties in Syria caused by infighting among Arabs seems to be of much less importance.

It's all propaganda.

Apparently it's just about the same for one Arab to kill four or more other Arabs as it is for one Israeli to kill one Arab during wartime.

And, it has been recently demonstrated that one thousand Arabs in prison are equal to one Israeli in hostage.

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cato_the_elder 2 years, 2 months ago

"Arab Spring."

What a joke.

It was laughable when Obama first peddled it, but since then has become tragic.

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Ron Holzwarth 2 years, 2 months ago

Winston Churchill made a very meaningful observation in his autobiography in the section where he discussed the Nuremberg Trials, which were a series of military tribunals that were held by the Allies after World War II.

It was considered unfortunate that before they were held Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, and Joseph Goebbels committed suicide.

In addition to lengthy prison terms for many, there were twelve death sentences handed down: Martin Bormann, Hans Frank, Wilhelm Frick, Hermann Göring, Alfred Jodl, Ernst Kaltenbrunner, Wilhelm Keitel, Joachim von Ribbentrop, Alfred Rosenberg, Fritz Sauckel, Arthur Seyss-Inquart, and Julius Streicher.

But, Hermann Göring and Martin Bormann committed suicide before execution.

And there were also other trials held at various locations, which resulted in the death penalty for dozens of former Nazi officials.

Winston Churchill's observation was that this was a terrible precedent to set for future generations, because if the death penalty appeared to be certain after losing power or a war, the leaders of a country would hold on to the bitter end, regardless of the consequences.

Instead, he thought that if a lesser sentence or very quick political asylum were to be granted, in many cases the leaders of a country would give up power or surrender sooner, and thus the power struggle or war would end with far less death and destruction.

So, the precedent was set.

We may be seeing the results of that policy today in that the leaders of some Arab countries are refusing to give up power as long as possible, knowing full well that the longer they can drag it out, the longer they will live.

Saddam Hussein and Hosni Mubarak come to mind, and now Bashar Assad seems to be following in their footsteps.

But, that all may be meaningless in the Middle East, because the death sentence is handed down left and right for transgressions that are considered to be very minor in the modern Western nations.

For instance: For adultery under sharia law, the penalty can be and often is death by stoning. That is firmly rooted in Islamic theology. But, that is an entirely different culture.

See: http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/Quran/001-adultery_punishment.htm

So, the Western nations should probably just stay out of the dogfight, and let them kill each other if they want.

"The first thing you need to understand about a foreign culture is that you will never understand it." - Ron Holzwarth

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