"For the Sake of the Syrian People, the Time Has Come for President Asad To Step Aside"

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
August 18, 2011

More:White House Blog | Treasury Statements on Sanctions

Today, President Obama called for the President of Syria, Bashar al-Asad, to step aside and took the strongest financial action against the Syrian regime thus far. Following the President's statement, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton addressed the situation in Syria.

Secretary Clinton said, "For months, the world has borne witness to the Asad regime's contempt for its own people. In peaceful demonstrations across the nation, Syrians are demanding their universal human rights. The regime has answered their demands with empty promises and horrific violence, torturing opposition leaders, laying siege to cities, slaughtering thousands of unarmed civilians, including children.

"The Asad government has now been condemned by countries in all parts of the world and can look only to Iran for support for its brutal and unjust crackdown.

"This morning, President Obama called on Asad to step aside and announced the strongest set of sanctions to date targeting the Syrian Government. These sanctions include the energy sector to increase pressure on the regime. The transition to democracy in Syria has begun, and it's time for Asad to get out of the way.

"As President Obama said this morning, no outside power can or should impose on this transition. It is up to the Syrian people to choose their own leaders in a democratic system based on the rule of law and dedicated to protecting the rights of all citizens, regardless of ethnicity, religion, sect, or gender.

"We understand the strong desire of the Syrian people that no foreign country should intervene in their struggle, and we respect their wishes. At the same time, we will do our part to support their aspirations for a Syria that is democratic, just, and inclusive. And we will stand up for their universal rights and dignity by pressuring the regime and Asad personally to get out of the way of this transition.

"All along, as we have worked to expand the circle of global condemnation, we have backed up our words with actions. As I've repeatedly said, it does take both words and actions to produce results. Since the unrest began, we have imposed strong financial sanctions on Asad and dozens of his cronies. We have sanctioned the Commercial Bank of Syria for supporting the regime's illicit nuclear proliferation activities. And we have led multilateral efforts to isolate the regime, from keeping them off the Human Rights Council, to achieving a strong presidential statement of condemnation at the UN Security Council."

Secretary Clinton continued, "...The steps that President Obama announced this morning will further tighten the circle of isolation around the regime. His executive order immediately freezes all assets of the Government of Syria that are subject to American jurisdiction and prohibits American citizens from engaging in any transactions with the Government of Syria or investing in that country. These actions strike at the heart of the regime by banning American imports of Syrian petroleum and petroleum products and prohibiting Americans from dealing in these products.

"And as we increase pressure on the Asad regime to disrupt its ability to finance its campaign of violence, we will take steps to mitigate any unintended effects of the sanctions on the Syrian people. We will also continue to work with the international community, because if the Syrian people are to achieve their goals, other nations will have to provide support and take actions as well.

"In just the past two weeks, many of Syria's own neighbors and partners in the region have joined the chorus of condemnation. We expect that they and other members of the international community will amplify the steps we are taking both through their words and their actions.

"We are heartened that, later today, the UN Security Council will meet again to discuss this ongoing threat to international peace and stability. We are also working to schedule a special session of the United Nations Human Rights Council that will examine the regime's widespread abuses. Earlier this week, I explained how the United States has been engaged in a relentless and systematic effort with the international community, pursuing a set of actions and statements that make crystal clear where we all stand, and generating broader and deeper pressure on the Asad regime."

In closing, Secretary Clinton said, "...The people of Syria deserve a government that respects their dignity, protects their rights, and lives up to their aspirations. Asad is standing in their way. For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for him to step aside and leave this transition to the Syrians themselves, and that is what we will continue to work to achieve."

You can read a complete transcript of the Secretary's remarks here.



Azad D.
August 19, 2011

Azad in Iraq writes:

“According to Report of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty of 2001, state is responsible to protect the rights of its citizen, but when it fails in doing so causing grave violations of their rights, this responsibility shifts to the International community to apply the needed methods including the use of force as a last resort to prevent further deterioration” (Azad Dewani, p. 21, 2010; ICISS, 2001, p. xi; p. 13).

First of all, in order to look for an appropriate response, the US Administration should consider Bashar Al Assad regime as a dictatorship similar to that of Saddam Hussein and Al Qadhafi; Al Assad dictator cannot convert himself to be reformer because reforms contradict with his illegal power and long term military regime.

Less harmful military response as an operation of humanitarian intervention authorized by the UN Security Council can be the proper response because sanctions and other provisions proved fruitless. On the contrary, regime violence and resulting casualties among civilians have fearfully grown.

The current military regime is threatening the regional stability by supporting Hezbollah, Hamas, and Jihadist groups in Iraq. In addition, it could constitute serious threat for the international security if it succeeded in possessing Weapons of Mass Destruction.

It is also plausible to predict that inaction in the Syrian crisis will lead to the emergence of Jihadist groups inside Syria pushing the regional stability to more tension and possible conflict.

On the other hand, toppling this dictatorship could be a helpful factor for Peace and Democracy in the region, especially if the Free World succeeded in help Syrians to establish their non-centralized democracy under the role of parliament. The Free World Should play the leading role in the Syrian crisis not Turkey because Turkey has its own political serious problems that contradict with the progress of democracy in Syria. The Turkish Nationalists have concerns that Kurds, the ally of the US and the Free World, might participate actively alongside Arabs in the new system of Syria.

Moreover, the Free World should not give Turkey such privilege of imposing Erduganic Islam on the Syrian community which might lead to unwanted results in the future.

Syrians need progressive Democracy guided by the Free World.

August 19, 2011

Saeed in Kuwait writes:

nice move

H M.
August 19, 2011

Hashim M. in Malaysia writes:

Dear Secretary Clinton,

To my mind, the people of Syria need jobs and food and clean H2O on the table first.

Secondly, when is this game of empire building going to stop?

Kind Regards and Ta.


United States
August 19, 2011

Zharkov in the U.S.A. writes:

You all can see where this is going - Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Syria, then Saudi Arabia - all overthrown by proxy.

There is a purpose to this and it's not about democracy. Global governance is completely undemocratic.

Syrian G.
August 19, 2011

Syrian Guy in Syria writes:

Thank you Clinton we love you for this action! finally you did the best of all.

Iran must have power on there own land not over our land poor children and women are being killed every hour and so.

South Korea
August 19, 2011

Palgye in South Korea writes:

World stocks plunge on growing recession

I'd be talking to a lot of people are guessing. However, I think is a countermeasure, if the first truly European, American investors will think it'd be a little stability. Nevertheless, the active involvement of Germany and France, which it considers necessary (before the story, but she keeps it bandaeman, made it extremely difficult situation, Reichstag for the light to bomb, is a joke, not really funny, bad.)

It's already the whole story,

To obtain the issue of Syria in the crisis, the White House and State Department, working,

Syria (Libya), Germany, if you promise a lot of equity, Germany's Chancellor of the German people also think there's a way to persuade. German companies have also raised new demands, which I think would be less reason to oppose. Reichstag a

France is currently the President of the, I felt under considerable pressure to re-election, which shows you how to mitigate it and, if you promise I help people easily, I think you were going to join.

I accept money in a crisis. However, in the absence of alternatives, I talk more about the crisis is thought to occur. Truly European sikindamyeon (already too much, I spoke to support for Greek,)

U.S. stock market is also thought to be reliable. A crisis occurs, a warning about too much to believe. Appropriate controls are deemed necessary. Time to talk with them to think.

PS the President of Syria, Bashar al-Asad - Syria, Iran should be completely different approaches to thinking. Somehow, the forces inside the ruling raised the assassination....

August 19, 2011

W.W. writes:

Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself.the LORD himself will strike him; either his time will come and he will die, or he will go into battle and perish. Now get the spear and water jug that are near his head, and let's go Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done.

New Mexico, USA
August 20, 2011

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Historicly, any nation that treats its own citizens with brutality and disregard for their existance is generally inclined to treat its neighbors to the same treatment with equal or greater disregard for their citizens.

Thus, to protect populations it would not be just the Syrian people the international community would seek to protect by the use of force to remove Assad from power, but their own as well.

Whether that be the legitimate right of a people to defend themselves against all enemies, foreign and in this case domestic; what may be regarded by revolutionaries as foreign interference is anyone supporting the regime that oppresses them, not those nations seeking to empower them and lend material support to their aspirations.

Some would argue that the call for Assad to step down from power is long over due, as he has already done what Ghaddafi tried to do and was stopped in the doing on the outskirts of Bengazi by NATO firepower.

Such an argument has merit, but Syria is not Lybia being a well established totalitarian police state with a credible military that is not likely to be overthrown with just "people power" in taking up arms to defend themselves.

Sanctions may bankrupt a terrorist regime, but won't directly affect the intent behind the crimes against humanity committed...they never do.

Such crimes know no borders, violate the soveignity of peoples, and thus to resolve the matter, the notion that governments hold a nation's soveregnity rather than its people must be questioned, and found wanting in logical application by dictators who claim their right to it.

When obviously the people have a different idea about this; that they hold this truth to be self evident that they embody the soveregnity of a nation, and not their government.

Therefore any humanitarian iutervention conducted by the international community up to and including the use of armed force to halt and remove the perpetrators of mass murder would not violate a nation's soveregnity, but be acting to restore it in concrete measures into the hands of that nation's people.

We have the means to expidite the transition underway in solidarity with those seeking freedom from oppression.

Might as well start by making Assad homeless and uncomfortable looking at his fancy digs bombed into smoking rubble.

If there's another way to convince him we're serious about his leaving power, I can't think of a more immediate way to do that.

Unlike Lybia, a successful transition in Syria will require a top-down eradication of leadership and capacity, not simply a "no fly zone" and caveats on "all neccessary measures".

The challenge before the international community is broader than the crisis, it is in effect a process of perfecting "regime replacement therapy" and using the tools at hand to do that efficiantly with.

In our national capacity to employ "unique capabilities" we can lead by declaring war on the Syrian government and forming a posse comitatus of concerned nations to bring resolution to uncertainty and soveriegn issues for the good of the people of Syria.

What actions may be involved happen at a time of our choosing after such declaration is made.

I believe that the pressure brought to bear by such declaration may serve to halt any external support via arms sales or national influence by Iran, or risk having war declared upon them as a result as well.

It would provide Russia incentive to reposess the weapons and tanks they've sold Assad over the years peacefully, rather than see us along with the willing to destroy them and deny Assad the capability of using them on his people.

There's more than one way to "skin a cat", but you have to have a pretty sharp knife regardless of where and how one decides to start and complete that procedure.



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