Support for the People of Syria

Posted by Esther Brimmer
February 28, 2012
Assistant Secretary Brimmer Addresses the Human Rights Council Urgent Debate on Syria
Assistant Secretary Brimmer and Ambassador Donahoe Listen to the Human Rights Council Urgent Debate on Syria
Assistant Secretary Brimmer Delivers Remarks to the Human Rights Council Urgent Debate on Syria
Officials Listen to the Human Rights Council Urgent Debate on Syria

Earlier today, I spoke before the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, where I joined many other nations gathered to demand an end to the Assad government's outrageous and ongoing crimes against the people of Syria. Syrian civilians and international journalists risk their lives daily to inform the world of the horrendous scale of slaughter and suffering, and the Commission of Inquiry launched by the UN Human Rights Council last August concluded that the Syrian government forces have perpetrated crimes against humanity. No one can deny that Bashar al-Assad and his regime are waging a brutal campaign of slaughter, bombardment, torture, and arrest that already has murdered thousands of women, men, and children, with more killed each day.

As I said earlier today, the Syrian government must immediately halt its attacks on civilians, withdraw its military and security forces to their barracks, and release the many civilians, including journalists, whom it has detained arbitrarily. The government must grant humanitarian access to the country without delay, allowing much-needed food, water, and medical assistance to be delivered to the Syrian people. All states should heed the call of conscience, and halt any financial or other support to the Syrian government, including arms or materiel transfers, and must back UN-Arab League Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan.

The way forward is clear. In the coming weeks, the UN Human Rights Council must extend the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry, so that it can continue to investigate and document the gross human rights violations being committed in Syria, providing evidence to support accountability for the senior Syrian officials who have planned and perpetrated these atrocities. Finally, Assad must go. There must be a Syrian-led democratic political transition that meets the long-suppressed aspirations of the Syrian people.

The international community supports these essential steps as the solution to the violence in Syria. They are at the core of the plan the Arab League has put forward. They were further endorsed in Tunis last week by the Group of Friends of Syria. They were backed by an overwhelming majority in the General Assembly resolution adopted on February 16, 2012. And although thirteen members of the Security Council supported these steps earlier this month, indefensible vetoes by two permanent members gave Assad cover to accelerate his war on the Syrian people.

Syrian women, men, and children face murder and starvation at the hands of their own government, simply because they demand respect for the universal human rights the Human Rights Council exists to protect and advance. Let us demonstrate today that the world stands united with the people of Syria, for it is they who represent their country's future, just as Assad and his regime represent its past.

Comments

Comments

palgye
|
South Korea
February 28, 2012

Palgye in South Korea writes:

China,

expand and high, inner circle market,

must be and needing, now
-japan involve in rescue eu economic crisis,
yes, first and last..?

because of japan`s money
China gets extra money
reform and expand...

we need China and us

Melissa
|
Maryland, USA
February 28, 2012

Melissa in Maryland writes:

Ah, the UN...less talk, more action please.

started87
February 29, 2012

W.W. writes:

@ Melissa in Maryland

thanks

Mario Zenari : 10 month old child brutally shooted by Assad forces

where23
February 29, 2012

W.W. writes:

The escalating systematic killing if Syrians by their own government is becoming nearly as familiar to Americans as the 2012 Presidential race ...but even as the world groans for the people in Homs, Syria who are suffering and thousands murdered at the brutal hands of dictator Bashar al-Assad for nearly one year now.

Yet even as the world watches continuing atrocities in Syria ...in concert, neighbor and closest ally Iran stirs further tensions in the region while in the final stages of completing the development of its first nuclear weapon together with increasingly sophisticated weaponry.

At the same time, Iran is threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz and wipe israel off in retaliation to sanctions imposed on the nation by 'participating' UN members over its nuclear development program (participating with the exception of Russia and China who stand in support of both Iran and Syria despite egregious actions their leaders).

As events unfold ...to understand the mystery behind the scenes ... understanding the significance of strategic events in motion over time is critical to understanding how things are happening the way they are ...why ... and what to expect.

The question is beginning to surface as to what would possess China or Russia or in this case both to embrace a relationship with the likes of pathetic scum like Assad and Ahmadinejad?

The evil and insanity is supernatural ...and with today's technology, in the face of Humanity unlike ever before.

With vastly differing cultures, other than that the region has strategic military value and resources neither China or Russia see eye to eye on anything. Neither have interest in the cultures and beliefs of Israel or Islam, nor humanitarian concern for what happens within their borders unless for strategic or economic gain.

DonaldM
|
Virginia, USA
February 29, 2012

Donald M. in Virginia writes:

"Its not rocketscience why China and Russia vote the way they do at the United Nations, especially when they continue to sells arms to countries that support terrorism."

John P.
|
Greece
March 1, 2012

John P. in Greece writes:

@ Donald M. in Virginia

In just two lines you have said absolutely everything! i totally agree with you...

Best regards!

problems38
March 1, 2012

W.W. writes:

Support

While people are saying, "Peace and safety," destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.

They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. 'Peace, peace,' they say, when there is no peace and bring all the people back to you. The death of the man you seek will mean the return of all; all the people will be unharmed."

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
March 1, 2012

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Donald, John P.,

It's hard for me to say why it is that folks can look at the same set of circumstances and have completely different understandings of them, and if we leave Russia's vested interest out of it for the moment one must ask if they have a true appreciation of the horror their weapons are inflicting on the Syrian people.

If they did, their own interests would be served by physically reposessing them from Assad, as they would then look to all the world like hero's instead of becoming the goat in the eyes of billions world-wide by being party to murder and crimes against humanity.

(Something I dredged up from the archives);

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Dear Dept of State and friends,

This is a short-form citizen's NIE on the challenge posed by dictators and tyrants.

Or simply one option that probably should be on the President's table in my opinion.

So without delay...

Call Assad and tell him if he doesn't cease and desist that America can make him homeless in 15 minutes or less, and then do it anyway just to prove it to him.

When he loses his fancy digs to a conventionally tipped ICBM, then maybe he'll stop and think about what you folks are telling him to do or not to do, but until then...he's going to act like a murduring tyrant.

And when he complains about the "legality" of the action, give him a second helping of what we just dished up and make the rubble bounce just to emphasize the point.

And tell him he's lucky to be alive to complain about it.

I'll say one thing as a hypothisis, not speculation...because it is my educated guess that he might be a wee bit more inclined to listen if you'all had a bull's eye painted on Ghaddafi's forehead and designated him personally as a legitimate "command and control" target before making that call to Assad.

If we can't set an example to these ethical infants that "bad things can and will personally happen to you if you make war on your people." then don't expect to bring the changes you'all want in today's world, OK?

No amount of diplomacy is worth failing to get the results folks can live with.

I mean it's not asking too much of other world leaders that they treat their citizens with a little respect and dignity, is this not the opinion of my government?

And when they fail to listen to reason, is it not reasonable to unilaterally get very unreasonable about what we condem in the strongest terms and go kinetic rather than diplomatic about it to put and end to the slaughter of civilians?

I'm sure there will be those who get puturbed over this, but they may be afforded the option of either being with us in dealing with madmen, or getting the hell out of the way.

We absolutely can and must ( if we believe in human rights) dictate the terms of existance or non-existance to leaders who abuse their people, sponsor terrorism, and generally violate international law on a consistant basis.

To do otherwise is to discard all reasonable hope for achieving our own national security goals.

EJ

Posted on Tue May 10, 2011

"http://blogs.state.gov/index.php/site/entry/syrian_people_universal_free..."

---

Gotta have a plan-B in case Koffe Annan can't get diplomatic traction as envoy, and the Artab League can't get Russia & China on board with their proposals in the UNSC.

I'm all for giving peace a chance, but if we're going to have to turn Russia's weapons into scrap metal to save the lives of innocents trying to defend themselves and call it "protecting populations" by disarming and removing Assad's regime from power kineticly, I would hope the President of these United States would call Mr. Medvedev and advise him we'll be sending him a bill for the cost of sending their equipment to the junk yard.

Best,

EJ

Ole
|
New York, USA
March 1, 2012

Ole in New York writes:

Dear Mme Secretary!

I'm a little disappointed by your recent statement about terrorist elements among Syrian rebels. First of, if we fail to act, they surely will take root in that movement, and grow from a fringe to dominant element. When we bombed Miloshevich's regime in 95 and then in 99, we not only did the right thing overall, but also prevented Al-Qaeda and similar types hijacking Bosnian and Kosovar people's freedom struggles. Secondly, when thousands of poorly armed or moreover civilian people are slaughtered, it's not the time to dissect them into moderates, radicals etc. Thirdly, during World War 2 one bloody maniac was our ally against another three; and when those were defeated, when immediately went into cold war with him. Now in Syria we don't have an immediate threat of terrorists taking over from Asad, and in any case whoever comes after Asad will not be solely in control of the country. For all its troubles, new Iraq government is not a totalitarian one, even if it does have a Shia islamist slant.

And finally, failing to act means loss of prestige on the free world's part, and on part of US as its leader. If we force Asad out, it means we get done what we believe is the right thing to do, while if we balk away we essentially lose without a fight, thus failing to be a leader. Peoples of Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya have been given a shot at democracy with our help; some succeeded more, some less, but at least we did all we could. With Syria, we first need to first do what we can, and then 'assess possible losses'

Maureen
|
Massachusetts, USA
March 1, 2012

Maureen in Massachusetts writes:

Kofi Annan and knowing what "not" to say in negotiation could achieve what the elusive, one collective voice wants while not infuriating others...who may not be quite on board with the collective voice.

This article has probably been read by many blog participants but just in case:

'http://turtlebay.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/03/01/kofi_annan_to_reach_...'

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
March 1, 2012

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Maureen in Mass.,

I truly wish Koffe Annan much success in proving my assesment wrong. I hate being right most of the time, and I feel like I've been here, and said this before. For some strange reason or another.

Best,

EJ

level23
March 2, 2012

W.W. writes:

A year of disgusting disgust

Everyday talk of armed conflict with Iran increases with China and Russia in defense of both Iran and Syria. However, any coward with weapons can kill innocent unarmed women and children.

Its even more pathetic when you can do something about it and do nothing

We Object! Russia and China veto UN resolution on Syria

The United Nations Security Council has just voted on a draft resolution concerning the ongoing violence in Syria.

Of the voting members, Russia and China were the only ones to vote against the draft, but as permanent members of the UNSC they both hold veto power, and the resolution has not been passed as a result.

The news follows days of heated political debates in the UNSC, with many members supporting a Western-backed draft calling for foreign nations to put an end to what some called the "Syrian killing machine." Russia and China were the only permanent Security Council members opposing the draft, reminding others that it was not their place to intervene in another country's domestic affairs. Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin earlier said any proposals including an arms embargo or a demand for Assad's resignation would be vetoed. The Security Council meeting comes amid reports from Syria of a new crackdown in the city of Homs, with hundreds reportedly killed. RT talks to Dr Ali Mohamad, editor-in-chief of Syria Tribune website. Russia Today 04 February 2012

As if in support ...Russia and China echo increasing threats of consequences should anyone attempt to cross and stop Syria and Iran's reprehensible ongoing acts behind an imaginary curtain of evil.

Russia Warns of Iran Attack 'Catastrophe'
MOSCOW, January 18 (Marc Bennetts for RIA Novosti)

UK urges tougher Syria sanctions, Russia issues warning
Reuters Canada By Alistair Lyon BEIRUT (Reuters) Wed Jan 18, 2012 5:16pm EST

'The likelihood of military conflict between the United States and Iran is higher now than at any time in more than two decades, military analysts say, as tensions continue to escalate over Iran’s nuclear ambitions and blustery rhetoric.'

Russia and China are welcomed to engage any sort of Political or military confrontation with a world that refuses leading brutal theocratic unevolved movment

Russia is today part of Islam and part of a massacre never known in human History against humans with different ideas.

Russia is today responsible of delaying an Humanitarian intervention to save lives using veto power to protect its economic financial interest with the islamic tribal region

Maureen
|
Massachusetts, USA
March 2, 2012

Maureen in Massachusetts writes:

@ Eric

The tragedy being that this was predicted and yet here we are, anyway. As a negotiator and envoy Kofi Annan is also “realist”. The work is also about preparing beyond this critical phase of the crisis and looking for some transition avenues for the goal of stability in the region.

Be assured that I've read most of your posts on Syria over the past year and they are extensive :).

Shadrach
March 2, 2012

Shadrach writes:

I believe its matter of time before Syrian army try to retake the freed area and massacre the freedom fighters and innocent people , the reason being that Syrian president is being cornered by the international community, so knowing it wouldn’t be long for the whole community to unite against him, the president will try to eliminate the source of his problem before that.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
March 2, 2012

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Maureen,

I enjoy reading your posts as well, you often inspire me to think. I'd say that sending former UNSG Annan in as envoy is if I'm not mistaken, unprecedented in international diplomacy and thus represents what amounts to a "last ditch" diplomatic effort on the part of the international community to reason with Assad. (this assesment being no reflection on his skills as a negotiator one way or another, but a reflection of the level of concern that leads a former UN Secretary General to take up such a role, as a facet of the gravity of the circumstance in which he serves in such a capacity.)

What defines a "realist" in your eyes Maureen?

I think first and formost, that to be called one, a person has to be intellectually honest with themselves in order to produce an honest assesment that reflects the greatest level of data imput into that assesment as possible; to determine an accurate set of parameters in which an effective permanent solution to a crisis may be derived as reflected in policy decision making towards a desired outcome.

In this case, to save as many lives as possible being job #1.

The parameter that those who have a vested interest in diplomacy succeeding often risk being blinded to by their attachment to diplomacy being the sole solution to achieving peace is the notion in practical aplication that when fighting a forest fire, it is often neccessary to fight fire with fire to extinguish it by depriving it of fuel in order to save the forest.

(this metaphor as applied to diplomacy);

"And when we get to the point of doing this, that we do it with the intent to eliminate Assad as a threat to his people and eliminate his capacity to make war on anyone with 100% totality.

If you'all want to prevent a civil war, forgetabout it, it's already happening, but disarming the regime is a better idea than arming the rebels to put a stop to it.

When protecting a population means forcing the regime to be more concerned with finding a hidy hole to crawl into than killing the people, bombs are the the ultimate tool of diplomacy.

There won't be a doubt in any Syrian's mind that the US stands with the Syrian people when Assad's palace becomes rubble before their very eyes.

No doubt in Assad's mind that he has three choices when the President of the US calls for him to "get out of the way" ; Get out of town, get busted, or get buried.

No doubt in Russia's mind of their limitations of power and influence when we do the right thing despite their objections.
Mr. Medvedev's choice is simply to create a better world for kids to live in by not being politically stupid anymore and no longer being willing to support those who murder children with their weapons.

That political stupidity will cost them dearly if it continues one more week.

China as well, for America can always find other suppliers of products and put a hurting on the Chinese economic outlook.

The Syrian crisis has exacerbated the trends of these two nations to act as spoilers to the will of the rest of the international community who seek to protect populations at risk, and in addressing a kinetic solution, the diplomacy involved in changing the nature of the behavior of governments who arm and support genocidal dictators and sponsors of terror must force them to become well aware of the concequences, and Sec. Clinton has raised some of those impending on the human and moral level.

As much as this gov. would like to have the UNSC on board, there's an aspect of allowing Russia and China (if they are successful in this instance, to continue to render the UNSC irrelevant to any and all crisis of this type in the furure) to have their way that is flat unnacceptable to creating a better more kid- friendly world to live in."

'http://blogs.state.gov/index.php/site/entry/travel_diary_friends_of_syri...'

--end excerpt--

Now there are folks that would say "Why fight fire with fire? Don't you just create a bigger fire that destroys more trees?" Or "Why not fight it with water?"

Well for one, you might not have access to enough water, or be able to deliver it due to the conditions on the ground, and two, the back-burn you set is managed and controlled to burn the area in front of the advancing forest fire to deprive those advancing flames of fuel available in the underbrush, so that what's out of control becomes control-able as a whole, stopping the advance of destruction as it burns itself out.

It's like the world is praying for rain to put this one out, not willing to risk fighting fire with fire in a high wind.

Best,

EJ

Maureen
|
Massachusetts, USA
March 4, 2012

Maureen in Massachusetts writes:

@ Eric

It would be extremely presumptuous to imply that Kofi Annan in the dual representation role as envoy, has any illusions about the reality and gravity of the situation nor do I believe he is blinded by an attachment to diplomacy. He certainly comprehends the assessment of those who assumed that this crisis was destined to unfold and violently, until a winner declared.

A Security Council Diplomat quoted in an article by Joe Lauria, March 4,2012 The National-

“He wants to get a political solution to end the violence," the diplomat said. "He's got to build up trust with Assad and if he says I'm here to implement the Arab League plan … that's not the way to get it. He's not going to go around publicly saying I want Assad out. That's diplomacy 101."

It is important to note that Mr. Annan is viewed as someone who could be removed enough and still close enough to represent mediation in the larger community (when and if) the violence ends.
Part of being intellectually honest with oneself would be to admit that a permanent solution to a crisis is sometimes not within immediate reach.

And Eric, I found your metaphor with “fire” and “rain” to be very creative and full of imagery. I can't help but thinking...but do we have enough fire fighters to put out the fires waiting to ignite elsewhere? What about the ramifications for national,global security? The groups waiting in the wings to take full advantage of this terrible situation? And if our relationships are damaged with two nations that we have made positive inroads with in recent years- will be be better off to say adieu?

If Mr. Annan knows what not to say to get people to agree to cease the violence which has now escalated to civil war then he can still help save lives.

Thanks for your posts.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
March 6, 2012

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Maureen,

Re; "It would be extremely presumptuous to imply that Kofi Annan in the dual representation role as envoy, has any illusions..."(etc, etc).

What about this didn't you understand Maureen?

"(this assesment being no reflection on his skills as a negotiator one way or another, but a reflection of the level of concern that leads a former UN Secretary General to take up such a role, as a facet of the gravity of the circumstance in which he serves in such a capacity.)"

Exactly what did I "imply" about Annan? When in fact it's quite obvious I went out of my way to state clearly that I wasn't refering to him personally in my assesment as such.

The notion that Annan could convince Assad that he wasn't meeting him to "implement the Arab league plan" is questionable however.

I mean to say simply that any political solution that does not involve Assad giving up power in favor of a "peaceful political transition" is no solution at all, and cannot realisticly be considered to be one, so long as he remains in power to continue now or in the future to make war on his people. Period, there's no negotiating around that reality Maureen. Regardless of what he says or does not say about that to Assad.

The only chance for eventual peace is is if he leaves, and calls for his forces to return to their barracks before hand.

Otherwise whether the Syrian people fight fire with fire or not, with or without the help of the int. community, Syria will burn.

Meanwhile, back in the hood, Assad's forces are busy covering up their crimes against humanity right now and are blocking aid from the Red Cross into the hardest hit areas so there won't be any evidence, because when they do finally get in, there won't be anyone left alive to recieve it.

And while you speak of my "presumptions", just what presumption has the international community afforded the Syriasn people when taking the use of force off the table to intervene and deliver that aid has effectively condemmed the people to death at the hands of Assad's forces?

You didn't answer my question;

"What defines a "realist" in your eyes Maureen?"

I'll tell you what's realistic...that when you have a pyromaniac running around the forest setting fire to it, you better take away his matches because it won't matter how many folks you put on the line to fight fire with fire or water. If he's left to continually set the forest alight.

It's not simply that Russia and China have given Assad diplomatic and material support while he's busy murdering the innocents, that has allowed him to do so. It's the fact that the international community as a whole has all but ruled out any physical intervention to stop the slaughter that has contributed the most to Assad's ability to continue to carry out his crimes.

Could it be that YOU are too attached to diplomacy being the only solution,..to realize this?

That this is the "blindness" I was talking about?

Let me simply pose the thought that had this gov. rendered Assad homeless when I had suggested it, both Russia and China would have gotten over it by now in favor of continued good relations with the US. That we wouldn't be having this conversation now because Assad would no longer be in a position to be murdering his people or blocking humanitarian assistance from providing the therapy in a post- "regime replacement therapy" environment wherby the people were involved in forming a new government, and activly involved in getting on with the political transition everyone speaks of today as being part and parcel to the Arab League's solution.

The world would be minus one more dictator.

Fact is, folks have so far failed to deliver, and properly meet the challenge posed by dictators and tyrants.

Koffe Annan has about as much chance of achieving a peaceful diplomatic solution as I would winning the powerball lotto with a single ticket,...this is realisticly assesing his odds of doing so.

No matter how nobel the effort, or his talent as a negotiator.

I used the words "last ditch" to describe that effort for a reason, based upon the reality on the ground as it exists today.

Wish it were different, but the thing about wishing for things is that alone never achieves them.

Which is why thinking diplomacy is going to solve this crisis alone is like praying for rain when no one's willing to use a tried and true method to put fires out.

It's one thing to say that Assad is totally responsible for the death and destruction, but the fact is that the international community has failed in its responsibility to prevent further suffering.

EJ

John
|
Canada
March 6, 2012

John in Canada writes:

@ Eric

"I think first and formost, that to be called one, a person has to be intellectually honest with themselves in order to produce an honest assesment that reflects the greatest level of data imput into that assesment as possible; to determine an accurate set of parameters in which an effective permanent solution to a crisis may be derived as reflected in policy decision making towards a desired outcome."

Is it very honest intellectually or otherwise to support the Bahrain regime in silence or do arms deals with the Saudis (I know you criticize the Russians but what will you say when American made hardware is shown clearly to be used against civilians? Will you advocate America to pay reparations?) I could go off about the Saudis but why waste the time.

Mr. Obama congratulates the elections in Yemen - what a joke - one choice democracy - laughable. All that debacle did was strengthen extremists positions - I thought America wanted to avoid this? or is that a lie?

Very foreseeable poor policy - with very foreseeable outcomes.

Whats better then any data set and annalist combined- common sense and ethics - two things that cant be bought or taught and lacking in epic proportions worldwide.

You see Eric - what you say is not wrong but lets face it American policy is quite incoherent - one murderous terrorist supporter is OK but another is not?

Intellectual infants play this game and guess what - every time it leads to the same place -SCREWED right into a corner. Look familiar?

Do you think having such policies might just weaken Americas position globally?

Life isn't that hard unless one makes excuses why behaving wrong is right. Those that trumpet complexities quite simply are liars, incompetent or just plain cant deal with the truth of their own inadequacies or lies.

We have in this world more diplomats and policies then ever before in human history - Intellectually speaking why is everything so messed up if diplomacy and policy actually produced something other then bigger issues to clean up? Sometimes Eric doing nothing can be beneficial.

Dude, I say this with greatest respect but you sound like a politician. Your ideas have been done before and have not worked. Is there a play book for failed policy makers?

I doubt Kofi will succeed. The opportunity to do something passed long ago - If you or others don't like whats happening in Syria - something should have been done at the right time - that time has passed - dynamics are much different now. Now you get to watch and wait.Like it or not.

In the mean time why not convince your policy makers to end the hypocrisy that actually destroys American influence.(probably harder then fixing the mid-east problems)

You do realize Eric in your last post about putting Russia and china in their place so to speak- that these countries have support - think the American economy can afford to piss off half the worlds potential customers and succeed? Not a chance - see what I mean about screwing yourself into a corner = or pushed but then again I dont believe you could push a nation or individual where they do not want to go.

Again whats the name of that play book of failed policy?

Seymour P.
|
United States
March 6, 2012

Portia S. in the U.S.A. writes:

The Paris daily Le Point on Jan. 29 quoted researcher Fabrice Balanche, who said that the SNC is not the product of the Syrian opposition, but a very disparate group constituted and financed by Qatar and supported by France. It is made up only of exiles, who have but little contact with the revolt on the ground. The SNC is dominated by elements from the Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwan al-Muslimun) such as Ahmad Ramadan, who produced the "Voice of Jihadists" program in Iraq during the 1990s. These types have no meaningful constituency on the ground in Syria, and are being deployed as geopolitical pawns to manipulate the US into a confrontation with Russia. The British in particular are crying crocodile tears over Syria, while using their plight for their own geopolitical purposes.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
March 7, 2012

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Portia S.,

I suggest you view the remarks of Amb. Ford in the Senate Hearing below. Nothing like getting the facts from an eye witness. If you want to trust the press, or a researcher who may or not have that advantage of first hand knowledge, then why should I take what you say as fact, when I have a witness that refutes your claims?

---

@ John in Canada,

Please go back to the bar and get a proper attitude adjustment as I asked you to do previously. Until you can stop bringing up some personal insult or another towards me in your talking points, the only thing I have to tell you is that you need to do a great deal of homework in addition to that, in order for me to consider having a discussion with you to be anything other than a complete waste of my time.

So here's your homework-you'll find most if not all your questions answered by the Dept of State, so go complain to them if you have a problem with policy, I'm not their spokesperson.

Although...(chuckle) I'm not a politician either, it would appear that some politicians may actually read Dipnote and be following my lead. Not that I expect anyone to attribute,...but I'm sure glad the President agrees with me that "containment" is not an option on the table with Iran. I found Sen. McCains remarks on Syria quite interesting as a perspective.

Senator McCain on Syria
Senate Highlight
Mar 5, 2012

"http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/CainsR"

---

"http://www.foreign.senate.gov/hearings/syria-the-crisis-and-its-implicat..."

Witnesses:

- The Honorable Jeffrey Feltman
Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs

- The Honorable Robert Ford
U.S. Ambassador to the Syrian Arab Republic

---

State Department Fiscal Year 2013 Budget
House Committee
Feb 29, 2012

"http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/StateDepartmentF"

---

"http://www.foreign.senate.gov/hearings/national-security-and-foreign-pol..."

Witness:

- The Honorable Hillary Clinton
Secretary of State

---

"http://www.c-span.org/Events/President-Obama-Holds-First-News-Conference..."

---

Cheers,

EJ

Maureen
|
Massachusetts, USA
March 7, 2012

Maureen in Massachusetts writes:

President Obama White House Press Conference March 6, 2012 on Syria:

“...On the other hand, for us to take military action unilaterally, as some have suggested, or to think that somehow there is some simple solution, I think is a mistake.  What happened in Libya was we mobilized the international community, had a U.N. Security Council mandate, had the full cooperation of the region, Arab states, and we knew that we could execute very effectively in a relatively short period of time.  This is a much more complicated situation. 

So what we've done is to work with key Arab states, key international partners -- Hillary Clinton was in Tunisia -- to come together and to mobilize and plan how do we support the opposition; how do we provide humanitarian assistance; how do we continue the political isolation; how do we continue the economic isolation.  And we are going to continue to work on this project with other countries.  And it is my belief that, ultimately, this dictator will fall, as dictators in the past have fallen.

But the notion that the way to solve every one of these problems is to deploy our military, that hasn't been true in the past and it won't be true now.  We've got to think through what we do through the lens of what's going to be effective, but also what's critical for U.S. security interests”.

Eric, please remember that if I wasn't interested in Diplomacy I wouldn't be on this blog...The situation is complex and evolves daily. Kofi Annan understands his role, period. No further comment, except that I appreciate your position and comments:).

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
March 7, 2012

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Mareen,

If you think the President just took the use of force off the table, think again.

And while I spoke of what the US may do, with or without UNSC mandate, unilaterally, I doubt that going it alone will be neccessary as a coalition to taker actiuon is formed by events on the ground in Syria.

This hearing adds a lot of context to the President's statement, and as with most of my posts offering assesment, it takes a little while before they are proven correct.

So wait for it, I don't think folks will have to wait too long after Saturday's visit by Annan w/ Assad for what I'm talking about to sink in and become self evident.

Annan's role is nothing short of trying to work diplomatic miracles, and a "realist" always plans for contingencies.

"http://www.c-span.org/Events/Top-Defense-Chiefs-to-Update-Congress-on-Sy..."

Several years ago the Israelis and Assad were having some problems communicating. Israel took 4 f-16's and buzzed Assad's palace at tree-top level just to send him a message. It apparently worked to deliver it loud and clear.

Without the credible threat of the use of force, Assad won't listen to anyone.

And "all options are on the table" as you will hear stated in the above hearing.

Assad will go...yes, but not peacefully.

Which begs the question of what we must do to reach out and instigate that "tipping point" Jeffrey Feltman spoke of.

We flat don't have the kind of mil to mil or diplomatic relations with Assad's regime as we did in Egypt and Bahrain to prevent violence from taking precedence over reforms and a dialogue with opposition groups taking place, and preventing further bloodshed from occuring.

Nor can Assad be considered a "rational actor" at this point in time by the very nature of his behavior.

Annan's role is simply to exhaust diplomacy, and that's the simple uncomplicated truth of the matter.

I wish him all the luck in the world, as I cannot anticipate miracles in this case.

For a dozen years I've studied the limits of diplomacy in action. I don't make my assesments lightly, nor are they simplistic in arriving at the conclusions therein.

Best,

EJ

usually99
March 27, 2012

W.W. writes:

more than Annan we need Batman here

John
|
Canada
March 7, 2012

John in Canada writes:

@ Eric do you have any other ideas other than war, military action, war, military action dressed up as a need for the greater good backed by some pseudo intellectual talk? (laugh)

As for my attitude - it is just fine Eric - I would say sorry but I'm not, I don't kiss the @ss of nonsense. Nor would I coddle such intellectual infants in their paranoid neuroses of their collective WRONG assessments of a given situations.

Like i said before Eric, how many people did it take to fund the most wanted terrorist in his hideout in Pakistan? Did they get it right???? Seems the folks that trumpet war, war war - have repeatedly got it wrong, wrong, wrong. But have learned nothing.

Getting it wrong so often in the past gives a good indication of future performance or is that just too logical. Or are you perhaps opposed of learning from past mistakes?

I could care less where you get your info from. Your solutions are bogus IMHO.(but i still enjoy reading your posts for entertainment value - kind of like fox news)(Laugh)

The "sheep" can hang whatever titles around their collective necks but they still just blow hot air, make noise. produce a lotta mess; When they have no Shepard to guide them.

"For a dozen years I've studied the limits of diplomacy in action. I don't make my assesments lightly, nor are they simplistic in arriving at the conclusions therein."

...........funny how your assessments always lead to some sort of Rambo action in the end. That is simplistic.

Any nation, any idiot can wage war Eric but it takes REAL leaders to make peace. I dont see that many REAL leaders capable of making peace- only cheap two bit leaders and their cheering sheeple calling for war.

bah.bah.bah.....like lambs to the slaughter.

----------------------------------------------@ Maureen - Obama is right on the money about military action in Syria. I personally do not think normal diplomacy will work with upcoming and current conflicts. Understanding this perhaps will be diplomats greatest challenge.

The current conflicts today are far more dangerous in my view then say, 30 years ago- far beyond just the blood shed playing out on tv or a given political agenda. I don't think many people understand and appreciate this.

If people have no respect for life - what is the point in helping? So they can continue to disrespect life once they are helped? better to not have helped to begin with in my view.

or better yet..

Is it worth saving a life, if that life you saved would just take someone elses life after being saved? Seems pointless to help in such circumstances. Wouldn't you agree.

her36
March 27, 2012

W.W. writes:

let s do it :

Washington — Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told a Senate committee that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must halt his campaign of killing and crimes against the Syrian people now.

“Through its repeated violations of human rights, the regime has lost its legitimacy and its right to rule the country,” Panetta said in prepared testimony for a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing March 7.

“This situation demands an international response, and for that reason the United States has been leading efforts within the international community to pressure Assad to stop his violence against the Syrian people and step aside,” he said.

Panetta and Army General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the U.S. Joints Chiefs of Staff, told the committee that proposed U.S. military intervention in Syria is not a simple or quick solution to the crisis.

“There is no simple solution to the situation in Syria” that does not carry with it enormous risks, Panetta testified. Senator John McCain, the senior Republican on the Armed Services Committee, as well as senators Lindsey Graham, a Republican, and Joe Lieberman, an independent, have argued for U.S. airstrikes against the Assad regime and government military forces that would be similar to international action taken in Libya last year.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has said the Assad regime "has ignored every warning, squandered every opportunity and broken every agreement" to halt the violence against the Syrian people and allow a democratic transition to occur. Panetta told the committee that the Obama administration believes the best resolution to the crisis is a peaceful, political, democratic transition led by the Syrian people and along the lines that have been proposed by the Arab League.

Since civil strife began in Syria nearly 12 months ago, the United Nations has estimated that approximately 7,500 Syrian civilians have been killed by government forces for protesting against the Assad regime and calling for a democratic transition similar to events that have unfolded in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin said the United Nations has estimated that at least 100 more Syrians are being killed each day as the civil strife escalates.

The U.N. General Assembly has voted to condemn the Assad regime’s use of force against civilians, but the Security Council has been unable to act on an Arab League peace plan proposed to stop the violence and remove Assad from office.

“The Assad regime’s brutal crackdown has included gross human rights violations, use of force against civilians, torture, extrajudicial killings, arbitrary executions, sexual violence, and interference with access to medical treatment and other humanitarian assistance,” Levin said at the hearing. But Levin noted that there is no international consensus on how to get Assad to leave office and allow a peaceful transition.

Dempsey told the Senate committee that while the Syrian people are suffering, the internal convulsions are having consequences across a region already in turmoil. “Refugees are fleeing. Spillover into neighboring countries — each one a partner or ally of ours — is an increasing concern,” he said.

The United States, Dempsey said, is applying diplomatic and economic sanctions on the Assad regime, international isolation, support for the opposition, and humanitarian assistance to the Syrian people. He added that a long-term air campaign similar to the one used in Libya by international forces would be more difficult because Syria’s air force is more sophisticated than Libya’s.

“We also need to be alert to extremists — who may return to well-trod ratlines running through Damascus — and other hostile actors, including Iran, which has been exploiting the situation and expanding its support to the regime,” Dempsey told the committee in prepared testimony.

“And we need to be especially alert to the fate of Syria’s chemical and biological weapons. They need to stay exactly where they are,” he added.

John P.
|
Greece
March 8, 2012

John P. in Greece writes:

@ John in Canada

Nobody likes wars John. We are not that crazy and for sure you are not our psychiatrist.

Otherwise you must tell us who is yours in order for us to see if you can be ours? (I wonder if you understand what I’m saying and I do not mean due to language barriers)

Anyway, give us the right to choose our own doctor instead of proceeding with your “miracle” analysis concerning our thoughts.

1. What would have happened if U.S. had not gone to Yugoslavia?

2. What would have happened if U.S. had not gone to Afghanistan?

3. What would have happened if U.S. had not gone to Iraq?

4. What would have happened if U.S. had not gone to Libya?

What would have happened if U.S. had not used the nuclear “big gun” during WW2? 2,5M civilians and soldiers would have lost their lives (both sides), because America would have gone there the “Pacific way” anyway…

Can you tell us Mr. Intellectual what will happen in the area (Syria, Iran) if diplomacy gets an F and no military action is taken? Can you predict the future? Because I think that “nothing in this world is predetermined”.

So, you better quit using this “Pseudo-intellectual” and “Paranoid neuroses” terms of yours when someone disagrees with you, because if we all agreed on everything then we’d have to face the real paranoia.

Some of us don’t like wars John, but sometimes it’s the only way for peace.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
March 8, 2012

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ John in Canada,

Your pathetic line of reasoning is nothing more than a self serving insult to those under the boot of tyrany. An old tired argument for inaction in the face of despots who murder their own people and you mistakenly assume that it is I who wish war, rather than those who make war on their people.

You regurgitate some so called moralistic vision that amounts to nothing more than an intellectual fart in a whirlwind that does nothing to improve the lives of people living in fear and repression, yet you claim to seek a "different kind of diplomacy" as a solution.

Well don't expect peace if your're not willing to do what it takes to create it from scratch.

Your idea of peace is to let the sheep be slaughtered by the wolves among them, and when you hear the silence of lambs bro...you'll know you've just contributed to genocide by doing nothing, saying nothing, and allowing it to happen.

Fortunately you don't get to decide what happens, but whether America removes Assad by force, or not, at least I can sleep well knowing I've tried to end the bloodshed by inspiring my gov. to think in a time of war.

You sinply don't care what happens, cannot see why war happens, have no conception of what it takes to stop it and yet you think all the folks who testified to Congress are spouting nonsense.

Well that's your willful misunderstanding at work, producing more yada-yada, whine whine; taking it out on someone on a forum because you think tryng to be the bully on the blog will win you brownie points with you peers.

You think to end war all you or the rest of the world has to do is stick their head in the sand and it will go away once all the sheep are killed, never suspecting that you bleet profusely a profound insanity.

Let me tell you about creating peace in a microcosm of the universe I call the hood...my hood, my little neighborhood.

I've been thanked many times by the police for "doing their job", saved lives at risk, and risked my own doing so.

There are no gangs wearing "colors" in my hood, doing drive-by's, or threatening my neighbors anymore.

One guy with a 12-guage, never having to fire a shot, howabout that?

Turned in my landlord 12 years back for the gross neglect of his family, saved lives that day I did according to the responding medics.

So you think you can? Do you have the guts? I doubt it, hiding behind your so-called morality? Hiding behind your computer there, claiming to know the difference between right and wrong? You don't even know how wrong you are.

The only reason Canadians enjoy peace is because America assures you'll live in peace by being willing to go to war to defend your peace along with ours, and occasionally your government stands with us...more than occasionally as history shows, so why arn't you complaining to your government about it's role in Afghanistan if you think America is the product of "failed policy"?

On this blog you are free to express your opinions, but you are not free to abuse the comment policy.

"This is a moderated blog. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our Department and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain vulgar or abusive language; personal attacks of any kind; or offensive terms that target specific ethnic or racial groups. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly “off topic” or that promote services or products. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted."

Why your last post was posted is only because someone wasn't doing their job to keep the peace.

EJ

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
March 8, 2012

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ John in Greece,

Re; "Nobody likes wars..."

I must repectfully disagree with this generality as the history of dictators would indicate otherwise, and many seems to revel in the abuse of their citizens therby, or come onto a blog and pick fights with weaponized rhetoric that only appeals to a smal minority of idiots who flounder in misunderstanding of policy intent.

A real bad case of the "Me-me's" in expressesed self rightiousness, not unlike that of ayatollahs who chant "death to America" every Friday at prayers.

We once we're talking about what it means to be American long ago in some long forgotten archived Dipnote thread, and I think we came to a general understanding (if I recall correctly), that being "American" was an attitude, not neccessarily a gift of citizenship given by birthplace. Although it can be considered such as well.

That the values we hold dear expessed in the attitude that created our founding documents, specificly- "Give me liberty or give me death" are universally manifest upon the world stage today.

You asked me if I thought the Arab Spring would become a bloodbath on another thread.

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Why does everything have to be in crisis in order for freedom to develop as a desirable trait among governments?

"5- The cost of repression far exceeds the price of good governance"

Well Ron hit that nail on the head with that.

But it's not about the money, or a pound of flesh, it's about personal ego and pride.

And I've just answered my own question...

Thing is it's not America's crisis. Yet we both as a people and as a government are not disinterested parties being witnesss to it.

This isn't about who leads or who doesn't, it's about the people's ability to determine who does.

We're spoiled here in America, we get to do this every two years or so and we today find ourselves in a state of perpetual revolution as the status quo gets barely dry behind the ears before someone decides it's time to try and change it.

Or ink barely dry on on legistlation before the motion is put on the floor of the House to repeal it.

"We take these truths to be self evident." in that our society has become more representive of the will of its direction when the path becomes unclear and a new one must be cut.

Why then are we suprised or call it a crisis when the people of other nations find their will to enact changes they need to see for themselves?

Crisis= opportunity over danger, squared to the people's will.

Political probability is an art form, not an exact science.

Very rarely do ego's and pride cater to what's "expected" in the international arena.

While some in the press seem to think they can tip the scales by setting up expectations of a fall from great hights, for ratings purposes..."stay tuned"...there's more where that came from.

So while we're at it, I think folks @ State should take note of Iran's warning to its people not to get any ideas, arresting several premtively to interfere with planned demonstrations.

Ayatollah don't like it.

Stability then, if there's any thing to be taken from this as a "given", is that stablilty becomes all too illusory under totalitarianism and at best stability is temporarily arranged as a construct of well being by governments to placate the people enough to support policies that evoke a more stable, prosperous, and just existance among their populations.

I suppose it's just human nature for a fellow to get his back up and say, hell no I won't go, claiming he's being "pushed".

But if folks want to do comparisons...Mubarak is ameniable to change as "inevitable", wheras Aminutijob wants to deny its existance.

One is looking to leave on good terms with his people, and the other is remaining in power despite the will of the people through repressive force.

"2- There are limits to sovereignty when universal rights are violated."-Ron

"Protection of populations." - UNGA 2005

"diplomacy without teeth is a toothless beggar."-EJ

Need I say more?

Posted on Fri Feb 11, 2011

John P.
|
Greece
March 8, 2012

John P. in Greece writes:

@ Eric in New Mexico

I absolutely agree with your posts! Maybe I did not express my view clear enough;

What I meant is that if we could choose between war and peace in an ideal world, we would certainly choose peace. However, sometimes, it’s impossible to avoid the “gun” way…

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
March 8, 2012

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ John in Greece,

I totally got what you were saying bro...You were very clear and logical in your words, and I agree with you.

A lot of folks (and I've even heard Presidents say "No one wants a war." or "No one likes war."), and in an ideal world no one would...you are certainly not alone and among good company in stating the generalization.

In a culinary converse metaphor it would be like saying, "we all screem for ice cream." ...exepting the lactose intolerant of course, who cannot tolerate dairy products...or peaceful democratic existance in the face of protests.

Just a fine point in accuracy I was pointing out in general terms. Democracies obviously think differently from dictatorships.

By the way, I've been trying to remember which thread it was in which you asked me if the Arab Spring would become a bloodshed or not.

Searching but haven't gotten through last year's archives on it.

I was trying to remember my answer to you at the time as my gut tells me it would prove relevant to this topic on Syria.

Do you by any chance recall the topic thread or my answer to you?

In the process of searching however, I ran across this little jem of an idea that might be worth my government's time to consider implementing...(chuckle).

( I'll file this one away in the "I can't believe I wrote this!" chapter of "The Cure for Political Stupidity, and/or How Not to go to War with America -the idiot's guide")

LOL!

---

(excerpt)

So then, we had this "Cash for Clunker" program and I was just wondering whether my government would consider it to be in our national interests to institute another kind of cash for clunker program offered to all who want to trade in their smoking dictator running on three cylinders for a shiny new democracy that gets good mileage?

Works like this in theory; We sieze the dictator's world-wide assets then give the cash back to the people when they hand him over to ICC as scrap to add to the dustbin of history.

We're already encoraging folks in Libya, so I figured while this isn't exactly a cookie cutter aproach, "cash for tyrants" may stand as being a strong generalized incentive for all those seeking liberty, wherever they are.

All done in the name of mental climate change and a sustainable global environment, of course.

Posted on Mon Mar 28, 2011

---

Never ever let it be said that I haven't tried to take a creative approach to crisis in order to resolve it in a peaceful manner...(grin).

Best,

EJ

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