Travel Diary: Secretary Clinton Attends Meeting of the Friends of the Syrian People in France

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
July 7, 2012

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In Paris on July 6, 2012, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton attended the third meeting of the Friends of the Syrian People. At that meeting, Secretary Clinton consulted with her colleagues on steps to increase pressure on the Assad regime and to support UN-Arab League Special Envoy Kofi Annan's efforts to end the violence and facilitate a political transition to a post-Assad Syria. In a press availability following the meeting, Secretary Clinton said:

"Today the international community sent a clear and unified message: The violence in Syria must stop, a democratic transition must start, and Assad must go. Last week in Geneva, all five permanent members of the UN Security Council and other key players agreed to Kofi Annan's plan that Assad transfer full executive authority to a transitional governing body that is broadly inclusive and chosen by mutual consent, which means the opposition has a veto on its membership. Here in Paris, more than one hundred nations and organizations endorsed that plan and dispelled any doubt about Assad's role in a transition. He has none."

While in France, Secretary Clinton consulted with French leaders regarding next steps on Syria as well as on a number of other key areas of global concern. As part of her ongoing consultations with senior Palestinian and Israeli leaders, the Secretary also met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to discuss both parties' efforts to pursue a dialogue and build on President Abbas' exchange of letters with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Secretary Clinton is on travel to France, Afghanistan, Japan, Mongolia, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Egypt, and Israel. You can follow her trip on



New Mexico, USA
July 10, 2012

Eric in New Mexico writes:

(from the daily state dept briefing -June 9th)

MR. VENTRELL: All right. Go ahead, Said. One more on Syria.

QUESTION: Yesterday, Secretary – I’m sorry – Senator McCain called your performance on Syria thus far as disgraceful and shameful. Do you have any response to that?

MR. VENTRELL: We’re doing everything we can to stop this violence.


While I strongly disagree with Sen. McCain having closly observed everything the US had done since this crisis developed, I also strongly disagree with the spokesperson's assesment that folks everything they can to stop the violence...within the US dept of State folks are for question a massive diplomatic effort has been made thus far to end the violence.

But "everything" in this context used in reply is actually a really large basket of tools and tricks, methodology and applied use of national power on a multi-agency basis.

Including the use of force.

So no, it cannot be said that we've exausted options and there's nothing more the US can do to stop Assad from killing his people than what is being done at this particicular moment, as the spokesman's statement implies.


New Mexico, USA
July 11, 2012

Eric in New Mexico writes:

With all apologies to the readers, I must remind myself never to try to edit my own comment before I've finished my morning coffee, as I seemed to have seroiusly mangled the English language once again in my previous post..(sigh).

So I beg pardons and try to re-phrase the thought a little better.

First off, I strongly disagree with the Senator on the subject of arming the Syrian opposition , not because of some political reason or because I don't believe the Syrian people have the right to defend themselves or deserve our help in every strategicly sound manner possible, but that is not sound thinking and the US government's position of not providing "lethal aid", but just about everything else other than that, is a proper and ethical position for at least two reasons, but my biggest concern is having a whole lot of weapons in the hands of a whole bunch of people using them against each other in a country that has the largest stockpile of chemical weapons in the region...period.

And this is the reason that at some point the Syrian people will not have a choice in the matter, that the international community, or those willing, must physicly intervene in order to prevent the release or transfer of or use of those WMD's by anyone.

So I think the Senator is wrong in this particular case, but for the right reasons as under different threat assesment being made, we might have a different policy.

But one thing the Senator might want to reflect upon since the Russians arm Assad; That if we, the USA, arm the opposition, looks for all intents and purposes like Russia and the US are waging a proxi-war against each other.

And I know that's not a good place to go...bein' that both our nations have "been there, done that".

And round and round the merry-go-round we go?

I flat don't think so.

Now it's about time Assad got bagged, gagged, tossed in a rubber room, the door locked, the key broken off in the lock, weld the door shut,... and then and only then can the world move on from this towards peace and leave him there to rot; kicking him a plate of food through a slot in the door once a day, and putting him on live web-cam globally as a vivid reminder to all wanabe tyrants..."This could be you, next." and make a proper example of the man.

As it looks more and more everyday that we're going to have to do this the hard way, as nations seeking long term peace, stability, and progress on the road to freedom from fear, want, poverty, and famine. And I include Russia and China in that because if it ain't in their interests to persue this course, then they dishonor the assistance that the US gave to them when their nations were subject to occupation and tyrany and we should ask them to reflect on the fact that they don't want to find themselves on the wrong side of not just "history" , but on the wrong side of's national karma in this case.

Not to get metaphisical on folks, but what goes around, comes around.

It just is the way things are in the universe, and this applies to international relations just as surely as it does to every individual on this planet.

Cannot see Annan having any joy from Damascus, in search of a peaceful transition...

Assad's singing the tired old song of dictators in their last days..."Hell no, I won't go!" like a true die-hard draft-dodger of reality.

Hard at work making up the minds of all concerned, as to what becomes appropriate "next steps".

I can't see as how it serves the best interests of the public understanding to tell the press that "everything" is being done, and I don't think that needs further clarification here.

Best to all concerned,


New Mexico, USA
July 16, 2012

Eric in New Mexico writes:

News item;

Headline should have read, "Welcome to your worst nightmare."""

In case folks thought I was dreaming...

"Pentagon spokesman George Little said Friday that any use of chemical weapons by Syria would be a red line for the international community. Syrian troops were in control of the chemical weapons stockpiles, Little said.

The State Department spokeswoman said Syria's government needs to ensure protection of its weapons stash.

"We have repeatedly made it clear that the Syrian government has a responsibility to safeguard its stockpiles of chemical weapons, and that the international community will hold accountable any Syrian officials who fail to meet that obligation," said Victoria Nuland, the State Department spokeswoman."

(end excerpt)

I gotta ask at this point, "Are you folks absolutely nuts?"

No disrespect intended...but Forest Gump was right.

Here's why;

a) Don't tell me you folks are willing to allow Assad to use these weapons before you decide to do something kinetic about this. You wanna hold folks accountable after the fact? Instead of pre-empting genocidal intent?

B) Reminding Assad of his international obligations at this point is pointless, as he so obviously doesn't give a damn about complying with anything the international community tells him is required of a responsible leader.

c) You don't have any time left to seek a diplomatic solution.

d) The idea that one could "monitor" these weapons, knowing they were in the hands of those committing atrocities and thinking you could trust the Assad regime to abide by its international obligations to not use them in its final desperate hours and days in power is at this point proven to be virtually "criminally insane"; and if used, you can blame yourselves for allowing WMD's to be used on this President's watch! Never mind holding Assad accountable.

"Diplomacy without teeth is a toothless beggar." I've said this before and you'all need reminding again apparently, as Annan is finding out why this premis is just a "given".

One could hope the Russians told Assad to move the stockpiles to their naval base for pickup to remove them from Syrian territory, which would be slim hope indeed.


Hayden said it is hard to believe al-Assad's government would use the weapons against its own people.

"Right now they are on the outer edges of being an international outlaw, beyond the edges. And the use of chemical weapons would seem to me to make any opposition to a more active intervention in Syria impossible, even for the Russians, even for the Chinese," Hayden said. "I'm far more concerned about loss of control of the weapons and what happens when the chaos that seems to be affecting larger society might touch upon some of these weapon stockpiles."


Lest folks have a "failure of imagination" and I be remis in allowing them to take any comfort in illusions; I would suggest to one and all that you have ample proof by Assad's actions that he is perfectly capable of using these WMD's on his own people, or other states in the region. In fact you have no rational basis to "find it hard to believe" he would use them.

On top of everything else, the DOD and the entire US gov. cannot bring themselves to tell the American public exactly what you know about this situation, including sat photos and a proper risk assesment in order to prep the American people and the world's populations for what may be expected to come in order to deal with this threat effectively, as well as the concequences of failure by the international community to do so.

Frankly, Assad has already crossed so many "red-lines" that you'all sound pretty silly talking about them as "absolutes".

As all the "could-haves", "should-haves", and "might-have-beens" will serve as shameful legacy to international diplomacy if you continue to delude yourselves and fail to see the writing on the wall.

I've said long ago many times that the war we've waged against terror and their sponsors is essentially one of "the sane vs. the insane" and as I watch the sane fighting amongst themselves as to the merits of "regime replacement therapy" in Syria, I'm kind of wondering right about now if there's anyone sane left to be able to see the world through this bloody mess?

As harsh as this sounds, it's your own damned fault for making this citizen wonder.

So I expect and demand an answer to this question, and am forced to remind my government that you folks work for us, the citizens;

"How does the world realize its true self when battleships give way to sailboats?"

And that's everyone's Koan for the 21st century...



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