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- RNC ‘autopsy’ authors: ‘Tremendous progress’ from a year ago
- Gun control groups turn to private sector to push crackdowns
- Study to test ‘chocolate’ pills for heart health
- Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay arrested for DWI
- Obama, Abbas to meet Monday morning regarding peace talks
- Guinness quits New York’s St. Patrick’s Day parade over gay march prohibition
- RNC goes on offensive with ad buys in 14 targeted states
- Saudi Arabia bans 50 ‘blasphemous’ baby names — like Benjamin
- Jack Daniel’s up in arms at Tenn. push to ‘weaken’ whiskey label
CIVIL WAR IN SYRIA?
The U.S. ambassador in Syria is warning that the widespread peaceful protests against President Bashar Assad could erupt into civil war, while the Syrian Embassy in Washington is howling over charges it is intimidating Syrian dissidents in the United States.
“I worry a great deal when people say that sectarian civil war can’t happen here,” he told Washington reporters in an Internet news conference from the Syrian capital, Damascus.
“It reminds me of what I heard in Iraq in 2004,” he added.
The ambassador also warned Syrian demonstrators against taking up arms because of the strength of Syrian security forces, which already have killed as many as 3,000 protesters, according to new U.N. report.
“The reality is that Syrian forces are very strong,” he told reporters, who gathered at the Washington Institute for Near East Studies to participate in the news conference.
“There is not an armed opposition capable” of confronting the Syrian police and army, he said.
The embassy has accused “individuals and the media” of spreading “lies and distortions,” and denounced Amnesty International for reporting on what one activist described as “patterns of repression” against Syrian dissidents in the United States, Canada, France, Britain and other countries.
However, Alex Neve, secretary-general of Amnesty International Canada, said the human rights group has documented accounts of Syrian dissidents being “singled out for threats, attacks and reprisals” from Syrian diplomats and from Syria’s Mukhabarat intelligence service.
In London, Foreign Secretary William Hague summoned Syrian Ambassador Sami Khiyami to the Foreign Office last week to warn him to stop intimidating Syrians in Britain.
Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:
• Adm. Nirmal Verma, chairman of India’s Chiefs of Staff Committee, who meets with Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, at the Pentagon.
c Defense Minister Ignazio La Russa of Italy, who meets with Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta at the Pentagon.
• Vikram Mehta, chairman of the Shell Group of Companies in India, who addresses the Centers for Strategic and International Studies.
• Mamadamin Mamadaminov, Tajikistan’s minister of labor and social protection, who discusses the challenges facing his nation at a briefing at the School for Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.
• Gergely Prohle, Hungary’s deputy state secretary for foreign affairs, who commemorates the 55th anniversary of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution at a reception at the Hungarian Embassy.
• Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297 or email jmorrisonwashingtontimes.com. The column is published on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
James Morrison joined the The Washington Times in 1983 as a local reporter covering Alexandria, Va. A year later, he was assigned to open a Times bureau in Canada. From 1987 to 1989, Mr. Morrison was The Washington Times reporter in London, covering Britain, Western Europe and NATO issues. After returning to Washington, he served as an assistant foreign editor ...
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