- Greenpeace video warns that climate change is wrecking Santa’s home
- Herman Cain profiled in ‘Political Power’ comic book
- Hagel renews Qatar defense pact despite differences over Iran, Syria
- Fire departments fear Obamacare will gut volunteer ranks
- Rep. Alan Grayson loses $18M in stock scheme
- Christmas secularists get 6-foot beer-can Festivus pole at Florida Statehouse
- George Zimmerman’s girlfriend flips on assault: Let ‘my boyfriend’ go
- Lululemon Athletica chairman quits after firestorm over his fat-thighs comment
- CBS’ beleaguered Lara Logan gets a cheerleader — Dan Rather
- Jesus tops list as most significant figure in history; Mohammed at 4th
U.S. Syria policy a tacit nod to Assad’s firm grip
In a meeting in Beijing with his Chinese counterpart, Yang Jiechi, Moallem said the Syrian government would “honor and implement” its commitment to withdraw the army from cities and would cooperate with United Nations observers arriving in the country.
The U.N. insists the fragile truce is holding even though regime forces have been hammering Homs with artillery for days.
The Obama administration recently signed off on $12 million in enhanced communications, medical and other assistance to the opposition, but it is unclear what goods are making their way into Syria and by what means.
International sanctions on Assad’s regime have depleted its foreign currency reserves by half — and Damascus is actively trying to evade them, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said Tuesday as he opened a Paris meeting of some 57 countries, including Arab League states, to reinforce sanctions and denounce Assad. Clinton will attend a smaller gathering of “core” nations addressing the Syrian problem, also in Paris, diplomats said.
At a larger gathering two weeks ago, Saudi Arabia and other wealthy Arab states pledged donations from a multimillion-dollar fund designed to prop up Syrian rebels and entice defections from Assad’s army. Washington seized on the plan as a path forward even though the U.S. disagrees with Arab states that want to give weapons to the badly outgunned rebels.
Syrian opposition members and international officials say no money has been sent yet, in part because the Arab governments stepped into a logistical thicket when they began trying to figure out how to route the money to the right people.
There’s no way to monitor where the money goes as the country veers toward civil war. Because the rebels hold no territory and struggle even to maintain communications inside and outside Syria, there is no clear way to deliver the money.
The U.S. and other nations have tried a variety of ways to get Assad to ease a crackdown on antigovernment demonstrators inspired by last year’s Arab revolutions. The U.S. has long since given up hope that Assad would negotiate with protesters and peacefully give up power. But from the start last year, the U.S. rejected any call for a direct military response like the one mounted a year ago in Libya.
The reasons are simple and, like the current U.S. stance, they reflect the reality of Assad’s entrenched family dynasty.
Syria’s military is vastly more powerful and better-equipped than Libya’s was and is arrayed throughout cities and towns. Any air assault by the U.S. or other outsiders would probably kill many civilians.
The assault would have to be broad and sustained to knock out Syria’s heavy artillery and other defenses. That indicates a longer and far more expensive operation than the one in Libya, which was undertaken with NATO help.
Despite widespread disgust and anger at Assad, there is no international mandate for forcibly removing him. Syria was never the outcast that Libya under Moammar Gadhafi became, and it maintained trading and diplomatic relationships around the globe.
European countries are unlikely to get militarily involved without the United States, and Turkey has backed off from talk of creating buffer zones along the Syrian border. Any foreign military action could provoke anger from Russia and China, and open hostility from Iran, whose personnel have actively supported Assad’s government.
Russia and China have twice shielded Syria from U.N. sanctions over the crackdown.
By Tom Fitton
New photos confirm the attack's coordination and its cover-up
- American bourbon now better than Scottish whiskey: U.K.-born expert
- FITTON: A closer look at the Benghazi lie
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- Obama shakes hands with Cuba's Raul Castro at Nelson Mandela's funeral
- Israeli P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu backs out of Nelson Mandela funeral
- Troops forced to rely on welfare, holiday charity
- Oregon fails to sign up single person on health care website as states struggle
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
- George Zimmermans girlfriend flips on assault: Let my boyfriend go
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
The cold hard truth about politics in America today and the state of this once great nation.
The world impacts us. What happens in our towns, cities, states, country and on this planet makes a difference to us.
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
Politics, economics, and business from a real world perspective.
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow