- Running on empty: EPA slashes biofuel goals because of ethanol shortage
- ‘Gay Jeans’ that fade into rainbow-colored denim created
- Divided court strikes down big porn award
- Jimmy Carter: Don’t hurt Russian people with sanctions
- Oldest ex-MLB player dies in Cuba, 2 days shy of 103rd birthday
- ‘Top Gun’ for drones: Squadrons of carrier-based killers have Navy’s approval
- Bill Clinton to endorse Charlie Rangel for re-election
- Pfc. Bradley Manning is now Pfc. Chelsea Manning: Court says so
- Secret base U.S. special forces used to train Libyans now under terrorist control: report
- 9th suspect in N.C. kidnapping turns self in to FBI
U.S. warns of Syria action, seeks transition plan
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is warning Syria that U.N. sanctions may be near, as Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton heads Wednesday to Turkey to talk strategy with America’s allies and look for a way to win Russia’s support for a transition plan ending the Assad regime.
Russia and China, however, who have blocked such sanctions before, issued a joint statement reiterating their opposition to any imposing of “regime change” in the violence-wracked country, where some 13,000 people have died in more than a year of uprisings against President Bashar Assad’s leadership and a brutal government crackdown on the opposition.
The warning was delivered by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who called for the world to exert “maximum financial pressure” on Assad’s government. He argued that “strong sanctions can help hasten the day the Assad regime relinquishes power,” but acknowledged that financial and diplomatic penalties alone cannot bring the needed political change.
In remarks Geithner planned to deliver to a Friends of Syria group, he said that unless Syria demonstrates “meaningful compliance” with U.N. efforts to end the violence, the U.S. and other countries will “soon join in taking appropriate actions against the Syrian regime, including, if necessary, Chapter 7 action in the U.N. Security Council.” A Chapter 7 resolution authorizes actions that can ultimately include the use of military force, which administration officials — for now — are playing down as a possibility.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Hu Jintao wrapped up a summit and issued a statement essentially saying “no dice” to U.N. sanctions.
“China and Russia strongly oppose any attempt to address the Syria crisis with military interference from the outside or forcefully impose a regime change in the insurgency-ridden country,” the official Xinhua News Agency reported.
“It’s time for all of us to turn our attention to an orderly transition of power in Syria that would pave the way for democratic, tolerant, pluralistic future,” Clinton told reporters before leaving Azerbaijan for Turkey.
“All options with regard to Syria are being discussed,” press secretary Jay Carney told reporters traveling with Obama for political fundraising on the West Coast.
“We are constantly looking for ways to work with our international partners to further isolate and pressure Assad to get him to cease the brutal campaign against the Syrian people and to allow for the political transition that’s already under way to be completed,” he said.
Despite widespread international condemnation of its actions, Syria’s government has survived through a combination of brutal repression and the political backing of Moscow. Along with China, Russia has twice blocked U.N. condemnations and punitive actions against the regime.
Looking for a way forward, Clinton is meeting Wednesday evening in Istanbul with like-minded European, Turkish and Arab officials hoping to advance a political transition strategy. The latest talk has focused on a plan such as the one agreed to last year by Yemen’s former dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh, whose resignation allowed his vice president to form a caretaker interim government.
But Assad has balked at such proposals, and the U.S. and its allies have yet to persuade the Kremlin to drop its support for the Syrian leader.
TWT Video Picks
By Andrew P. Napolitano
Obama's veil of secrecy is pierced
- 'Top Gun' for drones: Squadrons of carrier-based killers have Navy's approval
- Pentagon plans to replace flight crews with 'full-time' robots
- America is an oligarchy, not a democracy or republic, university study finds
- Obama avoids 'red line' for China, prepared to impose tougher sanctions on Russia
- Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy hailed as patriot, ripped as lawless deadbeat
- Texas is next! AG warns BLM wants 90,000 acres after Bundy ranch standoff
- Russian bombers buzz U.K. airspace; jets scrambled to chase off 'Bears'
- Kansas will nullify local regulation of guns
- ISTOOK: Obama's sleight of hand hides hidden government's work
- CARSON: When government looks more like foe than friend
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Celebrity deaths in 2014