Thursday, February 25, 2010

Syria and Iran defy Obama and Clinton

Last week, President Obama nominated the first U.S.ambassador to Syria in five years.  A few days later the administration lifted the Syria travel advisory.  These benevolent overtures were intended to draw Syria closer to the U.S. and to pull them away from the influence of Iran.  Once again, the President's open handed outreach has resulted in a foreign policy embarassment:
U.S. President Barack Obama's bid to isolate Iran through warmer relations with Syria was thrown into disarray Thursday when the two countries vowed to strengthen their ties.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad appeared with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Damascus to reaffirm his country's support for Iran's nuclear enrichment activities, and declare their shared hatred for Israel.

The joint appearance came just a day after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told a U.S. Senate subcommittee the United States had recently urged Syria to "begin to move away" from Iran.

"I am surprised how they can talk about stability and peace in the Middle East and call on two countries to distance themselves from one another," Assad said of the United States in a televised news conference with Ahmadinejad.

"We need to further reinforce relations if the true objective is stability. We do not want others to give us lessons on our region, our history."

Ahmadinejad called on the United States to "pack up and leave the region," and said "nothing can come between" Syria and Iran. He also used the occasion to rearticulate former predictions of Israel's demise, saying the country was "on the path to disappearing."

"If the Zionist entity wants to repeat its past errors, its death will be inevitable," he said.
One Democrat member of the Congress is not impressed:
A Jewish Democratic U.S. congressman slammed President Obama for reappointing an ambassador to Syria.

New York Rep. Eliot Engel called Obama's appointment last week of Robert Ford a "mistake."

"Unless Syria has agreed to something I am not privy to behind the scenes -- making themselves helpful, ready to take some steps away from Iran, ready to cooperate in the region for peace and stability -- then there is some rationale for the move," Engel told The Jerusalem Post this week. "But short of that, I don’t see any rationale in it at this time."
It seems like placing the cart before the horse to place an ambassador in Damascus and lift a travel advisory while Syria is still on the U.S. State Department's list of State sponsors of terrorism.

1 comment:

  1. That new ambassador must have really made a misstep somewhere to have this honor bestowed on him. Living in Damascus must be very uncomfortable.