March 3, 2013 |
BEIRUT - Syrian rebels must give up their weapons before the government will agree to hold peace talks with them, Syrian President Bashar Assad said in a newspaper interview published Sunday. "We are willing to negotiate with anyone, including militants who surrender their arms," Assad told Britain's Sunday Times in a rare interview with a Western publication. "We can engage in dialogue with the opposition, but we cannot engage in dialogue with terrorists. We fight terrorism. " Assad's government routinely refers to the Syrian rebels as terrorists.
May 18, 2011 |
The Obama administration imposed sanctions on Syrian President Bashar Assad and six other officials for human-rights abuses for cracking down on pro-democracy protesters, the White House announced Wednesday. The sanctions come a day before Obama is to address the nation on U.S. policy in the Middle East, where a wave of protests have deposed at least two governments and rattled leaders in several others in the region. The demonstrations have led to a civil war in Libya and fierce repression in Syria.
September 15, 2012 |
BEIRUT - - Pope Benedict XVI called on Christians and Muslims on Saturday to forge a common front against warfare, even as battles raged in neighboring Syria and the new U.N. peace envoy to that country conceded that the situation there was deteriorating. “It is time for Muslims and Christians to come together so as to put an end to violence and war,” Benedict, 85, told an enthusiastic youth gathering on the second day of his three-day visit to Lebanon. The pontiff spoke directly to young Syrians who were in attendance, singling them out for praise.
June 15, 2012 |
During his presidency, George W. Bush said plenty of goofy things inadvertently, but the dumbest thing he ever said on purpose was his claim to have looked into the soul of Vladimir Putin. If he had truly gotten a glimpse into that dark, grim place, he would have not come away content and smiling. Putin is letting his Russian soul show through quite openly these days, particularly with his support of Syrian President Bashar Assad's brutal crackdown on opponents of his regime. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton complained this week that the Russians were sending helicopter gunships to Syria, a step that would "escalate the conflict quite dramatically.
January 4, 2004
Re "Banned Arms Flowed Into Iraq Through Syrian Firm," Dec. 30: Kudos to reporters Jeffrey Fleishman and Bob Drogin for their incredible expose of the Syrian arms suppliers to Iraq. Perhaps their digging around and pressing Syrian officials in recent months can explain Syrian President Bashar Assad's sudden and surprising call last month to renew peace talks with Israel. Faced with a public relations disaster, did Assad jump to preempt? Lenny Ben-David Washington Re "The U.S. Winked at Hussein's Evil," Commentary, Dec. 30: The U.S. was no more cynical allying itself with Saddam Hussein against the Iranians than when we allied ourselves with Josef Stalin against the Nazis during World War II. Stalin was Hussein's role model, so why hasn't Robert Scheer impugned Franklin Roosevelt's reputation by attributing cynicism or hypocrisy to the Democratic architects of a foreign policy that gave us 45 years of "blowback" during the Cold War?
July 3, 2012
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is putting a positive spin on a new peace plan for Syria agreed to over the weekend in Geneva by the Syria Action Group, which comprises the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council as well as Turkey and Arab representatives. We hope her optimism is justified, but Russia continues to send maddeningly mixed signals about whether it recognizes that the time has come for Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down. Already a humanitarian tragedy, the civil war in Syria now threatens to spill into international conflict.
April 1, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - U.S. intelligence agencies don't see signs that Syrian President Bashar Assad is losing his grip on power, said the chairman of the House intelligence committee during a television interview Sunday. “We don't see Assad's inner circle crumbling,” said Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on CNN's "State of the Union" with Candy Crowley. In fact, the Syrian leadership believes they are “winning” against the armed rebels trying to topple the government, said Rogers, citing U.S. intelligence reports.
January 8, 2013 |
TEHRAN - Iranian officials again threw their support to Syrian President Bashar Assad on Tuesday, backing the peace plans the embattled Assad laid out in a rare televised speech. While European leaders dismissed the speech as nothing new and the U.S. State Department panned the Sunday address as “detached from reality," Iranian officials and some pundits said just the opposite. The ideas raised by Assad are “based on the realities in the Arab state,” Hossein Naqavi-Hosseini, spokesman for an Iranian parliamentary committee on foreign policy, was quoted as telling the official Islamic Republic News Agency on Tuesday. Iranian foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi also praised the plan laid out by Assad to end Syria's 21-month-old civil war, saying it “rejects violence and terrorism and any foreign interference in the country and outlines a future for the country ... through a comprehensive political process," state media reported Monday.
January 23, 2013 |
MOSCOW - Russian evacuees from war-torn Syria, mostly women and children with worried eyes, emerged Wednesday from two government airplanes into the predawn chill of the Moscow winter. Several spoke of the mounting hardships in their adopted country - and of an uncertain fate in a motherland they have not known for years. Many of the 77 evacuees had departed Russia a decade or more ago after marrying Syrian men who had gone to Russia to study or work and then returned home with loved ones.
May 18, 2011 |
A former Seattle journalist, who disappeared 19 days ago after traveling to Syria on an assignment for Al Jazeera television, arrived safely in Qatar on Wednesday, the news channel said. Dorothy Parvaz, a 39-year-old holder of American, Canadian and Iranian citizenship, arrived at the Arabian Peninsula home of Al Jazeera, on a flight from Iran after being out of touch for nearly three weeks, the station said. "She has been in contact with her family, and we are with her now to find out more about her ordeal over the last 19 days," a statement quoted an unnamed Al Jazeera representative as saying.