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Syrian President Bashar Assad

NATIONAL
June 15, 2012 | By David Horsey
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.
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WORLD
February 18, 2013 | By Patrick J. McDonnell
BEIRUT - The situation in war-ravaged Syria “is deteriorating rapidly” and both sides have committed crimes against humanity  in an “increasingly sectarian” conflict that threatens peace throughout the Middle East, a United Nations-commissioned inquiry said Monday. “The destructive dynamics of the civil war not only have an impact on the civilian population but are also tearing apart the country's complex social fabric, jeopardizing future generations and undermining peace and security in the entire region,” the report said.
WORLD
May 28, 2013 | By Patrick J. McDonnell
BEIRUT -- Gunmen killed three Lebanese soldiers near the Syrian border early Tuesday, Lebanese authorities said, the latest apparent instance of cross-over violence from the conflict in neighboring Syria. Fears are running high that Syria's civil war could destabilize Lebanon, which shares a long and porous border with Syria and has close cultural and political ties to its bigger neighbor. The killings come two days after a pair of rockets struck a southern neighborhood of Beirut, injuring four people.
WORLD
September 15, 2012 | By Patrick J. McDonnell
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.
NATIONAL
October 19, 2011 | By Alexa Vaughn, Washington Bureau
A federal magistrate ordered the release on home detention Tuesday of a Syrian-born U.S. citizen the FBI says has been spying on Syrian dissidents in the United States with intentions of harming them, saying that the prosecution had not established that he had committed a crime. U.S. Magistrate Judge T. Rawles Jones Jr. said that the prosecution had proved only that Mohamad "Alex" Soueid had filmed protests and shared the films with Syrian government officials, which is not illegal, and that he did not seem to be a threat to flee.
WORLD
March 14, 2013 | By Patrick J. McDonnell
BEIRUT -- Any government considering arming Syrian rebels should conduct  a “rigorous human-rights risk assessment” before  proceeding with weapons transfers, Amnesty International said Thursday. The group released a pair of  studies detailing abuses by both sides in the Syrian conflict. Amnesty's caveat about arms transfers comes as at least two Western governments, Britain and France, are said to be contemplating providing weapons to rebels seeking to oust Syrian President Bashar Assad.
WORLD
July 28, 2011 | By Paul Richter, Los Angeles Times
Senior State Department officials came under tough questioning from lawmakers Wednesday over the Obama administration's reluctance to call for Syrian President Bashar Assad's departure. Despite the Assad government's bloody crackdown on demonstrators, U.S. officials have shied away from calling directly for his ouster. They worry that the United States would end up looking weak if Assad managed to hang on in the face of popular pressure. And with American leverage limited in Syria, they also have been reluctant to raise expectations about what the administration might be prepared to do to unseat the regime.
OPINION
September 5, 2012
Dismay over the continued violence in Syria is understandable and should impel the United States, other "friends of Syria" and the United Nations to support relief measures including, if necessary, the creation of safe havens for refugees. But the Obama administration is right to stop short of either arming Syrian rebels - who, according to U.S. intelligence officials, have been infiltrated by Islamic extremists from outside the country - or engaging in direct military intervention. Advocates of military involvement exaggerate the ease with which the U.S. could shape events in Syria and underestimate the dangers.
OPINION
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?
WORLD
February 14, 2012 | By Patrick J. McDonnell, Los Angeles Times
A request by Arab foreign ministers that a joint Arab-U.N. peacekeeping team be dispatched to Syria met little international enthusiasm Monday as the death toll mounted in the battleground city of Homs and elsewhere. In Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters that the continued violence in Syria rendered the idea of a peacekeeping mission somewhat premature, but that his nation was studying the Arab League proposal. Such missions "need first to have a peace to support," Lavrov told reporters at a news conference in the Russian capital.
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