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.
February 18, 2013 |
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.
July 24, 2006
Re "It's time to let the Israelis take off the gloves," Opinion, July 19 How dare Max Boot speak with such heartlessness about the killing of human beings? He writes: "Israel needs to hit the Assad regime. Hard." How does one "hit" a regime? Oh, he must mean drop bombs on Damascus. But we all know Syrian President Bashar Assad and his high-level cronies won't suffer, and neither, of course, will Boot, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert or President Bush. Women and children will die. Soldiers who joined up out of economic desperation will die. Pets and livestock will die. Apartments and businesses will be destroyed.
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.
March 14, 2013 |
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.
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.
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?
August 22, 2008 |
Fears that Russia might sell advanced weaponry to Syria kicked up a mini-storm of concern in Israel on Thursday. Syrian President Bashar Assad, in Russia for talks with President Dmitry Medvedev, has been campaigning to acquire weapons systems that include long-range surface-to-surface missiles, according to Russian media reports. The news of Assad's reported ambitions prompted immediate hand-wringing among Israeli officials and analysts. Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Israel was "analyzing the ramifications" of Assad's visit.
November 15, 2012 |
BEIRUT -- Turkey on Thursday became the latest nation to recognize the newly created Syrian opposition coalition as the “legitimate representative of the Syrian people,” and the Turkish foreign minister called on other nations to follow suit. Ankara's move comes in the same week that France made a similar declaration, although France went a step further by labeling the opposition bloc the nation's sole legitimate representative. Syrian dissidents are seeking bolstered financial and military aid from allied governments.
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.