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By Barry Rubin
I merely transcribe the lead paragraph in today’s (May 7) Washington Post:
“Syrian troops used heavy machine guns and artillery to quell anti-government demonstrations in the key city of Homs on Friday in a sharp escalation of their crackdown against regime opponents, as tens of thousands of Syrians again defied the threat of bullets and tanks to take to the streets around the country.”
The article goes on to report “pitched battles in several neighborhoods” and 24 deaths due to firing into unarmed crowds of peaceful demonstrators.
What does the White House say? It “condemns and deplores” the violence, mass arrests, and human rights violations. It threatens to “adjust” U.S. policy toward Syria and issues sanctions against a handful of those directly involved in the violence. And it talks vaguely of a “strong” response and urges the Syrian dictatorship to make reforms.
This policy is a national disgrace. I have no doubt that the Obama Administration’s behavior toward the uprising in Syria and Iran will in future be strongly condemned. The exquisite sensitivity toward America’s enemies compared to the harsh treatment of its friends must come to an end.
Aside from everything else consider one simple point that is publicly known beyond any question:
Syria’s government has allied itself and helps in every way terrorists in Iraq who have killed hundreds of Americans. And those terrorists belong to al-Qaida. Remember them? The group until recently headed by Usama bin Laden that carried out the September 11 attacks. This is also the strongest and most significant remaining al-Qaida member group.
There is no excuse for President Obama not to utter six simple words: The Assad dictatorship must go now.