Clinton Outlines Concerns Over Syria Intervention

See also
Update on the Situation in Syria
May 30, 2012

On May 30th, Matthew RJ Brodsky was a guest on The Frank Gaffney Show on Secure Freedom Radio. He discussed the latest situation in Syria in light of the Houla massacre days earlier. He explained the formation of a new terrorist group in Syria, described the main actors in the conflict, and demonstrated how the Obama administration is outsourcing American foreign policy to Russia and Turkey.

By BRADLEY KLAPPER Associated Press

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Thursday laid out the clearest case yet for why the Obama administration is reluctant to intervene militarily in Syria — especially without Russia agreeing to be part of a united Western front — even as it expresses revulsion over last week’s massacre of more than 100 people in the town of Houla.

In Denmark on the first stop of a European tour, Clinton said Russia and China would have to agree before the U.S. and other nations engage in what could become a protracted conflict in support of a disorganized rebel force. And she cited a host of other hurdles to successful military action.

“We’re nowhere near putting together any type of coalition other than to alleviate the suffering,” Clinton told reporters after meeting with top officials in Denmark, a key contributor to last year’s NATO-led mission against Moammar Gadhafi in Libya. “We are working very hard to focus the efforts of those, like Denmark and the United States, who are appalled by what is going on, to win over those who still support the regime, both inside and outside of Syria.”

In remarks to Danish students, Clinton said every day of slaughter in Syria was strengthening the case for tougher international action. But she stressed that such action, including military action, would require support from Syria’s ally, Russia, and the rest of the world community. Russia and China have twice vetoed U.N. Security Council sanctions against President Bashar Assad’s regime.

Russia’s continued support for Assad “is going to help contribute to a civil war,” Clinton warned.

In pointed remarks, she recounted her discussions with Russian officials and criticized Moscow’s rationale for opposing sanctions and other forms of pressure against the Assad government.

“The Russians keep telling us they want to do everything they can to avoid a civil war, because they believe that the violence would be catastrophic,” she said, noting that they are “vociferous in their claim that they are providing a stabilizing influence.

“I reject that,” she said, complaining that in fact, Russia was propping up Assad’s regime. Some 13,000 people have died in 15 months of uprisings.

The calculus doesn’t appear to be changing. Despite joining Western powers earlier this week in condemning the Houla killings, Russia has stood by its opposition to any outside military intervention. Instead, Moscow is urging all sides to focus on U.N. mediator Kofi Annan’s peace plan, which by all accounts has failed to stem the violence.

Clinton threw her support once again behind the U.N. mediation efforts Thursday, despite acknowledging that “thus far Assad has not implemented any of the six points that are part of Kofi Annan’s plan.”

She stressed that U.N. observers have nonetheless performed two important functions.

“In many of the areas where they are present, violence has gone down,” Clinton said. “And they serve as independent observers, the eyes of the world if you will, in reporting back when terrible events like the recent massacre occur. They’ve tried to cut through the clutter and disinformation coming from the Syrian government.”

She spoke as activists reported more shelling in the central Houla area, where 108 people, most of them women and children, were massacred last week.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Local Coordination Committees activist groups said Thursday’s shelling of Houla was mostly by heavy machine guns. Survivors of last week’s Houla massacre blamed pro-regime gunmen for the close-range shooting of civilians in their homes, though the government denied the involvement of its troops.

The Obama administration has called on Assad to step down and clear the way for a political transition. But mindful of a war-weary American public, it has stopped short of advocating direct U.S. military engagement in the country and stressed the need for diplomacy, particularly with Moscow, which continues to sell weapons and provide political support to the Assad regime.

On the first leg of a weeklong trip to Europe, Clinton recited a list of hurdles to armed intervention besides Russian reticence.

She said Assad’s opposition lacks the unity that the anti-Gadhafi camp eventually rallied in Libya. Syria’s professional military and substantial air defenses also would make intervening far more difficult. And whereas in Libya the U.S. was able to count on the support of Gulf countries in monitoring a no-fly zone and carrying out some airstrikes, the Arab League is split on whether military options should be entertained in Syria.

Clinton also warned about the danger of Syria’s unrest spiraling into a larger civil war, which could morph into a proxy war that draws in Iran and other regional powers. She cited Jordanian concerns about its territory, Turkish worries over Kurdish terrorists operating from inside Syria and neighboring Lebanon’s long struggle to emerge from decades of sectarian civil war and political instability.

“We know it could actually get much worse than it is,” Clinton said. “We are trying to prevent that.”

But she said doing nothing wasn’t an option, either.

Clinton said nations must work together to “peel away the regime’s continued support within Syria, while bolstering our assistance to the opposition and isolating the regime diplomatically and economically.”

“There is still a fear among many of the elements of the Syrian society and the Syrian government that, as bad as the Assad regime is, it could get worse,” Clinton said.

May 31, 2012 | 8 Comments »

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8 Comments / 8 Comments

  1. My comment is being moderated. I have yet to see any of my posts acually altered during the “moderation” process. In fact, they’re usually so bland, perhaps they should be put into “intemperatization”.

  2. We weren’t afraid to attack Iraq and Yugoslavia without Russian and Chinese support. In the Yugoslavia campaign, we even “accidentally” bombed the Chinese embassy, just to let them know who’s boss. Clinton is spouting B.S.: the ONLY reason we can’t intervene in Syria, is because Obama doesn’t want to start any wars BEFORE THE ELECTIONS, STUPID!

    Meanwhile, Turkey has come to its senses and switched sides (as I’ve been predicting for a LONG time). Now that they have Syria as, essentially, Turkey Annex, they can attack Israel anytime under any pretense. The prize is the new Israeli offshore energy resources.

    Israel attacking Iran would be a good pretext, one Israel ought to give them. It just makes planning a lot simpler, with Turkey flying its true colors.

    Meanwhile, I keep hearing US defense planners talking about shifting their emphasis to “East Asia”. Yes, it’s Orwell-speak, but it’s right on the money: “NATO (i. e. “Oceania”, the “ocean” being the “North Atlantic”, as in “North Atlantic Treaty Organization”) is at war with East Asia. We have ALWAYS been at war with East Asia, says the “Ministry of Truth”, and allied with Eurasia (aka Russia, which straddles Europe and Asia).

    In fact, there never has been a real war; just a good reason to support a multi-hundred-billion-dollar defense industry. Russia and China alternately rattle swords, on cue, to give us an excuse for another round of expenditure. Meanwhile, the REAL enemy, we are told, the dangerous unseen enemy that holds the world in its grip, is a Jew called Imanuel Zionstein — or so we are told, subliminally, through our telescreens.

    Syria will bleed, as long as Obama wants it to bleed.
    As for Israel, it needs to look out for Israel.

  3. Stalin and Mao together were responsible for the death of more than 110 million souls. We have a long way to go. For the Muslims, China and Russia lives are meaningless.

  4. Putin did not give a sh…t when he invaded Georgia (8/08)! Does anyone remember?
    He must be paid back. But the West is scared sh…t!

  5. @ yamit82:

    The UN exists because it servers American interests period.

    The other way around, because it servers the world who hate us.

    Obama and George Soros love to see a world order, one that diminishes the role of the US as world leader and a defender of freedom.

    We should get the hell out of the UN and kick them the hell out of this country.

    The UN was meant to control the US and our friends since we stand for what they are all against.

    Barry Goldwater was right then and now.

  6. @ Laura:

    Would the UN exist if America left that organization, stopped funding it and kicked it out of NYC and America? There is nothing America cannot get from the UN if it really wanted something. The UN exists because it servers American interests period.


  7. Keep in mind that I am not advocating American military intervention in Syria. However I find it deeply troubling that this administration hinges any American military action on the approval of Russia and China, nations which are diametrically opposed to American interests. Would China and Russia seek our approval before they acted in their own national interests?