Our Man in Damascus | The Middle East Channel   Leave a comment

Kudos to a high level Diplomat for the approach and the insight in Syria’s political fight.

 

For now, he sees his role as doing what he can to open political space for the Syrian people to push their own demands for political freedoms, restraints on an unaccountable and anachronistic security apparatus, and a meaningful political transition. The United States, he emphasizes, is not supporting any specific Syrian opposition movement or personality. Nor is it endorsing a specific transition plan, a move which he believes would reproduce the mistakes made by the Bush administration in Iraq in 2004. The process “has to move at Syrian speed, not at a speed set in Washington, London or Brussels.”

His emphasis on the role of the Syrian people and on multilateral action reflects the general approach of the Obama administration to this year’s Arab upheavals. Ford refused to put the United States at the center of what is fundamentally a Syrian uprising for political rights, or to substitute an American transition plan for the ideas developed by the Syrian opposition itself. He refuses, wisely in my view, to make an Arab story about America — even as he works tirelessly behind the scenes to construct effective action in support of popular demands. “This is a Syrian decision, not an American one. We will certainly encourage the Syrian people to demand their rights.” That includes continuing to work multilaterally with Europeans and with Syria’s neighbors, to coordinate targeted sanctions on people in the regime responsible for repression, and to push the Security Council to take on the issue.

The goal is to create a “space for genuine politics and free expression without the threat of violence.” That remains an ambiguous and even murky endpoint in an increasingly violent and polarized environment. While he declined to answer the question of whether such an outcome was possible with the Asad regime in power, it is difficult at this point to see how it could be. That decision will ultimately be one for the Syrian people, not for the United States, Ford repeatedly stressed. But as the Obama administration’s rhetoric sharpens and actions follow suit, it may become more and more difficult to maintain that balance.

via Our Man in Damascus | The Middle East Channel.

Advertisements

Posted July 14, 2011 by arnoneumann in Syria

Tagged with

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: