Obama's response to attack on US embassy in Damascus: He's going to file a lawsuit
In an earlier post, I reported on attacks on the American and French embassies in Damascus by pro-Assad 'demonstrators.' I now have some updates on that post.
The US State Department on Monday formally condemned Syria for failing to protect the US embassy complex in Damascus from a violent assault it said was encouraged by a pro-government Syrian television station.So what does the world's only superpower do? Send in the Marines to get the ambassador out and protect the embassy grounds? Not in the age of Obama. In the age of Obama the US threatens... to file a lawsuit.
"A television station that is heavily influenced by Syrian authorities encouraged this violent demonstration," a State Department spokesperson said in a statement."
"We strongly condemn the Syrian government's refusal to protect our embassy, and demand compensation for damages. We call on the Syrian government to fulfill its obligations to its own citizens as well," the statement said.Spoke on condition of anonymity? The Secretary of State hasn't got the junk to stand up there and say we're withdrawing our ambassador and instead a low-level functionary speaking on condition of anonymity is trotted out to threaten to summon the Syrian Charge d'Affaires?!?
"We are calling in the Syrian charge [d'affaires] to complain," said the US official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
"We feel they failed [in their responsibility to protect US diplomats]. We are going to condemn their slow response."
What happened to Teddy Roosevelt's 'speak softly and carry a big stick'? It looks like it's been replaced by Jimmy Carter's helicopter crash in the desert. Is this how Reagan would have responded? Is this how Bush II would have responded? Of course not. We would have seen Shock and Awe on all of Assad's palaces. Instead, Obama is going to file a lawsuit demanding compensation. What could go wrong?
Barry Rubin adds:
The French guards fired into the air, wounding two, and the demonstrators stopped. Three French embassy workers were injured. At the U.S. embassy while Syrian guards fired teargas, the U.S. Marines didn’t fire and the mob surged into the embassy breaking windows and wrecking at least part of the building for two and a half hours as Syrian security forces stood by.And what will Obama do about it?
Those are the basic facts. The question is: what does this mean and what will the Obama Administration do about it.
It should immediately drop the policy it has been following, lose its illusions, and return to a tough stance. A tough stance will not change the Syrian regime’s mind but it might help change the Syrian regime. Moreover, the soft policy makes things even worse.And he'll file a lawsuit Barry. He'll file a lawsuit! (Barry and I know each other - if he sees this, he might get a kick out of it).
The attack on the embassy was a response to very mild U.S. criticisms and the visit of the U.S. ambassador to Hama. A Western-style regime, even a dictatorship, would say: Great! The Americans are leaving us alone except for a few gestures and meaningless statements. Let’s play along with them.
But this is the Middle East and the Syrian regime demands of the United States and France what it also demands from its own people: total support or they get bludgeoned into submission.
Unfortunately, the Obama Administration is likely to do nothing and learn nothing. There will be harsh words and much stamping on the floor. But recognize that the Syrian regime is an enemy and act accordingly (and I am NOT repeat NOT talking about military responses)? Not going to happen.
Read the whole thing.
UPDATE 10:08 PM
Israel Radio cites an eyewitness from the neighborhood in Damascus in which the US embassy is located who claims that four busloads of Alawites were bussed in from Tartus to attack the US embassy and that they used clubs to break down the doors.
Why were the Marines told to hold their fire (as Barry Rubin reported)?