Hillary blames it on CongressIt's impossible to look at what's going on in Syria today and not compare it to what's going on in Libya. In Syria, the stakes for the United States are higher, the dictator is equally as brutal and the danger of a doomsday scenario where the leader murders thousands of his own people is much more imminent.
Syria, however, is the more urgent crisis — one that could pose a thorny dilemma for the administration if Mr. Assad carries out a crackdown like that of his father and predecessor, Hafez al-Assad, who ordered a bombardment in 1982 that killed at least 10,000 people in the northern city of Hama. Having intervened in Libya to prevent a wholesale slaughter in Benghazi, some analysts asked, how could the administration not do the same in Syria?And yet the Obama administration cannot let Assad go, cannot recognize him as an enemy of the American people, and will not save his people from his murderous and brutal regime. And for this, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton blames... Congress (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
Though no one is yet talking about a no-fly zone over Syria, Obama administration officials acknowledge the parallels to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi. Some analysts predicted the administration will be cautious in pressing Mr. Assad, not because of any allegiance to him but out of a fear of what could follow him — a Sunni-led government potentially more radical and Islamist than his Alawite minority government.
Still, after the violence, administration officials said Mr. Assad’s future was unclear. “Whatever credibility the government had, they shot it today — literally,” a senior official said about Syria, speaking on the condition that he not be named.
In the process, he said, Mr. Assad had also probably disqualified himself as a peace partner for Israel. Such a prospect had seemed a long shot in any event — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has shown no inclination to talk to Mr. Assad — but the administration kept working at it, sending its special envoy, George J. Mitchell, on several visits to Damascus.
Mr. Assad has said that he wants to negotiate a peace agreement with Israel. But with his population up in arms, analysts said, he might actually have an incentive to pick a fight with its neighbor, if only to deflect attention from the festering problems at home.
“You can’t have a comprehensive peace without Syria,” the administration official said. “It’s definitely in our interest to pursue an agreement, but you can’t do it with a government that has no credibility with its population.”
Indeed, the crackdown calls into question the entire American engagement with Syria. Last June, the State Department organized a delegation from Microsoft, Dell and Cisco Systems to visit Mr. Assad with the message that he could attract more investment if he stopped censoring Facebook and Twitter. While the administration renewed economic sanctions against Syria, it approved export licenses for some civilian aircraft parts.
“No,” Clinton said, when asked on the CBS “Face the Nation” program if the U.S. would intervene in Syria’s unrest. Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s security forces clashed with protesters in several cities yesterday after his promises of freedoms and pay increases failed to prevent dissent from spreading across the country.A reformer? Assad? She expects us to believe that Congress believes Assad is a reformer? When it was Congress that held up the appointment of an ambassador to Syria that Obama wanted?
Clinton said the elements that led to intervention in Libya -- international condemnation, an Arab League call for action, a United Nations Security Council resolution -- are “not going to happen” with Syria, in part because members of the U.S. Congress from both parties say they believe Assad is “a reformer.”
Let's go to the videotape.