Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Obama dodges action against Syria by turning to Turkish leader

President Obama continues to avoid direct action against Bashar Assad's increasingly savage crackdown on dissidents by cultivating a partnership with Turkish Prime Minster Recep Tayyip Erdogan. After talking on the phone early Tuesday April 26, the two leaders voiced "deep concern over the unacceptable use of violence" in Syria and went on to say: "The leaders agreed that the Syrian government must end the use of violence now and promptly enact meaningful reforms that respect the democratic aspirations of Syrian citizens."

There was no condemnation of Bashar Assad, his brother Maher Assad or their use of tank artillery and troops to pound entire city blocks, shoot civilians at random or mass arrests. Early Tuesday, Washington recalled nonessential US embassy staff and diplomats' families from Damascus.

These actions, rather than reining in the Syrian ruler, will have told him he has at another 48-72 hours at least to use the army for polishing off his violent purge of protesters in towns where they have swept up entire districts. In the coming hours, those towns will be condemned to the same fate as the southern city of Daraa, the first to rise up against the Assad regime last month, where Monday, tanks and snipers began massacring the population after shutting down its electricity and telephone communications with the outside world.

According to debkafile's intelligence sources President Obama knew the Syrian ruler was about to deploy his entire army against the protest movement. He could have tried to hold his hand with a stern official warning of serious consequences, even without Erdogan. But the US president chose to cement his partnership with the Turkish prime minister rather than try seriously to stem the violence against Syria's pro-democratic movement.