Why the world is quiet as Syria crackdown continues
The US vows to step up pressure on Syria to stop backing the extremist group Hezbollah, but it has done little to stop President Bashar al-Assad's crackdown on protesters.
The United States on Monday suggested it is using the current weak position of the Syrian government on the world stage to try to pressure it into dropping its support for Hezbollah, the extremist organization in Lebanon.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
In an interview with the US-funded Radio Sawa, US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford said the US is demanding from the Syrian government that it immediately cease its assistance to Hezbollah and treat Lebanon as a friendly and sovereign country.
Officially, the Obama administration says that unlike Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi, President Bashar al-Assad still has time to reverse his repressive stance and undertake the political reforms he has promised.
Behind the scenes, however, the US and other countries worry about the repercussions if Mr. Assad were to fall. Moreover, they doubt that the international community would unify against President Assad.
The Libya effect
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in an interview while traveling in Italy Friday that the Syrians “have an opportunity still to bring about a reform agenda.” In the interview with Rome’s “In Mezz’Ora” TV program, she added that the US would “continue joining with all of our allies to keep pressing very hard” on Syria.
But one key reason the US is not moving against Syria – for example, declaring that Assad has “lost legitimacy,” as it did in the case of Libya’s Col. Qaddafi – is that much of the international community may be wary of following the US a second time, some regional analysts say.