Latest News Reports and Opinion
Clashes over the weekend following the killing of two Sunni clerics at a roadblock in Tripoli, under ambiguous circumstances, have raised again the real posibility of Lebanon being drawn into the civil conflict in Syria.
Neil MacFarquhar, “Syrian Unrest Prompts Gun Battles in Lebanon,” New York Times, May 21, 2012.
Alice Fordham, “Beirut tense after violent clashes linked to Syrian unrest,” The Washington Post, May 21, 2012.
Obama asserts G-8 in agreement on Syria
President Obama appeared in his public comments at the G-8 summit at Camp David this weekend to be seriously out of touch with reality on the ground in Syria. Reuters reports,
Camp David–President Barack Obama told G8 leaders meeting at Camp David that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must leave power, and pointed to Yemen as a model of how political transition could work there, the White House said on Saturday.
The Group of Eight leaders, in a statement summing up their discussions, urged all parties in Syria to adhere to their commitments under a joint U.N.-Arab League peace plan “including immediately ceasing all violence so as to enable a Syrian-led, inclusive political transition leading to a democratic, plural political system.”
The G8 statement said the leaders welcomed the deployment of the U.N. mission “and urge all parties, in particular the Syrian government, to fully cooperate with the mission. We strongly condemn recent terrorist attacks in Syria.”
Obama brought up Yemen as an example of a leader departing power peacefully and ushering in a democratic process, Rhodes said. “Our point was that we need to see political transition under way that brings real change to Syria,” he said.
Former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh ruled the poor Gulf nation for 33 years and was unseated after an uprising last year that split the country’s armed forces into warring factions.
Saleh was granted immunity from prosecution over the killing of protesters as part of power transfer deal that eased him out of office….
–Jeff Mason, “U.S. tells G8 Syria’s Assad must go, cites Yemen as model, Rueters, May 21, 2012.
These statements sound like they came from a goup that has been asleep for the last six months, and just woke up.
As for the Yemeni model, one should bear in mind that it is now viewed by many as the number one state harboring al Qaeda. Just today, over 90 people were killed as the result of a massive bomb explosion. It should also be borne in mind that Saleh killed hundreds of demonstrators, not the thousands al-Assad has murdered. The number of opposition members who would support a Yemeni-style transition, which would leave countless war criminals in place with impunity, could probably be counted on the fingers of a single hand.
The Russians were satisfied with the results of the G-8 summit.
Global leaders demonstrated consensus on all issues discussed at the G8 summit in Camp David. A statement to this effect was made by Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev as he spoke to a Voice of Russia correspondent during the news conference after the summit.
“This summit became my fifth,” the Prime Minister said. “Compared to the previous ones, it was informative and problem-free. We held substantial discussions in which all participants readily took part, and there was little, if any, controversy between delegations, or separate leaders.”
The participants in the summit reached consensus on Syria, Iran, and North Korea. Members of the G8 were unanimous that the Syrian government and all parties involved in the conflict should immediately secure the implementation of all requirements of a peace plan proposed by UN and Arab League envoy Kofi Annan. The Russian delegation made it clear that the Declaration on Syria was fully in conformity with the position of Moscow (emphasis added).
–Garibov Konstantin, “G-8: unanimity in spite of problems – Medvedev,” The Voice of Russia (radio), May 21, 2012 (14:47 Moscow Time).
The Russians’ triumph on Syria at Camp David came on the heals of a veiled threat by Dimitri Medvedev, now Prime Minister, that armed intervention in Syria could lead to nuclear war.
TEHRAN – Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev warned on Thursday that military action against sovereign states could lead to a regional nuclear war, starkly voicing Moscow’s opposition to Western intervention ahead of a G8 summit at which Syria and Iran will be discussed, Reuters reported.
The 38th G8 summit is to be held in Camp David, Maryland, from May 18 to 19.
“Hasty military operations in foreign states usually bring radicals to power,” Medvedev, president for four years until Vladimir Putin’s inauguration on May 7, told a conference in St. Petersburg in remarks posted on the government’s website.
“At some point such actions which undermine state sovereignty may lead to a full-scale regional war, even, although I do not want to frighten anyone, with the use of nuclear weapons,” Medvedev said.
“Everyone should bear this in mind,” he added.
–“Medvedev warns against a nuclear war in Mideast,” Tehran Times, May 18, 2012 (May 19 print edition).
President Obama–at least in public–is talking about a Yemen-style transition in Syria, which presumably would include a guarantee that al-Assad and his henchmen would not be prosecuted for their crimes.
He believes a political transition is necessary in Syria, with al-Assad leaving power. He has said this before.
He and the G-8 have endorsed the Security Council’s 6-point peace plan and the UNSMIS observer mission.
Obama–in his public declarations–appears clueless as to how the al-Assad regime might be induced to permit such a transition, or for that matter to cease their crimes against humanity, war crimes and other grave violations of human rights (such as those detailed by the Committee Against Torture Report).
Clueless, or so it would appear.
The Trenchant Observer
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