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US Considers Closing Embassy in Syria

US Considers Closing Embassy in Syria

The US is preparing to close its embassy in Syria by the end of the month out of security concerns, says the Washington Post. Two suicide bombs killed 44 in December; Al Jazeera cites an unnamed US official who said that, unless the government of President Bashar al-Assad improves security, the embassy, which is located on a busy street in the Syrian capital, will close.

The official also said that, while it is possible that al-Qaeda members from Iraq or Syria may have carried out the attack, “the US government did not rule out the possibility that the Syrian government conducted the bombings itself.” The Washington Post comments:

If even a small number of Sunni extremists from Iraq have become involved in the Syrian conflict, it would add an alarming new dimension to what has been an overwhelmingly peaceful uprising that has been brutally attacked by the decades-old dictatorship.

Many Syrian opposition activists already are concerned about signs of a creeping Islamization of the revolt, and they have warned that the failure of the West to intervene will open the door to Islamists, threatening the kind of destabilization that took hold in Iraq following the U.S. invasion there.

In October, the US requested that family members of embassy staff depart and reduced staffing. Last week, with violence ongoing in Syria despite the presence of some 160 monitors as part of an Arab League mission, the US had further reduced its embassy staff. US Ambassador Robert Ford had been recalled back in October over concerns to his safety; he returned to Syria in December.

Closing the embassy would mean that US officials “would lose insight into events on the ground,” including direct contact with opposition figures. But shutting the embassy would also offer a “negative portrait of the security situation,” as Al Jazeera‘s John Hendren says. US officials have been in discussions with the Syrian government about increased security for the embassy but have so far received “no tangible results,” says the  Washington Post.

Other Western and Arab embassies in Syria share the US’s concerns and have been reducing staff in recent weeks.

On Friday, which has been a day of protests since the uprising began in mid-March, only a lone policeman with a Kalashnikov stood across the street from the embassy. But other parts of Damascus felt as if “under siege,” with soldiers out in force near mosques, several major roads sealed off and checkpoints throughout the city.

 

Previous Care2 Coverage

Syria Hovers Nearer and Nearer Civil War

French Journalist Killed in Syria; Arab League Mission a…

Syrian Activists Say Regime Is Deceiving Arab League Monitors

 

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Photo by Al Jazeera English

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25 comments

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9:52AM PST on Jan 23, 2012

I hope we do close it. Syria won't care, but others in the region will.

7:10PM PST on Jan 22, 2012

Ooh, we're considering it. That's certainly sending a strong message to Assad. I bet he's quaking in his boots.

6:53PM PST on Jan 22, 2012

The Arab League's execise in ass-scratching was kind of a disgrace.
Abdullah of Jordan was in the news the other day saying "We don't know what to do!" This is the difference between 'leaders' and mere potentates. It suggests that they are waiting for the west and particularly the US to make a move.I think they would like to see the kind of involvement that tipped the scales in Lybia. It's not like any of the Arab League nations can stand on principle or anything. They can hardly support the Syrian oposition while suppressing opposition in their own countries.They'd like to see the Arab Spring end with Syria. The longer this situation persists, the greater the contagion through the region.
As for the historical US involvement in the region , Realpolitic will come back and bite you on the ass every time, like Mrs.S said, 40 years ago when they suspended their constitution was the time to chime in. Lybia was a far safer bet than Syria, since it's more complex in it's internal conflicts and plausible that outside elements have come into the mix.

12:41PM PST on Jan 22, 2012

I think the Embassy should be closed until Syria can demonstrate it is safe for
ambassadors and other foreign diplomats to be there. It seems Assad is not willing to
listen to his own countrymen, and therefore any dealings with others becomes almost
pointless. It's hard to believe he's an eye doctor, yet cannot see two feet in front of himself.

12:30PM PST on Jan 22, 2012

From the article:--

"the failure of the West to intervene will open the door to Islamists, "

For goodness sake, the West has already intervened. It is sending arms and personnel from Libya via Turkey and is supplying technical advice to the armed insurrection. I'm glad there is a "sole policeman" guarding the embassy. It shows the legitimate government of peace loving Syria knows exactly what the USI and its Zionist Entity master are up to.

10:58AM PST on Jan 22, 2012

Close it before they close it for you.

10:32AM PST on Jan 22, 2012

Close it!

10:23AM PST on Jan 22, 2012

We need to get out of the whole area.

9:44AM PST on Jan 22, 2012

How naughty of Assad - buying arms from Russia rather than US? Has no oil for the West to plunder / steal.
US close the embassy - be quick and leave them to it. This Monster is not there for love by people. He was placed there by others to suppress the public and enslave them for the benefit of the West. Now the public needs support to remove this tyrant from power.

IF YOU CAN NOT HELP THEN PLEASE DON'T GO AND DESTROY THE PLACE....

9:28AM PST on Jan 22, 2012

considering really

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