Yesterday, Claire Berlinski wrote about meeting a couple of Syrians from the city of Hama, which was leveled by Hafez al-Assad in 1982 and is now again threatened by Hafez’s scion, Bashar al-Assad. Today, Berlinski explains why events in Syria matter to the U.S., from Ambassador Robert Ford’s trip to Hama last Friday to yesterday’s attack on the American embassy in Damascus. Berlinski doesn’t mince words. She wants to kick “the entire Syrian embassy staff” out of Washington—and calls for “no diplomatic relations.”
Withdraw our ambassador. Get American citizens out of that country: How long do you think it will be before we have a hostage crisis that limits our options even further? Mobilize a complete European boycott of the regime: I suspect the French are convinced. No more phone calls to Assad. No more visits. No recognition. International pariah status. Freeze every asset we can freeze. Use the ICC. Put public pressure on the Arab League--make it clear who's propping him up. Stop, completely, with the fantasy rhetoric about reform--it won't happen, and the language signals that we are living in an alternate reality. Stop saying that military intervention is not on the table: Don't tip your hand, for God's sake. Let Assad worry about what we might do.
For more background, make sure to read Reuel Marc Gerecht’s article in the latest issue.