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Experts Urge Obama to Act on Syria

3:19 PM, Feb 17, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
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         Immediately establish safe zones within Syrian territory, as well as no-go zones for the Assad regime's military and security forces, around Homs, Idlib, and other threatened areas, in order to protect Syrian civilians. To the extent possible, the United States should work with like-minded countries like Turkey and members of the Arab League in these efforts.

         Establish contacts with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and, in conjunction with allies in the Middle East and Europe, provide a full range of direct assistance, including self-defense aid to the FSA.

         Improve U.S. coordination with political opposition groups and provide them with secure communications technologies and other assistance that will help to improve their ability to prepare for a post-Assad Syria.

         Work with Congress to impose crippling U.S. and multilateral sanctions on the Syrian government, especially on Syria's energy, banking, and shipping sectors.

Unless the United States takes the lead and acts, either individually or in concert with like-minded nations, thousands of additional Syrian civilians will likely die, and the emerging civil war in Syria will likely ignite wider instability in the Middle East.  Given American interests in the Middle East, as well as the implications for those seeking freedom in other repressive societies, it is imperative that the United States and its allies not remove any option from consideration, including military intervention.

The Syrian people are asking for international assistance.  It is apparent that American leadership is required to ensure the quickest end to the Assad regime's brutal reign, and to clearly show the Syrian people that, as you said on February 4, 2012, the people of the free world stand with them as they seek to realize their aspirations.


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