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'Kerry’s Empty Words on Syria'

9:36 AM, Oct 29, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
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The Washington Post editorial board writes:

ACCORDING TO Secretary of State John F. Kerry, Syrian ruler Bashar al-Assad now is waging “a war of starvation” against his own people. In a robustly worded op-ed columnposted Friday on ForeignPolicy.com, Mr. Kerry denounced what he said was “the systematic denial of medical assistance, food supplies and other humanitarian aid to huge proportions of the population.” The regime’s tactics, he said, “threaten to take a humanitarian disaster into the abyss.” They are “intolerable,” and “the world must act quickly.”

So what does the Obama administration propose to do to stop this barbarism? The simple answer is: nothing, other than issue strongly worded statements. The remedy proposed by Mr. Kerry is that Syria’s allies, Russia and Iran, pressure it to behave. “A regime that gassed its own people and systematically denies them food and medicine will bow only to our pressure, not our hopes,” Mr. Kerry correctly points out. So: “Assad’s allies who have influence over his calculations must demand that he and his backers adhere to international standards.”

Mr. Kerry is certainly right about the severity of Syria’s humanitarian crisis. According to Valerie Amos, the United Nations’ humanitarian chief, some 2.5 million people are beyond the reach of aid, including 290,000 trapped in areas besieged by government forces. There are credible reports of children dying of starvation in the suburbs of Damascus, The Post’s Loveday Morris reported Sunday. Diseases are spreading, including scarlet fever.

Whole thing here.

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