What should the Obama administration do in the wake of the attack on the U.S. embassy in Damascus? Elliott Abrams rightly counsels the White House either to raise the stakes or withdraw Ambassador Robert Ford. We'll see how it plays out in the Syrian and Arab media over the next few days, but right now Ford is making his case using social media. The ambassador just posted a note on Facebook, concerning the attack and also describing some of what he saw in Hama last Friday.
As I have said before, we respect the right of all Syrians – and people in all countries - to express their opinions freely and in a climate of mutual respect. We wish the Syrian government would do the same – and stop beating and shooting peaceful demonstrators. I have not seen the police assault a “mnhebak” demonstration yet. I am glad – I want all Syrians to enjoy the right to demonstrate peacefully. On July 9 a “mnhebak” group threw rocks at our embassy, causing some damage. They resorted to violence, unlike the people in Hama, who have stayed peaceful. Go look at the Ba’ath or police headquarters in Hama – no damage that I saw.