Iran Election Guide

Donate to EAWV

Or, click to learn more


Entries in Robert Ford (16)


Syria Today: Turkey "Backs US-Enforced No-Fly Zone"

Turkish PM Erdoğan1513 GMT: American Ambassador Meets with Opposition inside Syria.

US Ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, crossed the Syrian border yesterday and met with opposition leaders. What's interesting is that Ford arrived in Turkey after meeting with Russian officials in Moscow. ABC reports:

It is Ford's first visit back to Syria since he left in February, 2012, when the U.S. embassy suspended operations in Damascus as the opposition effort to oust Syrian President Bashar al Assad developed into a full-blown civil war. Since then, Ford has become the Obama administration's point man on Syria and point of contact with the Syrian opposition.

A U.S. official confirmed Ford's secret visit, which occurred along the Turkey-Syria border. He briefly crossed into Syria to meet with opposition leaders before returning to Turkey. Ford did not go deep into Syria, according to the official.

"It was literally just across the border," the official said.

A State Department official confirmed that Ford had "spent some time" at a border crossing to discuss the situation in Syria with members of the Free Syrian Army and the Syrian opposition. Ford had gone to the border to participate in the U.S. government's delivery of Meals Ready to Eat (MREs) that the U.S. is providing to the Syrian Coalition and Supreme Military Council.

Click to read more ...


Syria Live Coverage: Insurgents Capture Symbolic "Nuclear" Site

2319 GMT: More Fighting in Damascus. It's late, past 1 AM in in Syria, but there are still fresh reports of explosions and gunfire there tonight. This video was reportedly taken in Baramkeh, in west-central Damascus, not far from Tishreen and the heart of the Assad regime (map):

2303 GMT: Surface-to-Surface Missiles. Tonight there are reports that more "Scuds" have launched from the regime's 155th Brigade base in Quteifeh, northeast of Damascus (map). Last week, when there were similar reports, dozens died in Aleppo province when several missiles hit residential areas, crumbling buildings and trapping residents. Those rockets fell on areas just north of Aleppo's airport, an airport that was reportedly being overrun by rebels. Today the airport was once again under attack. No word yet what was targeted by these latest strikes, however.

Click to read more ...


Syria Revealed: Inside the Obama Administration's Discussions About the Insurgency (Rogin)

President Obama on Phone with Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, 31 July 2012The Obama administration very publicly signaled a shift in its approach to dealing with the Syria crisis after negotiations broke down at the United Nations in mid-July.

But the actual details of that shift are still being debated internally and the administration's rhetoric has gotten out ahead of its policy, according to officials, experts, and lawmakers.

Those details are being discussed among a select group of top officials in a closed process managed by National Security Advisor Tom Donilon. Within that group, some officials are arguing for more direct aid to the internal Syrian opposition, including the Free Syrian Army, that would help them better fight the Syrian military.

Click to read more ...


Syria Special: Who is Observing What, and What Will Happen When They Finish?

I don't need to sugar coat this: there are a lot of people who have no faith in the Arab League mission in Syria. For starters, we already know what they will find. International observers, though limited in both numbers and opportunities to investigate independently, have given us conclusions. According to US Ambassador Robert Ford, or the UN delegation that visited in August, or the few reporters brave enough to smuggle themselves into Syria, President Assad is killing a lot of people and torturing many. And there is only one way to end this mess, with Assad giving up power.

Few of these facts are in question. Much of the counter-narrative provided by the Syrian regime has either been proven false or is a weak defense --- "some individuals are guilty of crimes" --- for the scale of the regime's carnage. If only half the claims of the activists are true, then the number of people who have died from violence in Syria this year is four times greater than in Egypt.

So why are there observers present, who are they, what will they see, and what will they do about it? Let's work backwards.

Click to read more ...


Syria, Libya (and Beyond) LiveBlog: Towards a Civil State?

Claimed footage of a mass funeral procession for Ezzat al-Baidee, the teenager whose death in the Damascus suburb of Douma on Monday was captured on video

See also When Israel & Turkey Co-operated: West Jerusalem Asks Ankara for Help with Hamas

2040 GMT: A series of videos from around Homs in Syria tonight --- the Waar district:



Click to read more ...


Syria Special: US Ambassador Ford - "Protesters, Not Terrorists"

US Ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, is no stranger to getting directly involved in affairs in Syria's Arab Spring uprising. Ford has repeatedly tried to put himself in the line of fire, in places like Hama, in order to stop what he has described a the brutal killing of civilian protesters. Two weeks ago, Ford traveled to Jassem, another town that has been embattled for some time.

Just this morning, Ford released this statement on his Facebook page, stating unequivocally that the people being killed in Syria are primarily unarmed protesters, and not terrorists. Ford also acknowledged that some Syrian soldiers have been killed, though he did not say who killed them, and he argued that the scale of the crackdown far exceeded the scale of the threat:

Click to read more ...


Syria Feature: A US Plan to Replace Assad? (Ignatius)

As the Obama administration steps up its support for regime change in Syria, the Arab Spring is moving into what could be its hottest phase. The puzzle is how to help the Syrian opposition gain power without foreign military intervention — and without triggering sectarian massacres inside the country.

For months, as protests mounted in Syria, President Obama waited to see if President Bashar al-Assad could deliver on his talk of reform. Last week, the administration all but gave up on him and switched gears — and began working actively for a transition to a democratic regime.

Click to read more ...


Syria (and Beyond) LiveBlog: Can the Regime "Lose" Homs?

2100 GMT: Night-time protest in Daraa in southern Syria tonight, "Oh Homs, Daraa is with you until death":

And a demonstration in the Tayba Al-Imam section in Hama also expresses solidarity:

Click to read more ...


Syria, Libya (and Beyond) LiveBlog: "Death Squads"?

1920 GMT: (James accidentally killed this update by Scott, so it is reposted) Video of a protest tonight in the Kafar Souseh section of Damascus:

And women in Keswah chant, "Where are the detainees?"

1915 GMT: There are multiple reports of protests and clashes in Douma, Harasta, Zabadani, Qaboun, and other areas near Damascus, Syria. This is perhaps the most concerning, though unconfirmed, report:

"Security thugs attacked the about 100 protesters in #Qimaryee in #Damascus very aggressively using knifes"

1845 GMT: Along with video from today's protests (below) come reports (from multiple sources, including the LCCS) of an ongoing security crackdown in Zabadani (Zabadany), in the Damascus governate (northwest of center of city):

Damascus Suburbs: yesterday 19 July, Zabadany is still besieged suffering from several security barriers on all entrances and on branch roads leading to farms some tanks are also there. Moving barriers on roads leading to Serghaia and on other roads from and to Zabadany. The arresting campaigns continued by raiding houses, work places, at barriers and even for some people walking in streets. Some motorcycles were confiscated. Even though with the very difficult conditions people went out to streets to demonstrate yelling for freedom and to topple the regime

Click to read more ...


Syria (and Beyond) LiveBlog: When "Many Thousands" Becomes Routine....

Claimed footage of protest today in Idlib Province in northwest Syria

1715 GMT: Libyan insurgents carried out a late-night reconnaissance raid on Friday on the oil port of Brega in north-central Libya.

An opposition military spokesman said a light mobile force of about 50 troops had breached regime positions before pulling back for a hoped-for offensive early on Saturday.

The insurgents held Brega for weeks in the spring before it was retaken by Muammar Qaddafi's forces.

The opposition troops had reportedly tried to dispose of more than 150 landmines found outside the town, to make way for heavy artillery, but the assault left at least 10 dead and 172 wounded, according to medics.

Click to read more ...