"We are looking for the most effective way to tell Assad he must go!"

FLC

MEPGS; Excerpts;

A consensus has emerged within the Administration that the current regime in Syria not only has no future but that it is only a matter of time before the President declares that President Bashar al-Assad must go. As one top Administration official put it this week, “We are looking for the most effective way and point to say he has to leave.” Even three weeks ago, there were some US officials who argued that the Assad regime could work its way through the current situation. But no longer. They now see the uprising spreading and deepening and that every maneuver by the authorities has come up short….
Hama was the site of the controversial visit by US Ambassador Robert Ford… Ford’s visit, according to informed sources, was not coordinated at the top levels of the White House or the State Department. The Ambassador, a low key, fluent Arab speaker, took it upon himself (with some lower level coordination among colleagues in Washington/ read:JF) to make a gesture, knowing it would infuriate the Syrian regime

STATE: ‘Odious demeanor!’
However, with this dramatic gesture, the Administration, at least for the time being, has run out of new pressure points to apply to the Syrian government. There is no appetite to expel Syria’s Ambassador to the US, Imad Mustapha, despite his embassy’s involvement in spying on Syrian protestors in the US (as well as his odious demeanor). Such a move, would likely provoke the expulsion of Ford, who only got his post via a “recess appointment” – the result of some key Republican Senators’ objection to “rewarding” Syria by sending back a US Ambassador after years of being represented at a lower level. “We still are having difficulty convincing some Senators of the obvious value of top level representation,” complained one exasperated State Department official, aware of lingering doubts in the Congress over the wisdom of dealing at all with a noxious regime like the one in Syria. Another route that has been explored to exert pressure on Syria is through importers refusing to purchase its limited oil exports. “There just aren’t enough takers,” says one Administration insider.
Although there is little doubt that Assad’s days are numbered, there seems to be little planning within the Administration about what to do after he goes. There is no doubt among veteran analysts that there will be competition for influence among Syria’s neighbors as well as other interested parties, such as the US and Saudi Arabia []…”

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

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