News / Middle East

    Clinton Criticizes Syria’s Assad in Mideast Democracy Speech

    US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addresses the National Democratic Institute's 2011 Democracy Awards Dinner in Washington, November 7, 2011.
    US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addresses the National Democratic Institute's 2011 Democracy Awards Dinner in Washington, November 7, 2011.

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said late Monday that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has “systematically” violated all terms of the Arab League-mediated peace plan for his country.  In a policy speech, Clinton said the United States supports democratic reform in the Middle East without reservation.

    Aides say Clinton made the speech to clearly affirm that although the United States had close ties to ousted or endangered Middle East strongmen in the past, it now stands in solidarity with all of those in the region who seek inclusive democracies.

    Addressing the National Democratic Institute in Washington, Clinton conceded that the United States has not always pushed reform hard enough, and too often has accepted the notion advanced by Middle East autocrats that supporting them was the only way to fend off extremism.

     

    Clinton, speaking to an audience that included reform activists from across the region, said the United States now recognizes that “the real choice is between reform and unrest.”

    “The truth is that the greatest single source of instability in today’s Middle East is not the demand for change; it is the refusal to change," she said. "That is certainly true in Syria, where a crackdown on small, peaceful protests drove thousands into the streets and thousands more over the borders.  It is true in Yemen, where President [Ali Abdullah] Saleh has reneged repeatedly on his promises to transition to democracy and suppressed his people’s rights and freedoms.  And it is true in Egypt.”

    Clinton said that if power in Egypt remains in the hands of a few unelected officials, the country will have missed a historic opportunity and planted the seeds for future unrest.

    But she reserved her sharpest criticism for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who she said has spurned every provision of the Arab League peace plan he accepted last week to protect Syrian civilians.

    “He has systematically violated each of its basic requirements," said Clinton. "He has not released all detainees.  He has not allowed free and unfettered access to journalists or Arab League monitors.  He has not withdrawn all armed forces from populated areas.  And he has certainly has not stopped all acts of violence.  In fact, the regime has increased violence against civilians in places like the city of Homs.  Now, Assad may be able to delay change.  But he cannot deny his people’s legitimate demands indefinitely.”

    Clinton reiterated Washington's call for the Syrian leader to step down and said that until he does, the United States and world community will continue to increase pressure on him and what she termed “his brutal regime.”

    The secretary of state also castigated Syria’s main diplomatic ally, Iran, accusing the government there  of “breathtaking” hypocrisy by claiming to support democracy abroad, while killing peaceful protestors on the streets of Tehran.

    Clinton said the United States is prepared to work with elected Islamist parties provided, among other things, they abide by the rule of law, respect the rights of women and minorities, and let go of power if defeated at the polls.

    Clinton also expressed impatience with the stalled effort to revive peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.  She said it would be shortsighted to think that either side can simply put peacemaking on hold until the current upheaval is over.  She said the stalemate in the Arab-Israeli conflict “is one more status quo in the Middle East that cannot be sustained.”

    You May Like

    Republicans Struggle With Reality of Trump Nomination

    Despite calls for unity by presumptive presidential nominee, analysts see inevitable fragmentation of party ahead of November election and beyond

    Nielsen's, Sina Weibo Team Up for Closer Look at Chinese Social Media

    US-based rating agency reaches deal with China's Twitter-like service to gauge marketing effectiveness on platform which has more than 200 million users

    Despite Cease-fire, Myanmar Landmine Scourge Goes Unaddressed

    Myanmar has third-highest mine casualty rate in the world, according to Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor, which says between 1999 to 2014 it recorded 3,745 casualties, 396 of whom died

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limitedi
    X
    Katie Arnold
    May 04, 2016 12:31 PM
    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora