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

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Before burial at overflowing cemeteries, unidentified dead being swapped for DNA, in case some day relatives come to learn their fate

    Russian Opposition Leader Sues Putin for Conflict of Interest

    Alexei Navalny tells VOA in exclusive interview why transfer of $2 billion from country’s wealth fund to company with ties to President Putin’s son-in-law triggered lawsuit

    Clinton, Sanders Fight for African American Votes

    Some African American lawmakers lining up to support Clinton in face of perceived surge by Sanders in race for Democratic nomination in presidential campaign

    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.
    As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Filli
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 11, 2016 8:01 PM
    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.