News / Middle East

Panetta: Syrian Violence 'Spinning Out of Control'

U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta (L) and British Secretary of State for Defense Philip Hammond hold a joint news conference at the Pentagon in Washington, July 18, 2012.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta (L) and British Secretary of State for Defense Philip Hammond hold a joint news conference at the Pentagon in Washington, July 18, 2012.
Luis Ramirez
PENTAGON.— U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta says the bombing that killed Syria's defense minister and other top officials of President Bashar al-Assad's security team Wednesday is a sign that violence in the country is out of control.  

Secretary Panetta says Pentagon officials are very concerned by the increasing violence in Syria as the Assad government continues to hold on to power in the face of mounting pressure by rebels and the international community.

Panetta said the killing of Defense Minister Daoud Rajha and others represents a major escalation of violence, and that by ignoring calls to step down, President Bashar al-Assad is causing more loss of life. Panetta called for a political solution.

"This is a situation that is rapidly spinning out of control, and for that reason it's extremely important that the international community, working with other countries that have concerns in that area, have to bring maximum pressure on Assad to do what's right -- to step down and to allow for that peaceful transition," said Panetta.

The defense secretary spoke at a joint briefing with British Defense Minister Philip Hammond, who said he believes the Assad government is fragmenting as it fights to remain in power.

Panetta said the Assad government will be held responsible for safeguarding the country's chemical sites. He also had a warning for Iran, following new threats by Tehran to close the Strait of Hormuz -- the entrance to the Persian Gulf --  where a fifth of the world's oil passes through.

"The United States is fully prepared for all contingencies," said Panetta. "We've invested in capabilities to ensure that the Iranian attempt to close down shipping in the [Persian] Gulf is something that we're going to be able to defeat, if they make the decision to do that."

For years, Iran has threatened to close the strait, and U.S. forces have been preparing.

The Pentagon this week said the U.S. Navy is moving an aircraft carrier, the USS John C. Stennis, to the Persian Gulf earlier than scheduled to ensure that two carriers are present in the area at all times.  

U.S. forces also are preparing to conduct a major minesweeping exercise in the Persian Gulf with several allied nations in September.

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Comment Sorting
by: Kanaikaal irumporai from: anon.
July 19, 2012 10:23 AM
So, the Obama regime is not calling this a terrorist act!. If this is done some kilometers away, in Israel, then it would be terrorism and those who did this are mere heartless barbarians even though the two people are Muslims. The so called uprisings are nothing but European-U.S. orchestrated neocolonialism, in which their 500 year old plundering mission continues in another forms. It's high time the most affected people, who now are in position of challenging this approach, the Chinese deter this words and deeds. They should put the so called UN resolution in tatters, until a new form of world body replaces the western puppet outfit that only serves the interests of the "Free-Masons", who have nearly achieved their longstanding goal of controlling the world under one regime.
In Response

by: Anonymous
July 19, 2012 8:36 PM
It's not a terrorist act, it's the FSA taking out the people in charge of killing their families. It's not a terrorist act, it's war. A government against people in a country. The people will always prevail.

by: Alfred Cossi Chodaton from: Benin (Republic), Cotonou
July 19, 2012 3:10 AM
Can anyone explain to me how this barbaric suicide bombing might be different from terrorism? The West is fooling the world but the US and its allies may also suffer from the side effects of using terrorism against regimes that are not friendly. Years ago, they were the ones to create the Taliban.

by: Bene Sophia from: USA
July 18, 2012 9:38 PM
So why does not the USA and the west call this an act of terrorism? If a Palestinian had done a similar thing in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem you know everyone would be condeming it as a vile act of terrorism. I wonder if there is a double standard for regimes we don't like??

by: Omaha from: USA
July 18, 2012 4:46 PM
let it spin... and spin... and confine our reaction to sending "UN Observers..." whats better than that? to watch those cowards who planted roadside bombs and killed our troops... let these despicable cowards kill each other...

by: Joe from: TN
July 18, 2012 3:58 PM
As a result of the Arab Spring spreading across the Middle East, the people of Syria have become a major threat to the Syrian government led by Bashar Assad who actually followed his father's 40 year tenure as president of Syria. The opposition has suffered over 19,000 deaths in their struggle to bring down President Assad but have and are continuing to gain ground. What is now termed a "civil war" has world leaders calling for Assad to step aside which he has refused to do.

These same world leaders are mostly standing by and watching this horrific conflict seemingly unable to decide what action to take. Meanwhile, the Assad regime continues to fight on which is actually setting the stage for Bible prophecy to be fulfilled.

The ancient Jewish prophet, Daniel prewrote history 2500 years ago when he laid out the scenario for the end of times. In Daniel 11:40 it states that the King of the North will be the leader to take a coalition of nations into Israel to destroy the Jewish state. The King of the North, defined in Daniel 11 verses 5 and following, is the nation of Syria today. Actually, Syria will make the first move against Israel followed by an alignment of nations which are mentioned in Daniel 11:40-43, Ezekiel 38, and Psalm 83. The end result of this attack on the Jewish state will be death for the attacking nations, Ezekiel 39:1-6.
In Response

by: Anonymous
July 19, 2012 8:38 PM
Every religion in the world is different, what makes yours right? You don't believe that stuff do you LOL??? No religion is the right one.

by: wavettore from: USA
July 18, 2012 3:43 PM
Before the next acts of war and "terror" contribute by adding more distractions into an already confused situation now you should pay your highest attention
It will serve no purpose to look back when it'll be too late just like it would be useless to talk about it one day if nothing could be done anymore.
Destiny will tell if there will be an awakening and if it was only at the beginning that most people have been so blinded and so distracted not to see the coming "storm" or, if instead not looking or to "want" to look away exemplifies that primitive animal behavior which is most dangerous for Humankind and that signifies its surrender in front of the threat.

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