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.

You May Like

WHO: Anti-Ebola Efforts Should Focus on West Africa

Official says WHO is 'reasonably confident' countries bordering those hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak are not seeing the virus crossing their borders More

South Sudan Crisis Threatens Development

Economic costs and lost development opportunities in South Sudan have erased what little progress the country has made since independence in 2011 More

Ukrainian PM Warns: Russia May Try to Disrupt Sunday Poll

Arseniy Yatsenyuk orders full security mobilization for parliamentary election to prevent ‘terrorist acts’ from being carried out More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
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.
...

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid