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

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level 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.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid