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

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms 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.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid