News / Middle East

    US Slams Russia, Warns of Promoting Civil War in Syria

    Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt welcomes U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to Copenhagen.Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt welcomes U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to Copenhagen.
    x
    Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt welcomes U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to Copenhagen.
    Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt welcomes U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to Copenhagen.
    COPENHAGEN - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton slammed Russia Thursday, blaming "very strong opposition" from Moscow for blocking efforts to put together an international coalition to remove Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power.

    During a visit to the Danish capital of Copenhagen, Clinton warned Russian opposition is not acceptable as the situation in Syria continues to erode, with both the Syrian military and pro-government militias increasingly targeting and slaughtering innocent civilians.

    "We know it could actually get much worse than it is," Clinton said. "And we are trying to prevent that," "They [the Russians] keep telling me they don't want to see a civil war. And I have been telling them their policy is going to help contribute to a civil war."

    Clinton's warning echoes similar concerns put forward by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who said Thursday that incidents such as last week's massacre of 100 people in the central town of Houla "could plunge Syria into a catastrophic civil war ... from which the country would never recover."

    Moscow stands firm

    Moscow remained resolute Thursday, signaling it would continue to block any effort to authorize military intervention in its long-time Middle Eastern ally.

    "It is hardly appropriate to talk about this position changing under someone's pressure," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the Interfax news agency.

    Moscow has long said it wants to see dialogue with both the Syrian opposition and President Assad’s regime, though Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has warned Russia's stance should not be seen as support for the Assad government.

    Clinton said Thursday that Russia's position is not good enough.

    "It is not a satisfactory answer yet, but we are trying to keep pushing all the pieces together," she said.  "The Syrians are not going to listen to us. They will listen, maybe, to the Russians. So we have to keep pushing them."

    U.S. fears

    The U.S. is also worried about the situation in Syria spiraling out of control, sparking a proxy war.

    "You have Iran deeply embedded in Syria. Their military are coaching the Syrian military. Their so-called Quds force, which is a branch of the military, is helping them set up these sectarian militias," Clinton said. "And you have Russia continuing to supply them arms."

    Russia says it wants dialogue, and enforcement of the cease-fire brokered by U.N. and Arab League envoy Kofi Annan.  Washington says Annan should be empowered to expand his mandate and confront Damascus about its role in the escalating violence.   

    But analysts say the U.S. may be hard-pressed to get its way.

    "I think Russia has taken a firm stand that it would not be allowed to use the U.N. Security Council for regime change, for toppling a national leader," said Masha Lipman, a political analyst with the Carnegie Center in Moscow.  "Russia has made it very clear that it will not come on board with Western countries, especially given the physical stage in U.S.-Russia relations. This stand will remain firm."

    Despite the strained relations, on Sunday Russia did support a non-binding Security Council resolution that strongly condemned the Houla massacre.  It has also criticized Assad’s government for using heavy weapons in population centers.

    Stearns reported from Copenhagen and Golloher from Moscow. 

    You May Like

    Post-White House, Obamas to Rent Washington Mansion

    Nine-bedroom home is 3 kilometers from Oval Office, near capital's Embassy Row; rent estimated at around $22,000 a month

    Red Planet? Not so much!

    New research suggest that Mars is in a warm period between cyclical ice ages, and that during Ice Age Maximum over 500,000 years ago, the red planet was decidedly ice, and much whiter to the naked eye.

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese Americans for Trump Going Against National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese Americans for Trump Going Against National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora