LobeLog on Facebook   LobeLog on Facebook











David Petraeus Finally Answers His Own Question

by Tom Engelhardt It took 14 years, but now we have an answer. It was March...

Message no image

Published on September 26th, 2011 | by Ali Gharib

0

Inhofe Now Supports Confirming Amb. Ford To Syria Post: ‘I’ve Been Proven Wrong’

Reposted by arrangement with Think Progress

When President Obama said he intended to fill the five-year vacancy at the U.S. embassy in Damascus, Syria, Republicans went wild, expressing opposition to an appointment and, eventually, blocking confirmation. Last December, Obama gave a recess appointment to Ambassador Robert Ford. With that appointment slated to expire at the end of the year, some conservatives continued to insist that Ford should be recalled or signaled that they again intend to block his confirmation.

But the tide — even among conservatives — has begun turning in favor of Ford’s confirmation as he’s established himself in a critical role as the Syrian government’s continued a months-long deadly crackdown against non-violent anti-government protests. The change came when Ford put his own life on the line to reach out to the Syrian opposition, even going so far as to join protesters in the street in a “show of solidarity.” Ford has also become the lynchpin of a U.S. policy now looking beyond the rule of Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad.

The latest conservative turn toward Ford came from Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK). Inhofe was one of a group of Republican senators that signed a May 2010 letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arguing that any engagement with the Syrian regime constituted a “reward” for Assad’s government. But as Ben Birnbaum reported in the Washington Times today, Ihofe’s changed his tune:

I really changed my mind on this,” said Sen. James M. Inhofe, Oklahoma Republican and member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“He has done some things that are just really impressive. He’s gone to places where the protesters are. He’s been roughed up a few times. I had the impression that he wouldn’t be quite strong enough, and I’ve been proven wrong.

In an interview with Birnbaum, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) went even further, accusing those opposed to Ford’s continuing presence in Damascus of verging on being pro-Assad:

I would say now, because he has become such a symbol of American support for the Syrian people, that it would actually be a defeat for the cause of freedom in Syria – and almost a victory for Assad – if we don’t confirm Robert Ford.

With tons of even neoconservatives — usually reliably hawkish on the Middle East and against diplomacy in countries considered U.S. adversaries — now coming out in favor of confirming Ford and allowing him to stay in Damascus to continue his work, one wonders how long the final holdouts like Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and potentially others can cling to their obstructionist position on an up-or-down vote for the ambassador.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


Comments are closed.


About the Author

avatar

Ali Gharib is a New York-based journalist on U.S. foreign policy with a focus on the Middle East and Central Asia. His work has appeared at Inter Press Service, where he was the Deputy Washington Bureau Chief; the Buffalo Beast; Huffington Post; Mondoweiss; Right Web; and Alternet. He holds a Master's degree in Philosophy and Public Policy from the London School of Economics and Political Science. A proud Iranian-American and fluent Farsi speaker, Ali was born in California and raised in D.C.



Back to Top ↑
  • Named after veteran journalist Jim Lobe, LobeLog provides daily expert perspectives on US foreign policy toward the Middle East through investigative reports and analyses from Washington to Tehran and beyond. It became the first weblog to receive the Arthur Ross Award for Distinguished Reporting and Analysis of Foreign Affairs from the American Academy of Diplomacy in 2015.

  • Categories

  • Subscribe

    Enter your email address to subscribe to our site and receive notifications of new posts by email.

  • Popular Posts

  • Comments Policy

    We value your opinion and encourage you to comment on our postings. To ensure a safe environment we will not publish comments that involve ad hominem attacks, racist, sexist or otherwise discriminatory language, or anything that is written solely for the purpose of slandering a person or subject.

    Excessively long comments may not be published due to their length. All comments are moderated. LobeLog does not publish comments with links.

    Thanks for reading and we look forward to hearing from you!