|New US Ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford|
U.S. Appoints Ambassador to Syria -Charles Krauthammer
Syria is a regime that has been arming Hizbullah to the teeth, tens of thousands of rockets, violating every provision of the truce that was declared after the second Israel-Lebanon war, ally of Iran, essentially an enemy of the United States, undermining all our activities and infiltrating itself into Lebanon out of which it had been kicked in 2005. All of this is happening and what does the administration do? It sends an ambassador in return for absolutely nothing.
A White House Clueless on Syria -Michael Young
A WikiLeaks cable, dated Feb. 2009, recounted a meeting with the French diplomatic troubleshooter and former ambassador to Syria Jean-Claude Cousseran, who "urged that Washington should 'get something tangible'" from the Syrian regime. He cautioned that the Syrians were masters of avoiding any real concessions and were adept at showering visitors with wonderful atmospherics and delightful conversations before sending them away empty handed."
This was very sound counsel, which Obama has basically ignored by dispatching Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford to Damascus for nothing tangible.
Obama should have sent Ford to Syria in exchange for a solid concession from Assad - perhaps Syrian acceptance of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections, which Damascus has refused to sanction; or maybe Syrian consent to the return of direct negotiations with Israel.
It made no sense for Obama to throw away a card he should have made Syria pay for. The writer is opinion editor of the Daily Star newspaper in Beirut.
Obama and the Syrian Trap -Matthew R.J. Brodsky
With the Palestinian-Israeli peace process returning to a deep freze, the Obama administration is eyeing an opportunity to make headway with Syria. To that end, President Obama confirmed the new U.S. ambassador to Syria and reports have surfaced of a recent back channel opened between the White House and Syrian officials in Damascus.
Yet the reality is that Syria will simply pocket concessions, while preserving the very status quo that Washington seeks to alter.
The Special Tribunal for Lebanon tasked with investigating the string of assassinations in 2005, including that of former Lebanese Premier Rafik Hariri, is set to hand down indictments in a matter of weeks. Hizbullah will likely be held responsible, with the support and orders coming from Syrian President Assad's inner circle.
By engaging with Syria now, the U.S. not only ensures that Damascus will not be held to account, but it rewards their rogue behavior and emboldens America’s enemies.