Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another


Ford Continues the Good Fight from Home

U.S. ambassador to Syria blames Russia, Iran for enabling slaughter

Print Email
Robert Ford in Baltimore recently.(Baltimore Sun)

Last week, the United States expelled Syria’s ambassador following the Houla Massacre, but the two countries still technically have diplomatic relations, with Ambassador Robert Ford, only recently Senate-confirmed, continuing to launch rhetorical salvos at the Assad regime.

Ford is not currently in Syria: as the Baltimore Sun reports, he’s lying low in his hometown of Charm City. But a State Department spokesperson told me last week, “Ambassador Ford remains the United States Ambassador to Syria and its people. As the president’s representative, he continues his work and engagement with the Syrian people as head of our Syria team in Washington. Together with other senior U.S. officials, Ambassador Ford maintains contacts with the Syrian opposition and continues our efforts to support the peaceful political transition which the Syrian people have so bravely sought.”

Part of that has included penning things like this note, published last week on the U.S. Embassy in Damascus’s Facebook page. “The May 25 massacre in the village of Tall Daww, Houla, is the most unambiguous indictment of the regime to date and clearly illustrates Syrian government’s flagrant violations of its U.N. Security Council obligations under Resolutions 2042 and 2043 along with the regime’s ongoing threat to peace and security.” He continued: “We hold the Syrian government responsible for this slaughter of innocent lives, and we encourage all countries to condemn the actions of the Assad regime.”

And then he really went off, going after the regime’s enablers: “Russia continues to supply the Syrian military with arms.” And: “We all know that the Iranian regime’s interests are deeply embedded in the Assad regime’s survival—it is directly supporting the Syrian government through lethal and non-lethal means, and its revolutionary guard corps (IRGC) and intelligence services are coaching the Syrian military.” And: “The IRGC’s Qods force, which takes explicit instruction from the Iranian regime, appears to be helping set up the sectarian government-affiliated militias in Syria commonly referred to as the Shabiha.”

This last observation is especially crucial: the Houla Massacre was ostensibly carried out by these Shabiha, not by men directly under the regime’s control, which some have suggested means the slaughter was a symptom of sectarianism rather than an act of aggression by the regime against its people. That, we now know, is not the official position of the U.S. government, which instead asserts that such horrors are being perpetrated by the Syrian regime with Iran’s eager aid and Russia’s more-than-passive tacit approval. Tough talk like that is bound, eventually, to lead to tough action.

U.S. Expels Syria Envoy Over Houla Massacre [AFP/Google]
A Note from Ambassador Ford [U.S. Embassy Damascus]
Ambassador to Syria Keeps Profile Low in Bolton Hill [Baltimore Sun]
Earlier: Massacre Prompts Move Toward Regime Change
The New Consensus: Confirm Robert Ford!

Print Email

Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180

Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.

Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.

We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.

PhillipNagle says:

While there seem to be a lot of blame for which foreign countries are supporting the Assad regime in Syria, there is an absolute silence of who is supporting the terror bombings in Iraq.  Since most of the bombings are aimed at Shiites it is safe to assume that neither Iran nor Syria is the source of these attrocities.  The logical source of financial support for these Sunni murderers is Saudi Arabia, a country Obama (or Bush for that matter) is more like to cowtow to than to criticize.   One of the major supporters of western intervention in Syria is also Saudi Arabia.  Since they are one of the most repressive regimes in the world, their goal in Syria is not democracy (a concept they detest) but Sunni hegemeny. 

emunadate says:

Who is behind the problems in Syria?

philipmann says:

  The start of a Muslim civil war.


Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

Ford Continues the Good Fight from Home

U.S. ambassador to Syria blames Russia, Iran for enabling slaughter

More on Tablet:

Kerry Links Rise of ISIS With Failed Peace Talks

By Lee Smith — Secretary of State: ‘I see a lot of heads nodding’