Monday, October 24, 2011

"...credible threats against his personal safety"

News item: U.S. Ambassador Robert Ford has returned to Washington D.C. because of "...credible threats against his personal safety in Syria".

Comment: Entirely predictable.

The threats, not the return.

Between the documented conduct of the Assad clique at the head of Syria and the fact that the functional incompetence of some of the people running their mouths at DeptState has made it impossible for the American Ambassador to claim an exclusively humanitarian interest in the betterment of the Syrian Opposition, it was only a matter of time before the regime in Damascus withdrew any pretense of diplomatic protection for Amb. Ford.

Yes, if this was a case of supporting anti-government demonstrations in some place like Luxembourg, one could expect the "nicety" of having the American Ambassador declared unacceptable and then sent packing. But most of the world isn't "nice" and Syria is pretty far up the "not nice" list.

At this point, I'll confess I'm happy he's out of the target zone (at least for now) because I've seen what a nightmare it is for RSO's and "other government agencies" personnel to keep an Ambassador alive if said Ambassador persists in doing things contrary to self-protection... *but*... there are some things that are risky to do that simply are in the national interest of the nation said Ambassador represents and thus need to be done. Moreover, an Embassy is not just the Ambassador (case in point); all the other personnel are also *or more so* at risk. Bringing Amb. Ford out may be be the best move available right now, but I'll argue that move is: forced; a half-measure; to the detriment of American support for the Opposition; (and was) likely avoidable.

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