The United States on Monday ruled out an immediate recall of its ambassador to Syria in response to the Arab state's alleged crackdown on protesters.The Obama administration seeks "a stronger understanding of what's going on inside Syria"??
Senator John McCain on Sunday called for Robert Ford, U.S. ambassador to Damascus, to return home, while Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who chairs the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, followed suit on Monday, saying Ford is being used by the Syrian government "for propaganda purposes" by joining a recent government-organized tour of northern Syria.
"Our review remains that Ambassador Ford is doing useful work in Damascus and in Syria, he continues to meet with a broad cross- section of Syrian opposition," U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters.
"He is now occasionally meeting with members of the government as appropriate. We did think that his trip up north, even though it was organized by the Syrian government, allowed him to convey our messages," she added. "So we still see his role there as useful and helpful to our ability to have a stronger understanding of what's going on inside Syria."
That's strange! Everyone else understands what's going on there....
In a statement on Monday, Rep. Ros-Lehtinen said that "the administration should reverse this mistake by recalling the Ambassador immediately."
She accused Ford of taking part in a government-organized tour of northern Syria that "provided legitimacy to a ploy aimed at covering up the regime's violence against the Syrian people. It compromised US credibility with freedom and pro-democracy advocates within Syria at a critical time."
Democratic Representative Dennis Kucinich, however, has apparently aligned himself with President Obama and the Syrian regime. Kucinich, who is currently visiting Syria, held a three-hour meeting with President Assad on Monday.