Clinton Suggests Ankara, Riyadh Urge Assad to Step Down

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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday that Turkey, Saudi Arabia and other governments should call on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down, but declined to make that call herself.

"It's not going to be any news if the United States says Assad needs to go," Clinton said, suggesting the world's reaction to such a move would be, "Ok, fine. What's next?"

"If Turkey says it, if King Abdullah (of Saudi Arabia) says it, if other people say it, there's no way the Assad regime can ignore it," Clinton said during an appearance with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta at the U.S. National Defense University.

U.S. officials said privately last week that the United States was preparing to explicitly urge Assad to quit power over his regime's deadly crackdown on pro-democracy protests, but Clinton made clear Washington was now not ready to do so.

Indicating the Turks, Saudis and other regional powers have more influence on Syria, Clinton said "we don't have very much going on with Syria because of the long history of challenging problems with that."

When pressed on whether President Barack Obama's administration should demand that Assad step down, Clinton replied: "I am a big believer in results over rhetoric."

She said the U.S. diplomatic approach toward Syria amounts to "smart power," noting such an approach is an alternative to using brute force and unilateralism.

"It's being smart enough to say, 'you know what, we want a bunch of people singing out of the same hymn book.'"

The Obama administration has been working with the international community to ratchet up pressure on Assad, who has been deaf to growing calls to stop a crackdown that human rights groups say has killed more than 2,000 people since mid-March.

Clinton sought to deflect suggestions that the United States was taking a back seat to other countries.

"We are leading, but part of leading is making sure you get other people on the field," she said.

Comments 3
Default-user-icon Someone (Guest) 17 August 2011, 00:29

Is this the same Saudi Arabia that March 14 worships? The same Saudi Arabia that invaded Bahrain to suppress the protesters? Yet we have the losers March 14 speaking about rights? LOL! Bunch of hypocrites! ONE WAY TICKET!

Thumb shab 17 August 2011, 03:08

bye bye Assad

Default-user-icon TITUS (Guest) 17 August 2011, 03:38

The only language that the criminal Assad understands is BRUTE FORCE!! This murderous regime should have been taken out right after the other crazed dictator's in Baghdad with the twin Baathist Stalinist ideology along with its sponsor the Nerve centre of ME & global terror the Iranian Khaminist genocidal 7th century regime . The Syrian criminal regime is growing bolder by the hour (albeit it's only accelerating its demise by doing so), but unfortunately the Free Syrian Pro Democracy people are on the receiving end of this criminal's desperate genocide. One thing is for sure it has never had any legitamcy to lose since it came to power in a coup to begin with and was never democratically elected into office. The perceived weekness in the US with the Democrats indecisivness and wishy washy statements and actions has emboldened all these criminal regimes. I say get the Republicans back into the White house ASAP to salvage the US and world economies and the cause of freedom globally!