White House defends tone on Syria
February 15th, 2012
04:52 PM ET

White House defends tone on Syria

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Obama has not publicly condemned Syria in the way that he applied pressure on Egypt and Libya, but the White House dismisses criticism that the U.S. resolve in Syria is any less forceful.

“We continue to work with all friends of the Syrian people to mount pressure on Assad to get him to step aside and allow a peaceful political transition to go forward immediately,’ NSC spokesman Tommy Vietor told CNN.

But that hasn’t happened yet even though the Obama administration seems convinced that the writing is on the wall for President. Bashar Assad.

“It’s clear Assad is on his way out. His single-minded brutality has made the end of his rule of Syria inevitable,” Vietor said.

Regime insiders are already moving assets out of the country, U.S. officials said and some are making plans to send their families abroad too.

The White House approach to “squeeze the regime” relies on imposing what one official described as “all possible sanctions.” The administration is also focused on bolstering the Syrian opposition and working to provide humanitarian assistance to the Syrians.

In the coming days, Vietor said the U.S. would be involved in discussions with allies and partners to “crystallize next steps to halt the slaughter of the Syrian people.”

The so called “Friends of Syria” meeting to ensure the political transition to democracy moves forward is set for February 24th in Tunisia.

Meantime, White House spokesman Jay Carney said President Obama was “very engaged” in this issue.

In his meeting with China’s Vice President Xi Jinping on Tuesday, Mr. Obama expressed disappointment with their veto [along with Russia] of the United Nations Security Council’s resolution on Syria, according to a senior administration official. The two leaders also discussed the need to move to a transition there.

The brutal government crackdown in Syria and almost daily scenes of violence in the streets only bolsters the international case for Assad’s exit.

“The longer he is permitted to deny this political reality, the greater the risk that he will foment chaos that will destabilize the whole region,” Vietor said.

Topics: President Obama • Syria • The News

soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. Jon

    Wait – WHAT? How has Obama not publicly condemned Syria?! What part of "unspeakable assault" doesn't say "public condemnation"?!

    February 15, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • James

      I guess you didn't read Obama's statement he released when Libya was doing the same thing to it's citizens. Google it and compare. Obama is the biggest hypocrite on earth. He's nothing more than China and Russia's whippin boy. It's time for Obozo to put his big boy pants on and do something.

      February 15, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
      • Dance This Mess Around

        *** Obozo..................

        Only six year olds with snot running down thier nose use words like this.

        February 16, 2012 at 9:01 am |
      • S

        you must some stupid REPUB, can always tell MORONS for miles away

        February 16, 2012 at 9:12 am |
      • Howard

        Barack Obama,
        during his Cairo speech, said:
        "I know, too, that Islam has always been a part
        of America 's story."


        Dear Mr. Obama:

        Were those
        Muslims that were in America when the Pilgrims
        first landed? Funny, I thought they were
        Native American Indians.

        Were those
        Muslims that celebrated the first Thanksgiving
        day? Sorry again, those were Pilgrims and
        Native American Indians.

        Can you
        show me one Muslim signature on the United
        States Constitution?
        of Independence ?

        Bill of

        think so.

        Muslims fight for this country's freedom from
        England ? No.

        Muslims fight during the Civil War to free the
        slaves in America ? No, they did
        not. In fact, Muslims to this day are
        still the largest traffickers in human
        slavery.. Your own half brother, a devout
        Muslim, still advocates slavery himself, even
        though Muslims of Arabic descent refer to black
        Muslims as "pug nosed slaves." Says a lot
        of what the Muslim world really thinks of your
        family's "rich Islamic heritage," doesn't it Mr.

        Where were
        Muslims during the Civil Rights era of this
        country? Not present.

        There are
        no pictures or media accounts of Muslims walking
        side by side with Martin Luther King, Jr. or
        helping to advance the cause of Civil

        Where were
        Muslims during this country's Woman's Suffrage
        era? Again, not present. In fact,
        devout Muslims demand that women are subservient
        to men in the Islamic culture. So much so,
        that often they are beaten for not wearing the
        'hajib' or for talking to a man who is not a
        direct family member or their husband.
        Yep, the Muslims are all for women's rights,
        aren't they?
        Where were
        Muslims during World War II? They were
        aligned with Adolf Hitler. The Muslim
        grand mufti himself met with Adolf Hitler,
        reviewed the troops and accepted support from
        the Nazi's in killing Jews.

        Mr. Obama, where were Muslims on Sept. 11th,
        2001? If they weren't flying planes into
        the World Trade Center , the Pentagon or a field
        in Pennsylvania killing nearly 3,000 people on
        our own soil, they were rejoicing in the Middle
        East . No one can dispute the pictures
        shown from all parts of the Muslim world
        celebrating on CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and other
        cable news networks that day. Strangely,
        the very "moderate" Muslims who's asses you bent
        over backwards to kiss in Cairo , Egypt on June
        4th were stone cold silent post 9-11. To
        many Americans, their silence has meant approval
        for the acts of that day.
        And THAT, Mr.
        Obama, is the "rich heritage" Muslims have here
        in America ..
        Oh, I'm sorry, I
        forgot to mention the Barbary Pirates.
        They were Muslim.
        And now we can
        add November 5, 2009 – the slaughter of American
        soldiers at Fort Hood by a Muslim major who is a
        doctor and a psychiatrist who was supposed to be
        counseling soldiers returning from battle in
        Iraq and Afghanistan ..
        That, Mr. Obama
        is the "Muslim heritage" in America

        February 16, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
      • John

        It never ceases to amaze me how people who defend BO never point to issues he resolved or policies that will help this country. They simply call people names. I wonder why that is?

        February 16, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • 32slim32

      Wait, read the rest of the sentence, "in the way that he applied pressure on Egypt and Libya".

      February 16, 2012 at 3:43 am |
  2. tony

    The world and UN in particular should be prepared to act in order to prevent slaughtering of civilians by a schizophrenic mad man like ASSAD and his thugs. It is shamefull that president Obama did not respond to Russia and China backing ASSAD killing machine. Syria case is a shamefull chapter in the modern history. This shows the double standard of USA policies.S hame on you Obama the first african american president you are no different from Colin Powel ,condilizza Rice ect... being silent in George Bush erra.

    February 15, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • Dance This Mess Around

      The Russians have a naval base in Syria.
      You seem bent on blaming this on Obama,
      what would you have him do ?
      Get into a war in Syria, fighting against the Russians ?
      When Americans start dying, you then get to blame The President.
      Doesnt matter what President Obama does, you will find something wrong with it.

      February 16, 2012 at 9:07 am |
    • Feed Your Head

      *** It is shamefull that president Obama did not respond to Russia and China backing ASSAD killing machine.......

      Obama did respond, you chose to ignore it.

      February 16, 2012 at 9:54 am |
  3. tony

    President Obam had failed the 3:00AM ADD during the elction campaign. He DID NOT ANSWER THE CALL...and the telephone kept ringing...and ringing. Same stand regarding Mrs Clinton.. nothing but talk ...talk.. talk no action. USA govemrment did have a deal with ASSAD the father during the Lebanon civil war..they backed him. Bill Clinton was shoked when he received the death news of ASSAD the father. Syrian people will hold you responsible for what is happening in the Middle East now and how USA turn their back again...

    February 15, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • Gimme a break...

      It's Syria, not Pennsylvania.
      Sad stuff? Yes. Our problem? No. Sorry world–we can't afford to eliminate all the bad guys for you. We had our revolution and civil war–time for you to have yours.

      February 16, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • Feed Your Head

      *** Syrian people will hold you responsible for what is happening in the Middle East now and how USA turn their back again...

      Assad is murdering his people and you blame America ?
      WOW, just pathetic.
      I bet you run around screaming about America being the worlds police.

      February 16, 2012 at 9:56 am |
  4. JPS

    KUDOS to Obama!!

    He knows that helping them fight their war, which has been going on for thousands of years, is a lose lose situation.

    The bridge to American help was burnt on 911!!

    They hated the U.S.A on and before 911 when they danced in the streets and chanted 'Death to America' and burned our flags. They will hate us after we save them from self annihilation. It wasn't ASSAD that told them to dance in the streets it was the radical muslim people of Syria, pretty much all of them, that burned that bridge.

    Better to let them do what they are good at and save AMERICAN lives.

    February 15, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
    • Gimme a break...

      Yep–this is definitely not our problem. Sad stuff though...

      February 16, 2012 at 9:16 am |
  5. tedz

    peaceful? political? transition? immidiately?

    February 15, 2012 at 9:48 pm |
  6. Jim

    Who cares what or who this clown condemns? Like anyone cares.

    February 16, 2012 at 7:35 am |
  7. remorse2

    Like ithe libya incident will obama be leading from behind let UK and France lead in the front ?

    February 16, 2012 at 7:55 am |
    • Duck Duck Duck - GOOSE

      A strong leader doesnt have to grab the sword and run screaming into battle,
      This is real war, not cowboys and Indians.

      February 16, 2012 at 9:47 am |
  8. Jerry

    He must be REALLY feeling the heat from the upcoming 2012 elections. For over three years he was MIA. All of sudden he can't spend taxpayer funds fast enough and he can't stop meddling in other countries' foreign affairs.

    It's not really Syria that you have to worry about Mr. President. It's Iran; or are you too ignorant no foreign policy to realize it.

    February 16, 2012 at 8:52 am |
    • Feed Your Head

      You are pretty stupid.
      Iran and Syria are tied at the hip.
      All of the money, weapons, and drugs going to Hezzbolah and Hamas,
      are funneled through Syria from Iran.
      Many American soldiers who died in Iraq, had been killed by insurgents from Iran and Syria.

      But you knew all this and decided to ignore it,
      so you could bash the president.


      February 16, 2012 at 9:51 am |
      • dreamer96

        And northern Syria is controlled more by the Anti-Al-Assad forces..thanks to Turkey...That is where the Syrian people are fleeing to, and where the support for the Anti-Al-Assad forces is flowing into Syria...and the west is helping Turkey...

        February 16, 2012 at 10:10 am |
  9. Shut up already

    I think Obama and the rest of his adminsitration should just shut up all together. They need to leave Syria alone. The majority of the people there in Syria is pro Assad. The largest city Aleppo isn't protesting the government or calling for the president to step down. Damascus isn't doing it either. If Syria wants to have a civil war then let them have one and may the best party win. The North fought the South here in this country during it's civil war. The government killed many of it's own citizens. The United States took Hawaii from it's people and their Queen for selfish reasons. I know plenty of people in Syria and have communication with them on a regular basis. They say it is nothing like the news here is reporting it to be.

    If you don't live there or you don't have direct ties to that country, then you probably have no idea what you are talking about. The United States getting involved in this issue is ridiculous and a waste of time and effort. I am so sick of this country talking about how other leaders and government should and should not treat protestors and caos in other countries. Let a group run to Washington, D.C. armed and stand out on the front law of the White House or the step of the Capitol and demand government reform and see where that gets you. I bet you go to jail or die. If anyone needs to reform their government it is this country. I am proud to be an American by birth and what our constitution allows us to have or should have. Our government works everyday to take those constitutional rights away. We have major problems with our law makers and leaders in this country and all everyone wants to do is worry about other countries and the people there.

    Stop spending my tax money on stupid crap and do something good here for a change. I have lost all respect for CNN that I ever had as a repsonsible reporting news media organization.

    Before you keep yelling stop the killing. Just remember this country has killed many innocent people and will continue to do it.

    February 16, 2012 at 9:19 am |
  10. Gimme a break...

    You mean the three years when we had the BP Oil spill, swine flu, worst recession in 100 years, Arab spring that got rid of Mubarek, Ghaddafi, and that Tunisian guy, the pirates that took Americans hostages, the near-collapse of the American auto industry, a whole bunch of weird stuff in Pakistan, followed by us killing bin Laden on a covert mission IN Pakistan, the end of American troops in Iraq, and the recent rescue of two Americans from Somalia? Yeah he hasn't had much at all on his plate. And nothing says, "meddling in other countries' foreign affairs" like invading Iraq and Afghanistan in the same 14 month period. Good gravy man! You are clearly not qualified to sling the word "ignorant".

    February 16, 2012 at 9:25 am |
  11. Lookwhoistalking

    Monday night quarterbacks and couch potatoes can't carry Obama's strap but seem to think they can do better. Amusing at best!

    February 16, 2012 at 9:25 am |
  12. Hammer Of The Gods

    Obama sends in troops to stop the killing, Americans die (you blame Obama)
    Obama sets up no fly zone, Russian military base in Syria shoots down jets (you blame Obama)
    Any US military involvement in Syria will mean fighting Pro assad forces, Iranian Forces, Hezzbolah, Hamas, palestinians,
    Arabs, and Russians, starts a much wider conflict and oil prices go thru the roof (You blame Obama)
    Obama tries diplomacy and sanctions, Syrians die (you blame Obama)

    The top military generals in this country are advising the president as to the best options we have,
    Every time you bash Obama, you are insulting our military.

    You keyboard warriors are PATHETIC !!!!!

    February 16, 2012 at 9:44 am |
  13. dreamer96

    Russia and China are making the same mistake backing Al-Assad...that the US made backing the Shah of Iran...The population will turn against Russia and China in Syria..and they will not want to deal with Russia and China after this is over...

    The US.mean while..well if the Arabs overthrown Al-Assad with the help of the West then it is their Arab victory and their Arab country to govern..

    If the US and the west sends in military forces...We face Russia and China which have military treaties with Al-Assad... And Russia has military bases their...It would be better to avoid any direct military engagement...

    Find a way to bring Russia and China around to defending the Syrian people and not a brutal Syrian government..even offer Al-Assad a safe haven outside of the Syrian country...Just stop the killing and Russia, China, the West can all be the good guys to the Syrian population...

    February 16, 2012 at 10:02 am |
  14. Johnathan

    IRAN IS TRYING TO NUKE ISRAEL AND THE USA!!1 They are enriching urniuam to 20% which is beyond what they need for energy or medicine2 They continue to work on space missiles so they can make an ICBM to reach the USA3 They are ran by religious extremists4 Muslims believe that their reward for killing non believers is to go to heaven aka suicide bombers5 Most muslims hate the USA and Israel6 They burn US flag everyday in Tehran for last 30+ yearsNUKE IRAN BEFORE THEY NUKE THE USA

    May 20, 2012 at 1:16 pm |