Now, we have another attack on a US embassy in the Middle East:
Hundreds of Syrian government supporters attacked the U.S. Embassy in Damascus Monday, smashing windows and spray-painting walls with obscenities and graffiti that called the American ambassador a "dog." Guards at the French Embassy fired in the air to ward off another group of protesters.Yeah, that'll show 'em.
The sharp escalation in tensions followed a visit last week by the American and French ambassadors to the city of Hama, a stronghold of opposition to authoritarian President Bashar Assad. Syrian authorities were angered by the visit and American Ambassador Robert Ford's harsh criticism afterward of the government crackdown on a four-month-old uprising. Ford's residence was also attacked on Monday.
The U.S. and France both accused Syrian forces of being too slow to respond and demanded the government abide by its international obligations to protect diplomatic missions and allow envoys freedom of movement. The U.S. formally protested, calling the attacks "outrageous," and saying protesters were incited by a television station heavily influenced by Syrian authorities.
"Ford get out now," protesters wrote on a paper hung on the U.S. Embassy's fence. "The people want to kick out the dog," read graffiti scrawled in red on the wall of the embassy, along with another line cursing America. The protesters smashed the embassy sign hanging over one gate.
The U.S. said it would seek compensation for damage.
The attacks pose a renewed challenge to the Obama administration. The White House has criticized the Syrian regime's violent crackdown on peaceful protests but has refrained from calling for an end to the Assad family's four decades of rule, seemingly wary of pressing too hard as it tries to wind down wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and faces criticism for being part of the coalition battling Moammar Gadhafi in Libya.The French embassy was also attacked.
The U.S. said about 300 "thugs" breached the wall of the embassy compound before being dispersed by American Marine guards. No injuries were reported.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the mob got onto the roof of the chancery building, spray-painted graffiti and broke windows and security cameras. They lobbed fruits and vegetables at the compound.
A witness told The Associated Press that protesters scaled a fence, smashed windows and raised a Syrian flag at the embassy.
"We consider that the Syrian government has not lived up to its obligations ... to protect diplomatic facilities and it is absolutely outrageous," she told reporters.
There were similar scenes at the French embassy, where guards fired in the air to hold back Assad loyalists who attacked the compound.
The French Foreign Ministry said three embassy workers were injured as "well organized groups" smashed windows and destroyed the ambassador's car.
Another US Embassy official called the response by Syrian security to quell the attack "slow and insufficient."
Dude, who do you think organized these attacks? I would agree that the Syrian response was slow: the US and French ambassadors visited Hama last week and the Syria government could only organize an attack now? They must be having problems.
Claire Berlinski notes, "The Obama Administration plans to 'formally protest' this, apparently."
Such is the language of weakness in the face of our enemies.
As Michael Totten says, "Some people have yet to figure this out, so I’ll say it again: Syria is a hostile state."
Can someone clue Barack Obama and his foreign policy team on this?