The US, under the Obama administration, is making-nice with Syria. Robert Stephen Ford will serve as US Ambassador to Syrian, the first time we have had an Ambassador in residence inside the rogue country in 4 years. At this time, no official announcement of Ford to the post has been made but many reports say that Middle East Envoy, George Mitchell, made the Syrian government aware of the appointment.
Ford, an Arabist, is the U.S. deputy ambassador in Iraq. A career
diplomat, he has worked previously in Bahrain, Cairo and was U.S.
ambassador to Algeria from 2006-2008.
U.S. State Department
spokesman P.J. Crowley confirmed Washington had sent Damascus the name
of a potential nominee but declined to confirm who it was.
look forward to restoring our ambassador to Damascus because we think
Syria plays a vital role and our bilateral relationship should
progress,” he said.
“… We will continue to engage Syria to
play a more constructive role in the region. We have questions for
Syria in terms of its support of extremist groups in the region. But we
are committed to advance our relationship.”
The US recalled our Syrian Ambassador after the assassination of Lebanon’s Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, in the West Bank on February 14th, 2005. Evidence points to Syria being the assassin, although no one will step-up to confirm it.
Here is Reuters giving credit to the Obama administraton for cleaning-up GW Bush’s mistakes:
Washington’s move marks a significant step in
engaging an influential player in the region long at odds with the
United States — a process started by U.S. President Barack Obama soon
after he took office a year ago.
using a softer approach with Syria’s ruling elite, Washington is hoping
to pull Syria away from Iran, gain its help in stabilizing neighboring
Iraq and sideline the Damascus-backed Islamist Palestinian and Lebanese
guerrilla groups, Hamas and Hezbollah.
“Damascus-backed Islamist Palestinian and Lebanese guerilla groups, Hamas and Hezbollah?”
Robert Stephen Ford is presently a deputy ambassador to Iraq, and a former ambassador to Algeria. He is a native of Maryland and a career member of the Senior Foreign Service.