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Violence against protests in Syria: Why the mild US response?

Three weeks of protests in Syria have revealed the violent hand of the Assad regime, yet the US is not responding to this crisis in the same way it did in Libya.

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In the four months since it first stirred, the Arab awakening has simply refused to be put to sleep. It seems that young people seeking freedom in the Middle East will not be denied once they have broken through heir own wall of fear.

The latest example is Syria, where protests against one of the most repressive regimes in the world are now in their third week – despite the killing of dozens of peaceful demonstrators. Friday’s protests – a “day of martyrs” – saw more violence by security forces in a number of cities.

What is rather sleepy is the Obama administration’s sense of moral outrage over these killings or its refusal to join calls by Syrians for the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad and his repressive Baath party. The ruler of Damascus is, after all, already well branded as a regional facilitator of terrorists for Iran, Hamas, and Hezbollah.

The contrast of US action in Libya, where military intervention was justified on humanitarian grounds, is stark. Why is one massacre of Arab freedom-seekers different from another?

As President Obama has already promised the people of the Middle East: “Wherever people long to be free, they will find a friend in the United States.’’


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