Last week, a feature by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton excoriating the political leadership of Syria appeared in the London-based Arabic-language daily Asharq Al-Awsat. Saudi-supported and printed in twelve locations, it is considered to be among the most influential newspapers in the Arab world.
As such, her comments (in English and Arabic) were intended to signal to Arab readers and the world at large that the American position toward Damascus is becoming more stringent and confrontational, evoking Clinton’s statements toward the leadership of Ivory Coast and Libya earlier in the year.
Her characteristically imperious, contemptuous and inflammatory comments, indeed threats, included:
“In his May 19 speech, President Obama echoed demonstrators’ basic and legitimate demands…President Assad, he said, could either lead that transition or get out of the way.