U.S. Embassy Closed in Syria, All Employees Leave

The State Department issued a notice today that the U.S. Embassy in Syria has closed and all employees have left the country.

The recent surge in violence, including bombings in Damascus on December 23 and January 6, has raised serious concerns that our Embassy is not sufficiently protected from armed attack. We, along with several other diplomatic missions, conveyed our security concerns to the Syrian Government but the regime failed to respond adequately.

The violence in Syria continues to escalate.

< JFK's Intern | Puerto Rico DEA Agents File Discrimination Lawsuit >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Libya deja vu? (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by BTAL on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 01:48:18 PM EST
    Except this time we don't appear to have any allies available to use the "lead from behind" tactic.

    Libya turned out well (none / 0) (#2)
    by MKS on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 02:29:12 PM EST
    It is far better than the Neocon version of full invasion.

    Libya turned out well? (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by BTAL on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 02:54:42 PM EST
    Suggest you do a bit more reading.  The new government is acting just as brutal as the Qaddafi regime.  

    One of the latest atrocities.
    Torture of French diplomat

    If Libya was so successful, do you support similar actions against Syria?


    It all depends on how you view it (none / 0) (#4)
    by MKS on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 02:56:29 PM EST
    We did not become embroiled in another war.  We assisted our allies in getting rid of Qaddafi.

    The goal of a fully functioning democracy was never the idea.....


    Did you accidentally (none / 0) (#5)
    by BTAL on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 05:15:03 PM EST
    forget to address the question regarding Syria?

    As to Syria, (none / 0) (#6)
    by MKS on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 05:38:06 PM EST
    I would not committ troops.  If there is a way to assist those who would topple Assad without running too much risk, or risking the lives of our troops, then it would be worth considering.

    I have no problem with ad hoc foreign policy.

    So, it all depends, and the answer is a definite "no" if it involves ground troops, invasion or occupation.


    Can you tell me what happened to all the SAMS?? (none / 0) (#7)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 09:11:15 PM EST
    No, but few have the technology (none / 0) (#8)
    by MKS on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 10:01:29 PM EST
    to launch SAMS.  You need radar and sophisticated eletronics etc.  I have made this point to you before.

    Are you talking about hand held stinger missiles?


    Oh please (none / 0) (#10)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Feb 07, 2012 at 08:45:14 AM EST
    You didn't understand?

    Okay. I am talking about missiles that can be launched and take down aircraft.

    A bunch are missing.

    Can you tell us where they are??

    I mean if Libya was such a good deal for us, why am I asking the question?? And why are you avoiding kit?

    BTW - A Stinger is a surface to air missile.


    There is a difference between (none / 0) (#12)
    by MKS on Tue Feb 07, 2012 at 10:12:59 AM EST
    a stinger and a SAM.

    It seems you are conflating the two.  SAMs, as I have said, and you have ignored, have a very real limitations without the attendant technology.

    Stingers have been floating around in large numbers for a long time and don't hit much.

    So what exactly is missing?

    You are making a big deal without really knowing the facts....


    And there is a difference between (none / 0) (#17)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Feb 07, 2012 at 02:00:35 PM EST
    a car and a truck. But they are both motorized vehicles.

    Now, either answer the question or admit that you don't know.


    You answer the question (none / 0) (#19)
    by MKS on Tue Feb 07, 2012 at 02:17:13 PM EST
    What was lost?

    It makes a difference.  

    I have no idea what happened to some "stuff" that you cannot identify.  

    Let's have a link.


    Then you haven't been watching (none / 0) (#20)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Feb 07, 2012 at 03:17:17 PM EST
    the news re Libya? Anyway, nice avoidance.

    Plus, this took me about 10 secs on Google:

    "surface to air missles libya" 1,140,000 hits in .13 seconds

    The White House announced today it planned to expand a program to secure and destroy Libya's huge stockpile of dangerous surface-to-air missiles, following an ABC News report that large numbers of them continue to be stolen from unguarded military warehouses.

    Currently the U.S. State Department has one official on the ground in Libya, as well as five contractors who specialize in "explosive ordinance disposal", all working with the rebel Transitional National Council to find the looted missiles, White House spokesperson Jay Carney told reporters.

    "We expect to deploy additional personnel to assist the TNC as they expand efforts to secure conventional arms storage sites," Carney said. "We're obviously at a governmental level -- both State Department and at the U.N. and elsewhere -- working with the TNC on this."

    ABC News reported today U.S. officials and security experts were concerned some of the thousands of heat-seeking missiles could easily end up in the hands of al Qaeda or other terrorists groups, creating a threat to commercial airliners.

    "Matching up a terrorist with a shoulder-fired missile, that's our worst nightmare," said Sen. Barbara Boxer, D.-California, a member of the Senate's Commerce, Energy and Transportation Committee

    ABC News

    It appears that Libya wasn't the great success Obama wants us to believe.


    Shoulder fired weapons (none / 0) (#21)
    by MKS on Tue Feb 07, 2012 at 03:43:25 PM EST
    That means Stingers....

    Al Qaeda already should already have a gazillion of those because we gave them to the Mujahideen.

    Show me one jet aircraft shot down by a Stinger.....So far just rumors.

    Stingers are just a version of an RPG.   Not great range or accuracy.....Can work against helicopters in close range....

    And your article talks about the risk that "some" could end up in the hands of Al Qaeda.


    You've got nothing signficant here.  


    "SAMS" typically refer (none / 0) (#22)
    by MKS on Tue Feb 07, 2012 at 03:47:36 PM EST
    to sophisticated air defense missiles such as the Patriot Missile that can indeed shoot down jet aircrat at high altitude from long distances....That is what they are designed to do.

    But again no such missiles were lost or stolen.

    Saying that bunch of stingers was lost is like saying a couple of cases of RPGs went missing.  You overdramatize the risk.  Par for the course for conservative neocons.


    Like the SAMS (none / 0) (#23)
    by BTAL on Tue Feb 07, 2012 at 04:11:01 PM EST
    the North Vietnamese used why back when.

    SAMS are not nearly as complex systems as you are making them out to be.  


    Not so easy, either (none / 0) (#24)
    by MKS on Tue Feb 07, 2012 at 04:23:04 PM EST
    Pops was in Air Defense and retired a batallion commander.  I was able to launch a SAM myself.

    There were a whole lot of folks there.  At minimum radar, no?  That is pretty high up on the sophistication ladder.

    In any event, the article that Jim links to is talking about shoulder fired Stingers.

    You have any proof a stinger has actually brought down a jet aircraft. It would be like hitting a hole in one blind, no?


    Radar is not required (none / 0) (#26)
    by BTAL on Tue Feb 07, 2012 at 05:18:17 PM EST
    The shoulder launched (Stingers/MANPADS) use infra-red.

    Here is a USAF research document (PDF) showing the capabilities of these weapons but also provides details in their actual kills.  Far from blind hole in one success rates.  Yes, it included are jet aircraft.

    Also FYI, the more sophisticated systems like the Patriot is primarily focused on defeating incoming missiles in addition to aircraft.


    I think the Partiot was designed (none / 0) (#27)
    by MKS on Tue Feb 07, 2012 at 05:24:41 PM EST
    to knock down aricraft.  The idea of hitting incoming missiles was a modification.

    The HAWK (none / 0) (#28)
    by BTAL on Tue Feb 07, 2012 at 05:36:14 PM EST
    which the Patriot replaced was primary aircraft air defense.  The NIKE, also replaced by Patriot, was dual aircraft/missile defense.  Patriot was always dual roled.

    Bottom line, SAMS (in all their forms) are not the old bulky systems you initially described.  This is especially true when the shoulder fired and vehicle mounted systems are included.  And all are deadly.  Actually, those larger more complex systems have been vulnerable (at least towards us) since our deployment of Wild Weasel aircraft starting in the late/post VN era.


    Maybe, but the Patriot did not hit (none / 0) (#30)
    by MKS on Tue Feb 07, 2012 at 05:58:21 PM EST
    any scuds during the first Iraq War.

    Sure, the shoulder fired are more mobile but they don't hit much, and certainly not jet fighters or bombers at high altitude.

    Without radar guidance, one is just relying on luck and timing....That is why most Stingers miss, infared or not.  Helicopters, slow moving and close to the ground and in line of sight, are the most vulnerable targets.....

    Good airport security should eliminate stingers as a danger.


    The debate on Patriot success (none / 0) (#31)
    by BTAL on Tue Feb 07, 2012 at 06:17:32 PM EST
    in 1991 is a Monday morning quarterbacking exercise, depending on how one wants to measure, 3 or 4 Patriots launched has been used to say they were only 25% effective.

    Vehicle launched are far more effective than shoulder launched, it is the nature of the design.  The radar needed for vehicle launched is not that high tech, again NV had radar capable SAM sites.

    Regarding threats to civilian aircraft, yes airport security can go along way, but it doesn't negate the threat.  Where we lived in No.VA, in the flight path of Dulles, the aircraft passed well within the altitude range of a Stinger.  Airport security didn't stretch to our backyard deck.  Additionally, landing zones in Afghanistan don't have those zones of security.


    PS on Patriot success (none / 0) (#32)
    by BTAL on Tue Feb 07, 2012 at 06:18:11 PM EST
    The system is far more advanced now vs the 1991 system.s

    Your article says there are already (none / 0) (#29)
    by MKS on Tue Feb 07, 2012 at 05:48:49 PM EST
    thousands of "MANPADS" already out there.

      The paper notes the standard way they are used is in two teams positioned on a runway, i.e, in close line of sight.  And they still miss almost all the time.

    Good security near airports is, according to the paper, the key to foiling these attacks....

    So, they are very much deployed like RPGs.  And, yes, the Mujahideen did down a lot of Soviet helicopters....

    Sure, it is a risk worth addressing.  But exaggerated.  And not the sky-is-falling event Jim suggested.


    It also "appears" ... (none / 0) (#25)
    by Yman on Tue Feb 07, 2012 at 04:25:06 PM EST
    It appears that Libya wasn't the great success Obama wants us to believe.

    ... that there's a reason you won't/can't answer the question.

    Probably because you have zero evidence of what (if anything) was "lost", or how the US was supposed to instantaneously locate and secure the thousands of SAMs alleged to have been possessed by Gadaffi.


    No - where are they, Jim? (none / 0) (#16)
    by Yman on Tue Feb 07, 2012 at 01:54:32 PM EST
    You are the one claiming that US action in Libya was wrong based on these SAMs falling into the wrong hands, yet all you have are questions.  How many SAMs?  Who has them?  What types?

    No answers, ... just fact-free accusations?

    Thought so.

    BTW - What about the Stingers handed out by Reagan to the Mujahideen in Afghanistan?  Since we're just "asking questions" in the form of accusations, how many US soldiers have been killed by Stingers handed out by the Reagan administration?  How about those given to Chad?  What about Angola?

    Your selective outrage is funny.


    Archie Bunker (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by NYShooter on Tue Feb 07, 2012 at 09:17:00 PM EST
    "Dem, dese, dose....



    Lead from behind my ass (none / 0) (#11)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Feb 07, 2012 at 09:02:39 AM EST
    I get so sick and tired of Reflunkicans saying anything about Obama's CIC leadership.  You guys have NEVER come up with anyone batting for your team who was this capable on so many battlefields all at once.  You shame yourself with your petty digs while real people are out there executing the successes while also putting their lives on the line.  You shame yourself!

    We cleared the way for allies in Libya because we could.  We could do that and in doing that clear the way for less bloodshed overall. Those who led, they sold all that crap to Libya that was being used on the people of Libya.  It was about being accountable for enabling dictators.  Gee, who is in Syria today hoping to avoid embarrassment for genocides that the world watches?  Ummmmm...Russia

    Because almost everything they are going to kill their own people with is from Russia.  Your pathetic oversimplifications if the conflict situations don't really mask your jealousy very well.

    And many Democrats and Liberals wish they could just give Obama to you, they don't want this kind of success....they don't want to be successful great killers of anything or anyone.  You really shame yourself though trying to belittle what has been done though simply because you are jealous, and no corrupt paranoid isolationist that the Republican party has ever put up on any pedestal was ever capable of any of the military success that President Obama has attained.


    The House of Saud and Qatar... (none / 0) (#13)
    by Dadler on Tue Feb 07, 2012 at 10:57:50 AM EST
    ...are behind this entire thing.  And they are as repressive as any regimes on earth.  Assad is a useless tyrant, but it's simply other tyrants looking to step in.  I can't cheerlead here, or think anything but cynical thoughts.  Libya is descending into further madness.  There are simply no answers for much of what we are getting ourselves into.  None.  Ever.

    Such is real life.  


    I don't think there are any simple answers (none / 0) (#14)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Feb 07, 2012 at 11:15:21 AM EST
    to any of the tyrants out there facing "Spring".  I didn't want Obama to do anything about Libya, but if I were in his position would I have been able to stick to that?  I'm about to watch a military commit genocide.  Am I just going to sit here and watch?  There are no winning answers in any of this as the situations exist at this time, just degrees of losing and hoping to prevent loss.

    And Iraq was a buffer of sorts (none / 0) (#15)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Feb 07, 2012 at 11:24:47 AM EST
    Sunnis in the region did not feel disenfranchised by having Alawites running Syria and neither did the Shia.  Buffer is gone, working towards experiencing a secular Middle East is gone now too, commodities becoming expensive, Assad isn't good at being a "peacekeeping" type Alawite either, it was always going to go down this way.

    Interestingly enough (none / 0) (#18)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Feb 07, 2012 at 02:10:00 PM EST
    all of that ability to "cleared the way" was put together by the war mongering Repubs.

    It is the Demos who are frothing at the pocketbook to slash the military.

    And success??? Maybe you need to read this:

    I saw little to no evidence the local governments were able to provide for the basic needs of the people. Some of the Afghan civilians I talked with said the people didn't want to be connected to a predatory or incapable local government.

    From time to time, I observed Afghan Security forces collude with the insurgency.


    Davis: "Here you have many units of the Afghan National Security Forces [ANSF]. Will they be able to hold out against the Taliban when U.S. troops leave this area?"

    Adviser: "No. They are definitely not capable. Already all across this region [many elements of] the security forces have made deals with the Taliban. [The ANSF] won't shoot at the Taliban, and the Taliban won't shoot them.

    "Also, when a Taliban member is arrested, he is soon released with no action taken against him. So when the Taliban returns [when the Americans leave after 2014], so too go the jobs, especially for everyone like me who has worked with the coalition.


    Remember Obama announced when we would leave. That was the dumbest statement I have ever heard a supposed leader make. I mean, do you think the terrorists leaders all said...

    "Well, the Americans are gonna leave on.... So I guess we had better give up and go away?"

    MT, you know better than that. Quit making excuses for this President. His policies are getting our soldiers killed.


    Wow...total Bull$hit (none / 0) (#33)
    by Militarytracy on Tue Feb 07, 2012 at 06:42:04 PM EST
    All the Republicans did was Bitch and Bitch and Bitch

    Wow and weeeeeeee (none / 0) (#34)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Feb 07, 2012 at 07:09:40 PM EST
    Here I have been thinking it was Obama who gave the enemy the information that if a military person had done they would have been subject to courts martial.....

    Who knew it was Bush???

    The things I learn.


    well the sooner he gives (none / 0) (#36)
    by jondee on Thu Feb 09, 2012 at 03:21:17 PM EST
    aid and comfort to our enemies, the sooner he can begin working seriously toward the establishment here of a hybrid form of government based on Marxian principals, Sharia Law, neopagan radical environmentalism, ritual flag burning, and food stamps.

    No (none / 0) (#9)
    by weltec2 on Tue Feb 07, 2012 at 03:06:40 AM EST
    Hillary... is not happy.