It's time to stop killings in Syria - Obama

2012-02-25 08:10

Washington - President Barack Obama on Friday declared the US and its allies would use "every tool available" to stop the slaughter of innocent people in Syria, uttering his most forceful words to date in response to an increasingly grim crisis that has gripped the world.

The president did not give specifics about what the US or other countries would do to help.

"It is absolutely imperative for the international community to rally and send a clear message to President [Bashar] Assad that it is time for a transition," Obama said after a meeting with Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt. "It is time for that regime to move on. And it is time to stop the killing of Syrian citizens by their own government."

The president added that nations cannot afford to be "bystanders" as the killing continues.

Obama spoke in Washington shortly after Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton used strong language to denounce Russia and China for protecting Syria, and the president's language about the need for world unity was viewed as a similar condemnation of those two nations.

Obama said he was encouraged by developments out of Tunisia on Friday, where more than 60 nations, in a unified bloc, asked the United Nations to begin planning a civilian peacekeeping mission that would deploy after the Assad regime halts its brutal crackdown on the opposition.

The Tunisia meeting is the latest international effort to end the crisis, which began when protesters inspired by uprisings sweeping across the Arab world took the streets in some of Syria's impoverished provinces nearly a year ago to call for political change.

Assad's security forces have responded with a fierce crackdown. The government blames the violence on Islamic extremists and armed gangs. The situation has grown increasingly militarized in recent months, with opposition forces increasingly taking up arms against the regime.

The UN estimated in January that 5,400 people were killed in the conflict in 2011. Hundreds more have died since.

  • Francois - 2012-02-25 08:44

    Pres Obama, if this was in Africa, we could have asked Taboe Mbeki to come up with a solution (AFrican solution for African problem theory), but that would not have stopped the killings.

      clivecorbz - 2012-02-25 10:03

      Dude... America was involved in Libya just last year... Libya is in Africa...

  • Siphiwo - 2012-02-25 09:07

    Francois, it could have been a misprint, Thabo Mbeki, to spell it correct. While we are encouraged by the US recently taken approach to Syria now, we wonder why it took so long. Thousands of people have died in that country. We asked the other day, where is the NATO?. Is it because there is no oil in Syria hence the silence? The time has come, be it that, Russia and China are having their own opion on the crisis, here, we talk of innocent people being butchered by their own gorvenment. Peace now in Syria, not another death later.

      louis.langenhoven - 2012-02-25 09:36

      lol I actually enjoyed the Taboe. In Afrikaans it means something that you don't do or don't talk about. Nou HIV was taboe in Thabo's time,,,apart from more eating more beetroot

      Francois - 2012-02-25 21:16

      Siphiwo, was the US's effort at the SC of the UN not blocked by Russia and China? That is the reason for the last 4 weeks delay. Did the Arab league also not try to resolve the problem first? Then I think you and clive have missed the point, we cannot dictate the US's foreign policy. My comment was in fact a parody on SA's foreign policy (or the lack of it ) or the lack of a consistent message. Then Taboe is exactly what Louis had said something that you don't do or don't speak about in Afrikaans - it is in short me exercising my right to freedom of expression. If Taboe can call me a foreigner after the Brits have taken my maternal grandfather's family farm because the helped the Boers with food, he does so not because I am a foreigner, but because he is exercising his freedom of expression. If he does not like the truth, he should keep quiet. Just quickly back to Nato,they went to Lybia on a resolution of the UN, China and Russia will not give them one thus they are @ home. If anyone wish to query the absense of Nato from Syria ask China and Russia and even if they vote for armed intervention, it does not mean that NATO must do the job. How about, let us say, China and Russia and South Africa? Oops our planes cannot fly that far.

  • Susan - 2012-02-25 09:14

    Who cares about the slaughter of innocent people in South Africa daily?

      goyougoodthing - 2012-02-25 10:04

      What about the slaughter of innocents in Palestine by the US allies too. The mirror has two faces when it comes to the US

      Fred - 2012-02-25 16:54

      Every death of an innocent civilian is morned by the freer world. Or do you mean the terrorists who have declared war on the freer world, want to die, and attack the feet world incessantly?

      Francois - 2012-02-25 22:37

      Susan, nobody does. Goyougoodthing, the US can like every country in the world decide there own foreign policy. They have always done so and their foreign policy is not based on what is best for the World, it is based on what is best for the US. Unfortunately we cannot prescribe to them what they must do, I would like to see them have a go at China for human rights abuses and likewise Zuma, but none of them is going to. The fact is that in SA, Mbeki on the one hand will criticize the UN for interfering with Libya's right to self determination, but they never had an election and in Zim where everyone knows, even Mbeki that the 2002 elections were rigged and the the MDC won 2008, this self determination thing is out of the door and the SA foreign policy is not decided on what is good for SA, or even for the ANC, it is good for maybe an elite part of the ANC - bit different from the US?

  • Eric Schollar - 2012-02-25 09:17

    Obama should stay out of Syria like he should have stayed out of Egypt and Libya. The West will just shoot itself in the foot again.

      paul.cowie2 - 2012-02-25 10:43

      So what do you propose Eric? Should the USA just sit back and let the Syrian dictatorship just slaughter its citizens?

      cvh23 - 2012-02-25 13:00

      Mr Paul Cowie: If you don't like whats going on in syria, pack your bags, take your wife, take your kids and go fight!

      Fred - 2012-02-25 16:31

      Stayed out of Egypt and Libya? The US did nothing in Egypt and hardly did anything in Libya. The Arab League, on the other hand, representing up to 350 million Muslims did. Such a stupid obsession this anti-US thing. Dumb.

      paul.cowie2 - 2012-02-25 21:39

      cvh23 You are simply being pathetic with an inane answer like that!! Syrians are being murdered in their hundreds by a mad dictator and you take offence because I take offence??! I see why you answer under a pseudonym, because with replies like that I would be embarrassed to let people know who I am as well!!

  • Siphiwo - 2012-02-25 09:25

    Susan, I think, we do care and even you, you care, which is good. We all need life and to respect it. Remember Susan, SA is not an island, whatever bad happenings in another countries, we must react accordingly.Syria is one of our own in humanity.

      Susan - 2012-02-25 09:53

      Sorry i didnt meant it disrespectfull of the situation in Siria, i just feel that we are pretty much in the same boat...

  • Hoosen Essa - 2012-02-25 09:28

    here is a great example of america and its double standards. they will u every resource to stop syrian government from killing protesters, but they sell weapons to the bahrain kingdom and saudi kingdom for them to stop their own protestors simply because the kingdoms hav the U.S aircraft carriers. that is y the media will not cover the protests taking place at those kingdoms and the death rate is higher than syria

      Kevin - 2012-02-25 09:55

      Hoosen is it okay to kill protesters in Syria, Is it okay to shell residential areas with tanks in Syria because the US Government is partisan in its foreign policy? Alternatively you need to think before you write. The simple answer is that the US is wrong in Saudi Arabia Yemen and Bahrain but it is right about Syria.

      Hoosen Essa - 2012-02-25 10:51

      gentleman, i'm not saying wat they doing in syria is wrong!!!! u just admitted that wat they doing in afghan, bahrain and saudi is wrong, my comment is for u to notice the double standards wit america, y will they protect only the syrians, wat about bahrain and saudi protesters ??? i'm all for protecting the syrian protesters, but at the same time, if america is going to defend syrians, it should also defend the citizens in another instead of siding with their dictators. u need to follow wats going

      Anthony - 2012-02-25 11:02

      @Hoosen Essa, Now, I agree with you, although I wish the Americans, or who ever would protect the Syrian opposition. Right at this moment, they are still left alone, fighting this murderers dictatorship. And sure, NO government ,should be allowed to murder its opposition, or as a matter of fact, not even beat them up,nor torture them.

      Fred - 2012-02-25 16:34

      If only you spent as much emotional mental energy on opposing the brutal, unelected dictators of the Middle East as you do opposing the US, the world would be a better place.

      nowicki1 - 2012-02-26 19:04

      Yeah Fred! America bombed Iraq to sh1t for no good reason but hey - they make mistakes right? I really don't know why everyone hates on them.. They may be operating drones killing people in Pakistan, Somalia, Iraq, but hey, its all for peace and democracy, right?

      nowicki1 - 2012-02-26 19:08

      Fred - 2012-02-26 19:32

      Nowicki, it's important to discern and differentiate more. Holding the idea that "the US bombed Iraq to sh1t" does not lead to a true understanding of what is happened, but instead leads to the uninformed, reactionary, wrong view that you have of things. And yes, the drones are furthering greater freedom and human rights. They're aimed at crazed Islamic extremists who have declared war of the freer world, want to die, and have killed HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of civilians with suicide bombs and car bombs. Wake up!! And grow up.

      nowicki1 - 2012-02-27 08:43

      For every "extremest" killed 10civillians are killed. Some studies put it even higher

      nowicki1 - 2012-02-27 08:45

      Tell that to iraqi women and children you lived through the trauma. War is not friendly business. Do you agree with the US invasion of Iraq?

      allcoveredinNinjas - 2012-02-27 09:21

      I agree completely with the invasion of Iraq , for many reasons mainly because the removal of Hussein stopped the unending war mongering of Saddam. Iran/Iraq war (longest war of the 20th C) est 1 Million dead. Kurdish genocide in Operation Anfal: Massacred 50,000 to 100,000 non-combatant civilians including women and children ,Destroyed about 4,000 villages (out of 4,655) in Iraqi Kurdistan. Between April 1987 and August 1988, 250 towns and villages were exposed to chemical weapons.Destroyed 1,754 schools, 270 hospitals, 2,450 mosques, 27 churches .Wiped out around 90% of Kurdish villages in targeted areas Invasion of Kuwait and the first Gulf War , 35000 dead . Have a look at the timeline especially when Chemical weapons are admitted too and the dates . Risk of letting a tyrant and known genocidal maniac loose with even potential weapons like that would be grossly irresponsible .

      Fred - 2012-02-27 16:26

      Matthew, yes, but who's intentionally killing the civilians?

      Fred - 2012-02-27 16:28

      Matthew, I don't agree with the invasion of Iraq. But I understand it. I disagree even more with the mindless blaming of the US, when it is, on balance, a force for good in our world.

  • Meshack Letswalo - 2012-02-25 09:30

    Obama, what a hypocrite. What about the afghans,iraghis, Pakistanis and Palestinians you are killing everyday with drones and your Israeli weapons. You have no right to comment on any moral issue in the Middle East as you are the real murderer of innocent people.

      Kevin - 2012-02-25 09:58

      Meshack a bit more reading and comprehension about what you read would be refreshing. The Israelis are not involved in Pakistan, Iraq or Afghanistan. The major arms supplier of the Israeli army is the USA not the other way round.

      goyougoodthing - 2012-02-25 12:28

      Kevin I think he meant the Palestinians being killed by drones and Israeli weapons, the rest are plain and simple killed by the USA.

      Fred - 2012-02-25 16:37

      Which Afghans, Iraqis, Pakistanis and Palestinians? Do you mean those that have declared war on the US, want to die, and have killed innocent civilians by the hundreds of thousands with their car bombs and suicide attacks in public places, the one's the US targets surgically, taking great care to avoid civilian deaths but which happens sometimes anyway? Meshack, you're confused about what is really happening.

      Fred - 2012-02-25 16:39

      goyougoodthing, you're as confused as Meshak, more so because you've done a lot of reading and you still come to the same, wrong conclusion: that the US is intentionally killing civilians in those countries and has killed more people than the real terrorists Al-Qaueda and the Taliban.

  • louis.langenhoven - 2012-02-25 09:42

    The government blames the violence on Islamic extremists and armed gangs.... for some or other reason I still believe there might be some truth in this. Mubarak has gone but there is little peace in Egypt, people in Libya are still fighting, just yesterday Nigeria has been targeted by attacks and bombings of their police stations and a jail, Somalia is fighting Boko Haram, Sudan is not peacefull yet... makes you wonder

      Fred - 2012-02-25 16:43

      There is an idea that says oppressive dictatorships are fertile ground for the emergence of extremists because even the extremists don't have a voice. Dictatorships oppose extremists, targeting them too. Once they have a real voice in government, the idea is that the number of extremists will reduce and their inhuman acts will reduce too. I wonder. Don't know, but there seems to be some truth in this.

  • Kogie - 2012-02-25 09:51

    Just to generalise about why America took so long... we all know how the muslims feel about America, this is a sensitive topic on its own. however,firstly i am a muslim, and I feel that the entire Arab nation is strong and wealthy enough to solve this problem. There is too much of dictatorship in most muslim countrys, and now that the people are rebelling against their govt, help is taking for ever. As soon as the west try to help, then it becomes their war., and America has too take the blame. Unfortunately ,not many people look at the bigger picture."When in Rome, do as the Romans do." This is how we should live our lives.

  • Kogie - 2012-02-25 10:00

    Just to comment on Hoosen Essas statement.Why is Baharain and Saudi Arabia buying weapons from America in the first place? However, just as a response to your comment, every country is buying weapons and air crafts from countrys that manufacture them.If Saudi and Baharain could build their own war crafts and war ships ,then they wont buy from America.Here's a question for you ...why is Saudi selling oil to America?

      Hoosen Essa - 2012-02-25 10:44

      kogie, your response is way off topic wit my comment, i'm not even certain wit wat it is u going on about. my comment concerns the double standards of the U.S, they protect the prtotesters in syria by proving arms to opposition but with countries like bahrain and saudi, they neglect their protesters and side with government instead simply because those kingdoms allow the U.S to put their aircraft carriers there. wat on earth are u going on about buying and selling??? u need to first comprehend the subject at hand before u decide to place ur 2cents, and i would advise u to 1stly think about wat u r saying in ur mind before shouting it out.

      Fred - 2012-02-25 16:45

      Which Middle East countries could the US and freer world engage with that were not dictatorships?

      Fred - 2012-02-25 20:26

      More silliness Patrick

      Anthony - 2012-02-25 20:38

      Please Patrick Don't become childish !!!

  • Leonard Lenny Sambo - 2012-02-25 11:51

    I am very dissapointed that it took US so long to take that decision. We all see that political solution has failed and seeing poeple being murdered like that while waitin for an 'African solution' was so painful. Please Obama dont even wait for another day

  • cvh23 - 2012-02-25 11:55

    if you want to see stupid people, read the comments on news 24.... the mainstream media has got it wrong, the majority of people still support assad. america will eventually go into syria, and start another civil war. what i would say to anyone that support this war: "who the F gives obama and cameron the right to tell another country what to do, who the hell do they think they are. america doesnt have the money to start another war, 30% of your country is unemployed and on food stamps, petrol prices in usa has doubled since obamas presidency started. they have lost wars in afghanistan iraq, and ruined libya. invading syria would just be for the purpose of laying the groundwork for attacking Iran. Iran is not iraq, they are a mighty country with a long history, they are the persians.. and they have the backing of China and Russia. When they attack Iran they will start a WORLD WAR. To anyone who supports any of these wars I say: "pack your bags, take your wife, take your kids and go fight, but I dont want anything to do with it!". So no, the biggest threat to world peace is not an "arab dictator", or a "Muslim extremist", it is uninformed western people from fascist countries who are stupid enough to believe what politicians tell them. WHAT A JOKE. For real news, watch Russia Today,, or follow Gerald Celente on youtube.

      Gerhard - 2012-02-25 12:20

      You mean 7000 dead in Syria does not count?

      Anthony - 2012-02-25 12:40

      @CVH23, Well in stead of ramling on in 339 words, why don't you just say' " I hate the West, and love dictators and tyrants " Short and sweet, and this gives you so much more time to go to your silly conspiracy sites and watch that Russian propaganda station!!!

      cvh23 - 2012-02-25 12:57

      firstly, the number is closer to 5000 secondly, close to 3000 troops have been killed thirdly, Arab people are different to you and me, we might like democracy, but for them, lets be honest, doesn't work. Lets stop trying to force our viewpoints onto the arab people. lets take libya as an example. Gaddafi (whether you like him or not) turned 'just another desert country' into a prosperous thriving country. Under his rule, they had positive annual economic growth, they had a relatively strong infrastructure, and the second largest GDP p/c in Africa. He also took their literacy rate from 10% to 90%. Nato then decided to intervene, unconstitutionaly (obama declared war without going through congress. (of course there were other agendas, resources etc.) And lets remember all roads lead to Iran. Today, an unelected government rules libya, they are at the start of a massive civil war, which will last years, and their infrastructure has been destroyed by nato bombs. Meanwhile, obama, cameron and sarkozy are all giving each other pats on the back "well done on libya" Watch:

      cvh23 - 2012-02-25 13:04

      Go live in a bubble, listen to obama, what a great man. and watch Cartoon News Network CNN. I dont give a F what you think or believe, knock yourself out.

      Leon - 2012-02-25 14:08

      well must say the afghans is happy with there freedom and they are sick and tired of the taliban killing women,children.old and young

      Fred - 2012-02-25 16:47

      You're incredibly uninformed. Because of this your views are largely irrelevant.

      cvh23 - 2012-02-25 17:16

      @Leon I'm sure all those people in the middle east really enjoy their freedom. The war on terror has cost $1.8t. More than a 1 000 000 dead Iraqis. 50 000 dead Afghans. 3000 dead Pakistanis. 9000 US soldiers killed. Countless people injured, millions mentally scared, and cities destroyed only little kids believe what politicians say are true, or that "representative" governments actually represent their people. Anyone following the presidential reality show (so called 'debates') in America knows that, with the exception of Ron Paul, they are all liars and suck ups. Look at the republicans, Mitt 'flip flop' Romney and Newt 'can't get up a flight of stairs' Gingrich and Rick 'Africa is a country' Santorum... what a joke. On the other hand, Obama's fascist government and ridiculous economic policies (money supply; low possibly negative interest rates and irresponsible spending) is sending the world into the second great depression, and to top it off he will probably start world war 3 when they decide to attack Iran. These are my views, think for yourself.

      Leon - 2012-02-25 18:41

      your view is from your moms t#t grow up

      Fred - 2012-02-25 19:07

      That's more pseudo-victim-speak Muedes. He's talking about the person's view, not the person.

      Leon - 2012-02-25 19:27

      yes ratiss are you still smoking the green sh#t i just can't give such a sh#t comment a proper answer plus i don't have the time that i leave to Fred

      Anthony - 2012-02-25 20:45

      Patrick, its past your bedtime, good nite !!!

      Fred - 2012-02-25 21:56

      The US start another civil war in Syria? Ruined Libya? What are you talking about. Iran is run by a rogue regime who stole the last elections from the majority of Iranian people. CVH23, you've misinformed yourself and saying strange things that are plain untrue.

  • Siphiwo - 2012-02-25 12:39

    Thanks Susan, ya, I agree with you in the sense that,SA, is fast becoming a " killing-Zone "'s like, people are not scared of life in jail anymore. Once we can make a point that, life in prison is harsher, may be people will be scared to commit these killings.

  • Michael - 2012-02-25 16:52

    Now Obama really speaks with authority - after all who would not heed a Nobel Peace Prize winner, who won his award for being inaugurated. Worse still he had the gall to accept it, and then immediately ordered a troop surge in Afghanistan.

      Khalid - 2012-02-25 17:06

      this man sees the light! Obama another puppet, there is no war on terror, that was weak sauce , its a war on islam and a War for Oil, defend Syria maybe we will get more oil from the corrupt arab Bastards that disgrace Islam and all it stands for, atleast obama is standing up for sum1 the two faced slimeball

      Fred - 2012-02-25 18:50

      Again, the two of you have OCD. If you spent as much time decrying the real murderers and terrorists as you do on your imagined, pseudo victim induced foe, you'd have some credibility. You don't, so your audience is the same delusional people as you.

      Fred - 2012-02-25 20:28

      Patrick, do you have anything else to say that is informed and helpful to the Syrian people being oppressed by an autocratic regime that has been in power for 48 years without being voted into power, the same as the Apartheid regime?

  • Derek - 2012-02-26 13:12

    What a joke, it's the West that's funding and arming and encouraging these mercenaries to kill people in the first place. The Libyan lie all over again.

      Fred - 2012-02-26 19:32

      Stupid perspective.

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