It must have come as a surprise to the Egyptian teenagers who washed American teargas out of their eyes (during the Arab Spring) to hear that the U.S. supported change in the Middle East. It’s time for President Obama to keep his word … and for the U.S. to cease its persecution of WikiLeaks.Julian Assange • In a video feed, aired at the United Nations on Wednesday, mocking Obama’s UN speech, which encouraged free speech in the Middle East. His point? Wikileaks certainly didn’t get a free-speech pass from the U.S. government; in fact, he says Obama has “done more to criminalize free speech than any other U.S. president.” Ouch.
God willing, a new order will come together and we’ll do away with everything that distances us. Now even elementary school kids throughout the world have understood that the United States government is following an international policy of bullying. They command from behind the microphone. They command and impose their wills on how things should be done. I do believe the system of empires has reached the end of the road. The world can no longer see an emperor commanding it. Bullying must come to an end. Occupation must come to an end.Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad • Describing the United States as a “bully” in a recent interview with the Associated Press. Ahmadinejad was in New York for the UN General Assembly. His final term as Iranian president ends next year.
Today, we must affirm that our future will be determined by people like Chris Stevens, and not by his killers. Today, we must declare that this violence and intolerance has no place among our United Nations.President Obama • Denouncing a recent spate of anti-American violence in North Africa and the Middle East, which followed large protests of the anti-Islam “film” ‘Innocence of Muslims’, during his speech before the United Nations General Assembly. President Obama also called upon world leaders to do more to prevent such violence, even when its not popular to do so. “I know that not all countries in this body share [the United States’] understanding of the protection of free speech,” he said, adding, “The notion that we can control the flow of information is obsolete. The question, then, is how we respond. And on this we must agree: There is no speech that justifies mindless violence.” source
The focus two weeks ago was on Damascus. The focus is now on Aleppo, where there has been a considerable build-up of military means, and where we have reason to believe that the main battle is about to start.UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Herve Ladsous • Discussing the current military situation in Syria — suggesting a major battle in Aleppo is coming soon. In related news, three Russian landing ships, each carrying 120 marines, are heading to the Syrian port of Tartus to restock supplies for the base. Russia had previously offered to send ships to the base for protection purposes.
No more Annan: Kofi Annan, the diplomat tasked by both the United Nations and the Arab League with ending the violence in Syria, has decided to resign his post. Annan had proposed a peace plan for the country, but the first step of that plan—a ceasefire—fell apart within days, and his subsequent efforts to quell the violence failed. This departure may tarnish Annan’s legacy…but it shouldn’t. Absolutely nobody has been able to make any headway whatsoever in resolving the Syrian mess; the violence has perpetuated for sixteen months, and even seems to be getting worse as of late. Perhaps Annan could have come up with a different or better plan, but there’s little reason to expect that would have worked, either. When you can’t even get two sides of a conflict to stop shooting each other, it’s hard to expect a political dialogue to take hold. source
Assad must transfer power and depart Syria. The regime-sponsored violence that we witnessed again in Hama yesterday is simply unconscionable. Assad has doubled down on his brutality and his duplicity and Syria will not, cannot be peaceful, stable or certainly democratic until Assad goes.U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton • Saying, in no uncertain terms, that she wants Bashar al-Assad out of Syria. She emphasized that the U.S. is willing to work with the UN Security Council to reach this goal. Clinton’s latest statement comes on the heels of a massacre near Hama on Wednesday that led to the deaths of at least 78 villagers (according to UN observers), including up to 40 women and children.