The West Unites Against Assad

Andrew Sullivan —  Aug 18 2011 @ 11:08am

121328027 Obama calls for Assad to step down in a way calculated not to seem like internal meddling:

The future of Syria must be determined by its people, but President Bashar al-Assad is standing in their way. His calls for dialogue and reform have rung hollow while he is imprisoning, torturing, and slaughtering his own people. For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside.

Clinton announces new sanctions. Sarko, Merkel and Cameron follow:

Our three countries believe that President Assad, who is resorting to brutal military force against his own people and who is responsible for the situation, has lost all legitimacy and can no longer claim to lead the country. We call on him to face the reality of the complete rejection of his regime by the Syrian people and to step aside in the best interests of Syria and the unity of its people.

Violence in Syria must stop now.

And don’t miss this revelatory piece of reporting from Homs. Money quote:

“We’re millions of martyrs, heading to heaven,” they chanted together, as they marched down Al-Malaab al-Baladi Street, a thoroughfare in the city. A young woman in her 20s, wearing a white veil, called to people standing on their balconies. “What are you waiting for?” she asked them. “Don’t you want to join? There is no one left at home except you!” Boys ran toward the protest, and more cars headed in its direction.

A half-hour later, whistles sounded, alerting people to the approach of the security forces. So did car horns. “Security!” young men shouted. As shots rang out, a man ran down the street, chanting.

“God is great,” women replied from their balconies.

I think the impact of Iran’s Green Revolution remains central to these new protests and this new defense of human dignity in the Middle East. I know the dangers. But if something doesn’t glow in your heart to see such courage in the face of such cruelty, then you have a stronger strain of realism than I can sometimes muster.

(Photo: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leaves after making a statement to the press on US sanctions on Syrian oil, at the State Department in Washington, DC, on August 18, 2011. Clinton said Thursday that US sanctions on Syrian oil ‘strike at the heart of the Syrian regime’ of President Bashar al-Assad, backing Washington’s demand he step down. Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama demanded Thursday that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad ‘step aside’ and imposed tough sanctions on Damascus including an asset freeze and ban on US investments in Syria.  By Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images.)