The FBI is currently interviewing Syrian-American activists in Washington, D.C, expressing concern over their safety. Many anti-regime activists are receiving threatening phone calls from unknown people demanding that they cease involvement in support of the uprising in Syria. Many activists are concerned about their safety, in addition to the safety of their family members currently living in Syria.
Although the unknown callers have yet to be identified, the Syrian embassy remains a possible suspect in the investigation. The State Department has evidence that officials at the embassy have been keeping close tabs on U.S. protesters. On July 6, Syrian Ambassador Imad Moustapha was interviewed by the Department and stated, “No one at the embassy in their official capacity would call [activists] and threaten them.” U.S. law enforcement continues to urge activists to report any suspicious activity. Nevertheless, reports of Syrian embassy involvement and direct involvement by the Syrian ambassador have been recorded, as detailed by Hussain Abdul-Hussain.
Two Syrian girls singing during a protest in front of the White House.
While activists continue to be persecuted in Washington and abroad, the Obama administration has yet to take real action against the Syrian regime. A week ago, the United States embassy was attacked by Asad supporters in Damascus. Following the attack on the embassy, President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton denounced the legitimacy of President Assad. The administration also announced that it would not tolerate any harm directed toward U.S. interests abroad. An official from the State Department stated, “Whether we take it farther will depend on events on the ground…We need to think through carefully what we say.”
The Obama administration continues to have a muddled and inconsistent approach toward Syria. Syrian and Syrian-American activists remain frustrated about the United States lack of action against the Assad regime. When the Syrian embassy makes threats against Americans, they are no longer operating as diplomats but as thugs. Obama’s desire to engage the regime in Damascus since coming to office was predicated on the hope that Asad could strategically reorient Syria away from Iran. It is foolhardy to try and rehabilitate the Asad regime, which has proven over and over again that violence, intimidation, and murder are its only tools. Perhaps Elliott Abrams recently summed it up best: “This Administration’s Syria policy has now moved from ‘improvisation’ to incoherence.”