Tags: romney | obama | assad | killings

Romney: Obama's 'Paralysis' Allowed Syria Slaughter

Tuesday, 29 May 2012 04:10 PM

By Todd Beamon

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Mitt Romney supported removing Syrian diplomats from the United States on Tuesday and called President Barack Obama weak in his dealings with the nation.

"I welcome the expulsion of Syrian diplomats by the United States and other partner nations," the presumptive Republican presidential nominee said in a statement posted on CNN.com. "But it only underscores the need for more assertive measures to end the Assad regime.

“President Obama's lack of leadership has resulted in a policy of paralysis that has watched Assad slaughter 10,000 individuals," Romney said.

The Syrian diplomats were expelled on Tuesday from the U.S. and seven other countries over a weekend massacre in Houla that killed 108 people, including many women, children, and families. Most had been shot at close range.

The other nations involved in the coordinated move against the diplomats were Australia, Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Canada.

Two U.S. State Department officials told CNN on Tuesday that they moved to expel the Syrian charge d'affaires, Zouheir Jabbour. He was given 72 hours to leave the U.S. with his family.

Jabbour has been the top Syrian envoy in the United States since Ambassador Imad Moustapha was called back to Syria in October after the United States said it was pulling its ambassador out of Syria.

Romney has criticized Obama and his national security team for being weak in dealing with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. In his statement Tuesday, the former Massachusetts governor said that the U.S. should pressure Russia to stop selling weapons to Syria.

"We should increase pressure on Russia to cease selling arms to the Syrian government and to end its obstruction at the United Nations," Romney said. "And we should work with partners to arm the opposition so they can defend themselves."

Arming the Syrian opposition could lead to more trouble, press secretary Jay Carney said earlier Tuesday in his White House briefing.

"The concern is that further militarization of the situation in Syria could lead to greater chaos, could make it harder to achieve the political transition that the Syrian people deserve," Carney said. "The nature and shape of and membership of the opposition is still something that we and our partners are assessing and that is another consideration that has to be acknowledged when efforts like that are undertaken."

Over the weekend, Romney said the Houla killings signaled the need for a sronger United States role in Syria.

"The Assad regime's massacre of civilians in Houla — many of them young children — is horrific," Romney said Sunday. "After nearly a year and a half of slaughter, it is far past time for the United States to begin to lead and put an end to the Assad regime.”

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