Secretary of State Clinton is warning Syrian dictator Bashar Assad that he “is not indispensable and we have absolutely nothing invested in him remaining in power,” a marketed escalation in rhetoric following attacks on the U.S. and French embassies that were undoubtedly orchestrated by the Syrian regime. The statement is just short of a direct call for Assad’s resignation, though that is likely to come soon.
About 300 pro-Assad “protesters” attacked the U.S. embassy, tearing down plaques, spray-painting anti-American slogans, and breaking windows and security cameras. The French embassy was also assaulted, and live ammunition was used to protect the facility. The State Department says the state-controlled television inspired the attacks, and a resident said perpetrators were members of the regime’s Alawite Shabbiha militia, four buses of which were brought in from Tartous. The attack was retaliation for a bold visit to Hama by the American and French ambassadors on Thursday to express solidarity with the hordes of protesters demanding regime change. They were greeted by cheering residents, who put flowers and olive branches on their vehicles.