Regime change, Syria edition.

McClatchy reports, via David Kurtz:

The State Department in recent weeks has issued a series of rhetorical broadsides against Syria, using language harsher than that usually reserved for U.S. adversaries.

“It’s the new Cuba – no language is too tough,” said one of the officials, who like others insisted on anonymity to discuss internal government planning. …

Some officials who are aware of the campaign say they fear its real aim is to weaken or even overthrow Assad and to ensure that he can’t thwart the creation of an international tribunal to investigate the February 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. A U.N. report has implicated Syrian and Lebanese officials in the murder.

The officials say the campaign bears the imprint of Elliott Abrams, a conservative White House aide in charge of pushing Bush’s global democracy agenda.