SANTORUM: And the main thing that has to be done is we need to do what president Obama was very willing to do in Egypt and Libya but seems reticent to do in Syria and Iran, those two connected states, which is to support the pro- democracy movement in those countries.
The president was ready to jump in bed with the Muslim Brotherhood in Libya and Egypt, but again has actually sided originally with Syria in this struggle by recognizing them as a government for first time in many years, put an embassy in place in Syria. And of course during the elections in 2009 when the green revolution was sparked in Iran, he sided with Ahmadinejad and the Mullahs.
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Obama never “sided with Syria” since the pro-democracy movement broke out there nearly a year ago. In fact, last August, the president called on Syrian president Bashar al-Assad to step down, and reiterated it earlier this month. “Assad must halt his campaign of killing and crimes against his own people now. He must step aside and allow a democratic transition to proceed immediately,” Obama said. The United States also supported and pushed a recent U.N. Security Council measure calling on Assad to step down — only to be vetoed by Russia and China. The veto led Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to call for a “friends of democratic Syria” to unite and rally against Assad’s regime.
But Santorum’s claim that Obama recognized Syria’s government “for first time in many years” has no basis in reality. The United States first recognized an independent Syrian state in 1944 and last reestablished diplomatic relations 30 years later. In 2005, President Bush withdrew the U.S. ambassador in response to the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, but the U.S. did not cut diplomatic relations. In 2010, Obama installed a new ambassador to Damascus, Robert Ford, amid Republican intransigence, and since then Ford became a thorn in the Assad regime’s side until he, and all embassy staff, were forced to evacuate last month due to increasing violence.