Speaking today before a Senate subcommittee, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sought to downplay the prospect of improvement in ties with Syria, saying that there was only a “slight opening” that might be built upon, and that the US had a “lot of issues” with Syria.
Clinton followed this up by saying that they had made a number of demands, including resuming peace talks with Israel. Syria had expressed openness last year to US-brokered talks with Israel, but the prospect has cooled considerably since Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman threatened to destroy the Syrian government in a war earlier this month.
Clinton also demanded that Syria sever all ties with Iran, one of its few close allies, adding that Iran is “deeply troubling to the region as well as to the US.” She did not mention what, if anything, Syria might stand to gain if it accepted all these demands.
Some had expressed hope that US-Syrian ties might be on the mend, as President Obama earlier this month appointed Robert Ford as Ambassador to Syria, the first ambassador to the nation since President Bush withdrew the previous one in early 2005.