The United States took another step Tuesday to distance itself from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government.
Daniel Rubinstein, who was appointed special envoy for Syria on Monday, said that the “United States notified the Syrian government today that it must immediately suspend operations of its Embassy in Washington, D.C., and its honorary consulates in Troy, Michigan, and Houston, Texas.”
The decision comes as the Syrian civil war enters its fourth year, and Rubinstein said that in light of the “atrocities the Assad regime has committed,” the administration has “determined it is unacceptable for individuals appointed by that regime to conduct diplomatic or consular operations in the United States.”
The Syrian embassy in Washington said last week that it stop consular services as of Tuesday.
In light of the State Department’s decision, any Syrian diplomat or consular who is not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident has to leave the country.
The comments echo a YouTube video that Rubinstein posted Monday. Rubinstein said that “Assad will go to any length to maintain power,” adding that the civil war has been “a somber occasion and a sober reminder to all of us of the work still needed.”
And despite the administration’s latest move, Rubinstein said the United States will to carry on its diplomatic relations with Syria “as an expression of our longstanding ties with the Syrian people, an interest that will endure long after Bashar al-Assad leaves power.”
Secretary of State John Kerry announced Rubinstein as the special envoy for Syria on Monday.
What We're Following See More »
Just after President Obama finished his address to the DNC, Hillary Clinton walked out on stage to join him, so the better could share a few embraces, wave to the crowd—and let the cameras capture all the unity for posterity.
In a speech that began a bit like a State of the Union address, President Obama said the "country is stronger and more prosperous than it was" when he took office eight years ago. He then talked of battling Hillary Clinton for the nomination in 2008, and discovering her "unbelievable work ethic," before saying that no one—"not me, not Bill"—has ever been more qualified to be president. When his first mention of Donald Trump drew boos, he quickly admonished the crowd: "Don't boo. Vote." He then added that Trump is "not really a plans guy. Not really a facts guy, either."
Tim Kaine introduced himself to the nation tonight, devoting roughly the first half of his speech to his own story (peppered with a little of his fluent Spanish) before pivoting to Hillary Clinton—and her opponent. "Hillary Clinton has a passion for children and families," he said. "Donald Trump has a passion, too: himself." His most personal line came after noting that his son Nat just deployed with his Marine battalion. "I trust Hillary Clinton with our son's life," he said.
Michael Bloomberg said he wasn't appearing to endorse any party or agenda. He was merely there to support Hillary Clinton. "I don't believe that either party has a monopoly on good ideas or strong leadership," he said, before enumerating how he disagreed with both the GOP and his audience in Philadelphia. "Too many Republicans wrongly blame immigrants for our problems, and they stand in the way of action on climate change and gun violence," he said. "Meanwhile, many Democrats wrongly blame the private sector for our problems, and they stand in the way of action on education reform and deficit reduction." Calling Donald Trump a "dangerous demagogue," he said, "I'm a New Yorker, and a know a con when I see one."
Vice President Biden tonight called President Obama "one of the finest presidents we have ever had" before launching into a passionate defense of Hillary Clinton. "Everybody knows she's smart. Everybody knows she's tough. But I know what she's passionate about," he said. "There's only one person in this race who will help you. ... It's not just who she is; it's her life story." But he paused to train some fire on her opponent "That's not Donald Trump's story," he said. "His cynicism is unbounded. ... No major party nominee in the history of this country has ever known less."