In POLITICO, Senior Fellow Josh Block explains why the Senate should renew U.S. Ambassador Robert Ford’s appointment to Syria:
At a time when the Syrian regime continues to brutally murder its own citizens clamoring for democracy and an end to the Assad regime’s terrorist-sponsoring police state, perhaps the last thing Congress should be considering is forfeiting one of the few tools we have on the ground supporting the Syrian people.
After several months of regrettable delay, Robert Ford, President Obama’s ambassador to Syria, has spent recent weeks launching one creative campaign after another. A talented diplomat with years of experience in the Arab world, he has put himself in harm’s way, making trips to some of Syria’s most dangerous war zones to highlight the regime’s crimes and to show support for its victims — defying the regime’s travel restrictions, gathering information, listening to protesters and garnering positive headlines. In a region of the world in which American diplomats have been kidnapped by Syrian proxies and tortured for literally years, his actions are not just effective but brave.
Despite all this, Ambassador Ford’s tenure may soon come to an abrupt and unnecessary end. While the Syrian regime has yet to throw him out of the country, the United States Senate may be responsible for his expulsion by refusing to extend his term.