Muslim Outreach: Obama Sends 1st Ambassador to Syria in 5 Years

Muslim Outreach: Obama Sends 1st Ambassador to Syria in 5
Years

January 21st, 2011

Elizabeth A. Kennedy, The Huffington Post

The first American ambassador to Syria since 2005 arrived in Damascus on
Sunday at a time of regional turmoil and with Syrian-U.S. relations still mired
in mutual distrust.
Few expect immediate changes, but having career diplomat Robert Ford in
Damascus offers Washington a better glimpse into Syria at a time of rising
tensions – particularly in neighboring Lebanon, where the Western-backed
government collapsed last week.
“Intelligence sharing is the most promising overlap in U.S.-Syrian
relations,” said Joshua Landis, an American professor and Syria expert. He noted
that like Washington, Syria’s secular regime is against al-Qaida and “takfiri”
Islamists, referring to an ideology that urges Sunni Muslims to kill anyone they
consider an infidel.
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