Who is US ambassador to Syria Robert S. Ford?

Sep 30, 2011 12:00 AM

The covert role of the US embassy in supporting an armed insurrection


by Michel Chossudovsky

In recent developments the US Ambassador to Syria Robert S. Ford has been "attacked" by "pro-regime demonstrators".
Described as an act of violence and aggression by the Western media, Ambassador Robert S. Ford was pelted with eggs and tomatoes in Damascus.

“We condemn this unwarranted attack in the strongest possible terms,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in a statement. “Ambassador Ford and his aides were conducting normal embassy business, and this attempt to intimidate our diplomats through violence is wholly unjustified.” (NYT, September 29, 2011)
Earlier, government supporters also threw tomatoes, eggs and stones at France's ambassador to Syria Eric Chevalier.

Who is Robert Stephen Ford?
Is his mission to Damascus one of peace and reconciliation?
Ambassador Robert S. Ford is no ordinary diplomat. He was US representative in January 2004 to the Shiite city of Najaf in Iraq. Najaf was the stronghold of the Mahdi army.
A few months later he was appointed "Number Two Man" (Minister Counsellor for Political Affairs), at the US embassy in Baghdad at the outset of John Negroponte's tenure as US Ambassador to Iraq (June 2004- April 2005).

Since his arrival in Damascus in late January 2011, Ambassador Robert S. Ford played a central role in laying the groundwork for the development of an armed insurgency directed against as the government of Bashar al Assad. US Ambassador Robert Ford arrived in Damascus in late January 2011 at the height of the protest movement in Egypt.
America's previous Ambassador to Syria was recalled by Washington following the 2005 assassination of former Prime minister Rafick Hariri, which was blamed, without evidence, on the government of Bashar Al Assad.

The author was in Damascus on January 27, 2011 when Washington's Envoy presented his credentials to the Al Assad government. At the outset of my visit to Syria in January 2011, I reflected on the significance of this diplomatic appointment and the role it might play in a covert process of political destabilization.
I did not, however, foresee that this process would be implemented within less than two months following the instatement of Robert S. Ford as US Ambassador to Syria.

The reinstatement of a US ambassador in Damascus, but more specifically the choice of Robert S. Ford as US ambassador, bears a direct relationship to the onset of the protest movement in mid-March against the government of Bashar al Assad.
Robert S. Ford was the man for the job. As "Number Two" at the US embassy in Baghdad (2004-2005) under the helm of Ambassador John D. Negroponte, he played a key role in implementing the Pentagon's "Iraq Salvador Option". The latter consisted in supporting Iraqi death squadrons and paramilitary forces modelled on the experience of Central America.

The Western media has misled public opinion on the nature of the Arab protest movement by failing to address the support provided by the US State Department as well as US foundations (including the National Endowment for Democracy (NED)) to selected pro-US opposition groups. Known and documented, the US State Department "has been funding opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad, since 2006”. (US admits funding Syrian opposition - World - CBC News April 18, 2011)
The protest movement in Syria was upheld by the media as part of the "Arab Spring", presented to public opinion as a pro-democracy protest movement which spread spontaneously from Egypt and the Maghreb to the Mashriq. The fact of the matter is that these various country initiatives were closely timed and coordinated. (Michel Chossudovsky, The Protest Movement in Egypt: "Dictators" do not Dictate, They Obey Orders, Global Research, January 29, 2011)

There is reason to believe that events in Syria, however, were planned well in advance in coordination with the process of regime change in other Arab countries including Egypt and Tunisia. The outbreak of the protest movement in the southern border city of Daraa was carefully timed to follow the events in Tunisia and Egypt.
It is worth noting that the US Embassy in various countries has played a central role in supporting opposition groups. In Egypt, for instance, the April 6 Youth Movement was supported directly by the US embassy in Cairo.

Michel Chossudovsky is Professor of Economics (emeritus) at the University of Ottawa and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG). He is a contributor to the Encyclopedia Britannica. His writings have been translated into more than 20 languages.

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