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Germany expels Syrian envoy over massacre

The Local · 29 May 2012, 15:33

Published: 29 May 2012 14:29 GMT+02:00
Updated: 29 May 2012 15:33 GMT+02:00

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"The Syrian regime is responsible for the dreadful events in Houla," Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said in a statement.

He added that whoever employs heavy weapons against his own people "should reckon with serious diplomatic and political consequences."

"We are aiming to ensure that our unmistakable message does not fall on deaf ears in Damascus," Westerwelle said.

Westerwelle called again on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down, saying the country had "no future" under him. "He must leave the way clear for a peaceful transition in Syria," Westerwelle said.

The 52-year-old Syrian ambassador, Radwan Loutfi, was summoned to the Foreign Ministry in Berlin on Tuesday and told he had 72 hours to leave the country.

Germany's move was part of a coordinated European diplomatic assault following the killings, with France, Britain, Italy and Spain also expelling top diplomats in protest.

Australia also expelled Syria's top diplomat over the "hideous and brutal" massacre, and Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr said he expected other countries to follow suit.

"This is the most effective way we've got of sending a message of revulsion to the Syrian government," Carr said, adding that Syrian charge d'affaires Jawdat Ali and another unnamed official had 72 hours to leave the country.

World leaders have voiced outrage over the deaths of at least 108 people in the central town of Houla on Friday and Saturday, among them 49 children and 34 women.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights estimated on Tuesday that fewer than 20 of the 108 victims in Houla were killed by artillery and tank fire.

"Most of the rest of the victims in Taldu, one of the areas of Houla, were summarily executed in two separate incidents," UNHCR spokesman Rupert Colville said in Geneva.

Local residents blamed the executions on a paramilitary group that "essentially supports the government forces," he added. Eyewitnesses to the massacre reportedly saw members of "shabiha," a pro-Assad militia, going door-to-door in Houla, killing residents with guns and knives, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reported.

Story continues below…

The foreign ministry expelled four Syrian diplomats in February after two men were arrested on suspicion of spying on opponents of the Syrian regime in Germany.

AFP/The Local/mbw


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

14:57 May 29, 2012 by Edin
Typical show of how hypocritical EU and US are when it comes to interventions. Syria just like Bosnia once has no Oil or Gas reserves or any worth for that metter... so why bother?! It is 100 people now, and in few months it will be thousands, just like in Bosnia - Srebrenica and Milosevic, Karadic and Mladic. They send UN watch troups, who just watch people being slaugthered.... at the and they pick them up and sentence them to prisons in sweeden which are like 4 star hotels.

When I think of how easy they got Gadafi in Lybia or how much money and effort was put in for Saddam, It makes me physically sick when they talk about expelling ambasadors. Hypocrites!
15:02 May 29, 2012 by mobaisch

I admire every letter you wrote. Respect! Its perfectly described.
17:15 May 29, 2012 by raandy
If memory serves me correct it was the USA air strikes that finally brought an end to Bosnia, while the EU did little in their back yard.

Libya , at this point is inundated with Al Qaeda, out come very uncertain, Egypt poised for Sharia Law. Syria's Assad claims that Al Qaeda has been active there as a result of the civil war. looking at the results of this so called Arab Spring, there seems to be a lot of Islamic fundamentalist at work and behind the scenes of these conflicts drawing in western powers to help in their cause, No doubt Iran being an Islamic Republic is actively involved in this conflict.

The massacre as horrific as it is may and should be investigated more ,before western powers go off half cocked or ill informed.
18:03 May 29, 2012 by Kosmonaughty
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
18:28 May 29, 2012 by catjones
Kosmonaughty...in your continuing effort to find facts wherever they may be you throw around terms like 'revealed on television' and 'the plan' and 'no need to speculate' and 'CIA franchise' whilst you piece together fragments to fit your predetermined picture. To posit al-Qaeda as a NATO allied tool discredits all you've said and will say.
20:21 May 29, 2012 by Kosmonaughty
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
20:25 May 29, 2012 by 9900lawre
I'm not interested in the politics or the conspiracy theories but i am very interested in the Bosnia comparison.

Whilst Bosnia was right on our doorstep and we dragged our heals and eventually acted, The Arab league has it on their doorstep and should eventually act.

You can eventually stop the slaughter but you can't put a stop to eastern culture. It's not right but here will always be this level of barbarity in the east.
20:32 May 29, 2012 by SchwabHallRocks
Edin - Germany is not hypocritical. Rather, Germany is perfectly consistent - pontificate and do nothing.

Kosmonaughty is a "text book" case if you read on why persons believe in conspiracy theories. He has a belief and then backs into the data, wherever he can find it.

Syria is like Lebanon. After 40 years, the West has learned not to bother with nations that really are not nations. Read "From Beirut to Jerusalem" for some fascinating insight.
20:52 May 29, 2012 by Kosmonaughty
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
22:11 May 29, 2012 by SchwabHallRocks
Kosmo - I'll take the bait...

How do we know the number / percent of Al Qaeda personnel in Libya last year? What is your source and I'll read it.

I do not understand why a photo of a Libyan with a german-made gun is indicative of... what? That Europe / NATO gave a gun to a person to defend themselves?
23:38 May 29, 2012 by ChrisRea
Oh, I think the photo accompanying the article was made by Marco Di Lauro, but not in Syria of 2012 - actually it was in Iraq in 2003. What does the photographer say after the picture was published by BBC? ¦quot;Somebody is using my images as a propaganda against the Syrian government to prove the massacre.¦quot;



This problem should be further investigated.
00:33 May 30, 2012 by wood artist
In the world of politics, only one thing remains eternally true. If you want to find a conspiracy, you always can, simply because you can string together a couple of real things, that have nothing whatsoever to do with each other, and then create the illusion that they do.

00:35 May 30, 2012 by raandy
Kosmonaughty, I can see you are on a mission, I never like to step in front of a train.

Your accusation may or may not be spot on,at this time I would like to see some more evidence to support these statements. I have no doubts that the USA (CIA)was working to remove these people,I am dubious that they employed AL Qaeda.

My rant was more to the fact that in removing these leaders, their replacements may be worse and their predecessors.

Libya's chances for any type of democracy is uncertain at this time,actually I doubt that the original goal (or the one they played up to the world)for democracy will ever come to pass.

My big question is ,Were the western nations duped from the beginning?

We can beat this around and postulate all we want but time will tell what fruit will be forth coming from all this violence, death and destruction.
01:53 May 30, 2012 by IchBinKönig
'We can beat this around and postulate all we want but time will tell what fruit will be forth coming from all this violence, death and destruction. '

The smart money is on 'even more violence, death and destruction.'

The Arab Spring never wanted Democracy, but claiming it was enough to bring the International support(of course, if there was enough oil that is)
02:32 May 30, 2012 by Eastard
Boys and Girls.... The article is not about the lack of connections between current political decisions and those of the distant past... Germany dismissed relations with a country behaving very very poorly... period... In this dismissal, there are many reductions in relations to accompany this break in relations... It was intended to help neuter Syria... absolutely nothing to do with Bosnia or the whales near Antarctica... Read and comprehend before you connect the dots... Germany did a good thing to do this... Russia/China are selling "we really dont care who you kill as long as we can do business"...Focus on Syria... their leadership.... and the beginning of the end for Christians in the Middle East..
04:28 May 30, 2012 by SchwabHallRocks
Eastard -

Not sure how long you have been visiting the Local.De. You are spot on that the blogging seldom has anything to do with the article. The blogs usually spin off on thinly-related tangents.

It's just a matter of time before some of our favorite blogtards start telling us the killing in Syria is the fault of Israel or a Jewish plot. Then we'll hear about how the blogtards would rather live in Syria or Iran or Libya because these nations are not as repressive as Israel.

From there, some 3rd-world blogtard will complain that we focus on the European Holocaust too much and need to think about how the Moslems in Indonesia are the victims of a Jewish banking plot to short-sell the rice crop or how Christian Knights Templar persecuted nature worshipers in Latvia in 1100 AD...

If we get lucky, someone like EnglishTed will find a good joke in all of it...
05:33 May 30, 2012 by hanskarl
If I remember correctly the CIA worked with the Taliban in Afghanistan, not with Al Qaeda. Regardless, this was totally amoral and with the strength of Syrian ties to Iran and Russia this is perhaps the best in the slow ramp up of pressure the rest of the world could or would do based on the situation and circumstances. Les just remember that once Arab Spring concludes and Sharia law is imposed Syria will be nothing more than a richer and more powerful Afghanistan with Sharia's total oppression of women and rank intolerance.
11:58 May 30, 2012 by catjones
hanskarl...'Sharia's total oppression of women and rank intolerance. '

As opposed to Assad's current government? Read article above.
15:35 May 30, 2012 by Kosmonaughty
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
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