Clinton: Syria's Assad Has Lost Legitimacy

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Four months ago, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was calling Syria's President Bashar Assad a "reformer."

But this week, Clinton stopped just short of calling for regime change after an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Damascus Monday.

The pro-Assad mob that attacked the U.S. and French embassies may have triggered the beginning of the end for their leader.

While the French seek United Nations condemnation of the attacks, Clinton warned that Assad has lost his legitimacy to lead the country.

"Let me also add that if anyone, including President Assad, thinks that the United States is secretly hoping that the regime will emerge from this turmoil to continue its brutality and oppression, they are wrong," Clinton said.

"President Assad is not indispensible and we have absolutely nothing invested in him remaining in power," she said.

U.S. officials believe Monday's embassy attacks may have been payback for U.S. Ambassador Robert Ford's visit to an opposition rally last week in the city of Hama.

At that rally, Ford was given a hero's welcome and his limo was showered with roses.

"This is about distracting your attention, the press's attention, the world's attention from the real story, which is the story of the Syrian people in cities across the country protesting peacefully and demanding change," State Dept. spokesperson Victoria Nuland said.

Protesters were out in force again Tuesday night in the city of Homs, and more anti-government demonstrations are expected on Friday.

The uncertainty in Syria is troubling for Assad's allies in Iran and Lebanon. CBN News reported last week that Israeli defense experts believe the terror group Hezbollah has moved its strategic weapons, such as scud missiles, out of Syria and into Lebanon.

Because they are fearful of what might happen if Assad falls, of whose hands will everything could fall into. The instability of Syria could threaten or endanger the assets they have there.

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John Waage

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John Waage has covered politics and analyzed elections for CBN News since 1980, including primaries, conventions, and general elections. 

He also analyzes the convulsive politics of the Middle East.