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Syria can only be contained, not extinguished, top former U.S. diplomat Ryan Crocker tells CNN’s Amanpour

September 11th, 2013
03:30 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

The United States has fundamentally misread the uprising and subsequent civil war in Syria, the former American ambassador to that country and one of American’s most experienced Foreign Service officers told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday.

“I think we made a mistake right at the beginning in somehow thinking that Syria was like Egypt, like Tunisia, like Libya,” Ryan Crocker told Amanpour. “You and I know it's not.”

That misreading has lead Crocker to a stark conclusion.

“Assad isn't going anywhere outside of Syria anytime soon, if ever,” he said. “And maybe we're beginning to understand that.”

Crocker is a career diplomat who has served as ambassador to Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Pakistan.


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • Syria

Russia to America’s rescue?

September 11th, 2013
03:13 PM ET

By Mick Krever

To many, Russia is taking the lead on resolving the standoff over Syria’s chemical weapons - but it doesn’t seem that way to Russia’s European Union ambassador, Vladimir Chizhov.

“It’s not an issue of claiming fatherhood,” he told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour from Brussels. “Success has many fathers, but failure is always an orphan. So we would like to share the fatherhood with anybody who is interested, provided it is a success.”

The plan has upended President Obama’s push for military action; he now is cautiously endorsing the proposal to put Syria’s chemical weapons under international control.

But what, exactly, that plan will entail is unclear. A Syrian cabinet minister told the AP on Wednesday that the weapons would not be physically moved, but would just be put under international supervision.

Chizhov disagreed with that assessment.

“It envisages placing the chemical weapons stockpile of Syria under international supervision,” he said, “and also addressing the issue of succession of the Syrian Arab Republic to the convention on banning chemical weapons.”


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • Russia • Syria

What was President Obama's message on Syria?

September 11th, 2013
12:12 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Mick Krever is the Digital Producer of “Amanpour”

If you watched President Obama’s speech on Syria last night and wondered “what was his message?” you’re not alone.

The original goal was to convince the American people, and the U.S. Congress, to authorize him to use military force against Syria in response to President Assad’s use of chemical weapons.

But what the world saw was not a full-throated endorsement of that goal, but rather a melange of mixed messages.


Filed under:  From the Amanpour team

David Miliband tells Amanpour: Obama convinced Putin to shift policy because of military threat

September 11th, 2013
09:11 AM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Russia’s earthmoving proposal to secure chemical weapons was not the result of benevolence, but because of President Obama’s threat of force, David Miliband, the new head of the International Rescue Committee and former British Foreign Secretary told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday.

“I think President Obama convinced President Putin … that he was carrying a very big stick,” Miliband said in an exclusive interview in New York. “I think the Russians have taken that seriously. It would be wrong to describe Syria purely as a client state of Russia, but Russia is clearly a very influential ally of President Assad. And I think they've realized that the game was up. And I think that basically explains the shift that you're seeing.”

Whatever the outcome of a potential diplomatic deal – or military airstrikes – the humanitarian crisis in Syria seems to have gone ignored.

As the head of an organization whose chief focus is people in desperate situations, it is this aspect that Miliband is desperately trying to get the world to focus on.

“The use of chemical weapons is the tip of the humanitarian iceberg in this Syrian crisis,” he told Amanpour. “One in three Syrians have been driven from their homes. Two million Syrians out of the country.”


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • Syria

Imagine a World: An assault on humanity in India

September 11th, 2013
09:06 AM ET

An Indian court has just convicted four men in the gang-rape and murder of a young woman on a New Delhi bus last December.

According to UNICEF, 50% of Indian men condone domestic violence.

CNN's Christiane Amanpour tells the story.

Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • India • Latest Episode

What 1998 strikes against Iraq can teach us about Syria

September 11th, 2013
05:38 AM ET

Appearing on AC360 Later with CNN's Anderson Cooper, Christiane Amanpour asked David Kay, former chief U.N. weapons inspector in Iraq, about the efficacy of air strikes against Iraq in 1998.

"I tell you, at the time of the strike I confess I was a skeptic," he said. "Blowing up empty buildings in the middle of the night didn't strike me as terribly effective."

But Kay said his mind was changed when he visited Iraq years later.