Prime Minister David Cameron and US President Barack Obama highlighted the need for ongoing pressure on Iran at a joint press conference in Washington yesterday. The two leaders also warned Syrian President Bashar Assad that the continuation of the brutal suppression of protest in the country would have dire consequences, including possible war-crimes prosecution.
On Iran, Obama warned Tehran that “the window for solving this issue diplomatically is shrinking” and pressed it to take seriously upcoming negotiations with world powers. He also warned that military action remains an option if sanctions and diplomacy fail.
Speaking on Syria, Cameron said that if Assad did not step aside in a political transition “then civil war or revolution is the inevitable consequence.” But both he and Obama made clear there was no desire for a Libya-style Western intervention.
In other news yesterday, Saudi Arabia shut down its embassy in the Syrian capital city of Damascus in the wake of the deteriorating security situation. The Syrian ambassador to Saudi Arabia was asked to leave several months ago, but the closing of the Saudi embassy marks a new low in relations between the countries.
Meanwhile yesterday, thousands of emails purporting to be from the Syrian presidential couple and their inner circle have been disclosed by Syrian opposition activists, throwing open the private life of the country’s dictator. The emails paint a picture of a ruling family that seems disconnected from an uprising that has pushed Syria to the brink of civil war, killing more than 8000 people over the past year, according to the UN.