Robert Stephen Ford
|Robert Stephen Ford|
|United States Ambassador to Syria|
December 29, 2010 – February 28, 2014
|Preceded by||Maura Connelly|
|Succeeded by||Larry Silverman|
|United States Ambassador to Algeria|
May 30, 2006 – June 26, 2008
|President||George W. Bush|
|Preceded by||Richard W. Erdman|
|Succeeded by||David D. Pearce|
|Profession||Diplomat, Career Ambassador|
Personal life and education
Ford is originally from Denver but is more recently a resident of Maryland. He received his Master of Arts in 1983 from Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies of The Johns Hopkins University. In addition to English, Ford speaks German, Turkish, French, and Arabic. A senior advisor to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq once described Ford as being "regarded as one of the best Arabists in the State Department". Ford is married to Alison Barkley, who is a fellow diplomat.
Ford is a career member of the United States Foreign Service. He entered the service in 1985 and has been stationed in İzmir, Cairo, Algiers, and Yaoundé. Ford served as Deputy Chief of Mission in Bahrain from 2001 until 2004, and Political Counselor to the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad from 2004 until 2006.
Ford was nominated for the position of United States Ambassador to Algeria by President George W. Bush on April 13, 2006. The nomination was sent to the Senate on April 24 and confirmed on May 27. He was sworn in on August 11. He served in the Algiers post until June 26, 2008.
The Senate then confirmed Ford by unanimous consent on October 3, 2011. As a result, Ford no longer is serving under a recess appointment and therefore may hold the position until Obama's term ends in January 2017.
On October 24, 2011, Ford was recalled from Syria due to what the State Department described as "credible threats" to his safety. Ford had attracted the ire of pro-Assad Syrians due to his strong support of the Syrian uprising. According to American officials, Ford had been attacked by an armed pro-government mob, and Syrian state television had begun running reports blaming him for the formation of death squads similar to those in Iraq. This led to fears that supporters of the Syrian government might try to kill him.
In August, 2013, it was reported by the New York Times that Secretary of State John Kerry has recommended that Ford serve as the next American ambassador to Egypt, following the incumbent ambassador, Anne W. Patterson, being nominated to serve as the assistant secretary of state in the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, which oversees the Middle East.
On February 28, 2014, the United States State Department announced that Ford had resigned as Envoy to Syria and that he would be resigning. This came after two sets of meetings that failed between the Syrian government and the Syrian opposition.
Actions in Syria
He visited Hama, where he was cheered by protesters. He visited a mass grave at Jisr ash-Shugur. He met with Hassan Abdul-Azim, and was attacked with eggs and tomatoes, by government supporters. On an interview with the Russian state-run Russia Today, former CIA intelligence officer Michael Scheuer alleged that prior to Ford's removal he was traveling across the country inciting groups to overthrow the government.
Ford is a recipient of several Department of State awards, including the 2005 James Clement Dunn Award for outstanding work at the mid-level in the Foreign Service as well as three Superior Honor Awards and two Meritorious Honor Awards. In 2012 Ford was awarded the Profile in Courage Award for his work as the US ambassador in Syria amidst "repeated threats to his life" where he was doing what was characterised as "traveling around Syria to encourage and support peaceful protesters targeted by Assad’s brutal crackdown."
- Gordon, Micheal. "American Envoy to Syria Steps Down". New York Times. Retrieved 2014-02-28.
- Daragahi, Borzou (2006-06-03). "Progress and Pain Marked Envoy's Tenure in Iraq". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-02-03.
- "Biography: Robert S. Ford (archive.org)". U.S. State Department. 2006-08-21. Archived from the original on 2008-04-11. Retrieved 2010-02-03.
- "Coalition Provisional Authority Briefing". GlobalSecurity.org. 2004-06-12. Retrieved 2010-02-03.
- "Bouteflika re-appoints Ouyahia as PM". Middle East Online. June 24, 2008.
- "US nominates first ambassador to Syria in five years". BBC News. 2010-02-03. Retrieved 2010-02-03.
- Phillip, Abby. "Ford in spotlight amid Syria revolt". Politico. Retrieved 2011-07-23.
- "U.S. Senate approves Robert Ford as ambassador". The Los Angeles Times. October 4, 2011.
- Radia, Kirit (October 24, 2011). "U.S. Brings Ambassador Ford Home From Syria, Citing Threats to Safety". ABC News. Retrieved October 24, 2011.
- "U.S. pulls envoy from Syria over safety concerns". CNN. October 24, 2011. Retrieved October 26, 2011.
- Mary Beth Sheridan (July 12, 2011). "Low-key U.S. diplomat transforms Syria Policy". The Washington Post.
- Leon Watson (29 September 2011). "U.S. Ambassador egged by angry mob in Syria who tried to storm building in Damascus". The Daily Mail (London).
- "Robert Ford, U.S. Ambassador To Syria, Pelted With Tomatoes". Huffington Post. September 29, 2011.
- "SYRIA: U.S. ambassador threatened by pro-government crowd". The Los Angeles Times. September 29, 2011.
- Ioffe, Julia (September / October 2010). "What Is Russia Today?". CJR.
- Scheuer, Michael; Chichakyan, Gayane (interviewer) (November 13, 2011). Ex-CIA Agent: America creates its own enemies (Television production). Washington, D.C.: Russia Today. Event occurs at 03:30. Retrieved January 7, 2012. "Until they removed the US ambassador he was running around the country trying to encourage groups to overthrow the Syrian government. That is not the role of any diplomat."
- "JFK awards for 3 Iowa Supreme Court justices, US ambassador to Syria for ‘doing what’s right’". Washington Post. Associated Press. May 6, 2012. Retrieved May 16, 2012.[dead link]
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Robert Stephen Ford.|
- US ambassador Robert Ford: Syria must 'respect human rights', BBC News, 4 October 2011
- "U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford Calls Crackdown in Hama "Grotesque" and "Abhorrent"", ABC News, Imtiyaz Delawala, August 4, 2011
- "Robert Ford: Families of Syrian-American protesters being tortured by regime", The Cable, Josh Rogin, September 26, 2011
- Rania Abouzeid (September 28, 2011). "U.S. to Syrians: 'Don't Expect Another Libya'". Time.
This article contains text in the public domain published by the U.S. Department of State.
Richard W. Erdman
|U.S. Ambassador to Algeria
David D. Pearce
|U.S. Ambassador to Syria