Robert Stephen Ford
|Robert Stephen Ford|
Ford (circa 2011)
|United States Ambassador to Syria|
January 28, 2011 – February 28, 2014
|Preceded by||Maura Connelly|
|Succeeded by||Daniel Rubinstein (as Special Envoy)|
|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|
1958 (age 59–60)|
|Alma mater||Johns Hopkins University|
|Profession||Diplomat, Career Ambassador|
Personal life and education
Ford is married to Alison Barkley, who is a fellow diplomat.
He was nominated for the position of U.S. Ambassador to Algeria by U.S. President George W. Bush on April 13, 2006. The nomination was sent to the U.S. Senate on April 24 and confirmed on May 27. Ford was sworn in on August 11. He served in the Algiers post until June 26, 2008.
In 2010, U. S. President Barack Obama nominated Ford as the first U.S. Ambassador to Syria in five years (pending U.S. Senate approval). In December 2010, after the U.S. Senate had failed to act on the nomination, Obama used a recess appointment to secure Ford the position. The Senate then confirmed Ford by unanimous consent on October 3, 2011. As a result, Ford no longer was serving under a recess appointment and therefore could have held the position until Obama's term ended in January 2017.
On October 24, 2011, Ford was recalled from Syria due to what the U.S. 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 U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had recommended that Ford serve as the next U.S. Ambassador to Egypt, following the incumbent ambassador, Anne W. Patterson, being nominated to serve as the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs – the head of the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs within the U.S. Department of State, which oversees the Middle East.
In 2014 and 2015, Ford said he could "no longer defend" the Obama Administration's Syria policy, claiming that if the Administration armed the moderate rebels, the al-Qaida groups would have been "unable to compete". He later walked back these comments and shifted his criticism towards the rebel groups for cooperating with jihadists.
Actions in Syria
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. During an interview with the Russian state-run television network  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 Excellence 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 by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation for his work as the U.S. ambassador in Syria amidst "repeated threats to his life" where he was doing what was characterized as "traveling around Syria to encourage and support peaceful protesters targeted by Assad's brutal crackdown".
- Gordon, Michael R. (February 28, 2014). "American Envoy to Syria Steps Down". The New York Times. Retrieved April 28, 2014.
- Daragahi, Borzou (June 3, 2006). "Progress and Pain Marked Envoy's Tenure in Iraq". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 3, 2010.
- "Biography: Robert S. Ford (archive.org)". U.S. State Department. August 21, 2006. Archived from the original on April 11, 2008. Retrieved February 3, 2010.
- "Coalition Provisional Authority Briefing". GlobalSecurity.org. June 12, 2004. Retrieved February 3, 2010.
- "Bouteflika Re-Appoints Ouyahia as PM". Middle East Online. June 24, 2008. Archived from the original on April 3, 2012. Retrieved January 16, 2011.
- "US Nominates First Ambassador to Syria in Five Years". BBC News. February 3, 2010. Retrieved February 3, 2010.
- Phillip, Abby. "Ford in Spotlight Amid Syria Revolt". Politico. Retrieved July 23, 2011.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 2, 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-21. . United States Senate.
- "U.S. Senate Approves Robert Ford as Ambassador". 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.
- Gordon, Michael R. (August 4, 2013). "Former Envoy to Syria Said to Be Choice for Cairo Post". The New York Times.
- "U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford to retire: sources". Reuters. February 4, 2014.
- Staff (February 28, 2014). "U.S. Names Larry Silverman as Temporary Point Man on Syria". Reuters. Retrieved June 6, 2014.
- Staff (March 17, 2014). "U.S. Names Envoy to Replace Retiring Ambassador to Syria". Reuters. Retrieved June 6, 2014.
- "Former U.S. Ambassador Says He Could 'No Longer Defend' Obama Administration's Syria Policy" (June 3, 2014), PBS NewsHour
- Once a top booster, ex-U.S. envoy no longer backs arming Syrian rebels, Hannah Allam, McClatchy Washington Bureau, February 2015
- Sheridan, Mary Beth (July 12, 2011). "Low-Key U.S. Diplomat Transforms Syria Policy". The Washington Post.
- Watson, Leon (September 29, 2011). "U.S. Ambassador Egged by Angry Mob in Syria Who Tried to Storm Building in Damascus". Daily Mail.
- "Robert Ford, U.S. Ambassador to Syria, Pelted with Tomatoes". The Huffington Post. September 29, 2011.
- "Syria: U.S. Ambassador Threatened by Pro-Government Crowd". Los Angeles Times. September 29, 2011.
- Ioffe, Julia (September–October 2010). "What Is Russia Today?". Columbia Journalism Review.
- Scheuer, Michael; Chichakyan, Gayane (interviewer) (November 13, 2011). Ex-CIA Agent: America Creates Its Own Enemies (television production). Washington, D.C.: Russia Today (via YouTube). 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'". The Washington Post. Associated Press. May 6, 2012. Retrieved May 16, 2012.[dead link]
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Robert Stephen Ford.|
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- Appearances on C-SPAN
- "US Ambassador Robert Ford: Syria Must 'Respect Human Rights'". BBC News. October 4, 2011.
- Delawala, Imtiyaz (August 4, 2011). "U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford Calls Crackdown in Hama 'Grotesque' and 'Abhorrent'". ABC News.
- Rogin, Josh (September 26, 2011). "Robert Ford: Families of Syrian-American Protesters Being Tortured by Regime". The Cable (part of Foreign Policy magazine)
- Abouzeid, Rania (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