U.S. Ambassador Robert Ford's visit to Syria  has drawn the condemnation of the Assad regime. Ford visited the city of Hama, a center of anti-Assad sentiment, where  pro-democracy activists  greeted him with flowers and olive branches. Meanwhile, in Damascus, pro-Assad demonstrators hurled rocks and eggs at the U.S. Embassy, protesting Ford's visit.   What was the thinking behind the ambassador's visit and will it have a lasting effect on the situation in the country?  Richard Murphy, who was U.S. Ambassador to Syria from 1974 to 1978, gives his analysis of the situation.

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