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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Kerry wants Assad to sit at the negotiating table

I wonder why anyone is surprised at this. It fits right in with how the Obama administration operates. US Secretary of State John FN Kerry wants to sponsor negotiations between Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian opposition.
Kerry told reporters Tuesday, “The world wants to stop the killing (in Syria). And we want to be able to see Assad and the Syrian opposition come to the table for the creation of a transitional government according to the framework that was created in Geneva, the Geneva Protocol, which requires mutual consent on both sides to the formation of that transitional government. That’s what we’re pushing for…” (See yesterday’s post, “Big Powers seeking table partners for Moaz”)
His remarks shocked much of the regional press.
Syria’s state-run media senses an American volte-face in Assad’s favor. Champress, for instance, declares ecstatically, “American body blow to the Turkish-Gulfite alliance: Kerry wants President Assad and the opposition to sit at the negotiation table.”
Likewise, Lebanese Hezbollah’s news portal, al-Manar, which reproduces the leader comment of pan-Arab daily al-Quds al-Arabi titled, “America retracts the call on Assad to step down.”
The Beirut daily al-Akhbar, which speaks for both Assad and Hezbollah, shouts from the rooftops, “Washington follows Moscow: A solution with Assad staying put.”
On the other side of the political divide, the Saudi newspaper of records Asharq Alawsat sounds downbeat, with its front-page banner announcing, “American position veers towards a ‘dialogue’ between the opposition and Assad.”
Editorially, eminent Syrian author and journalist Ghassan al-Mufleh writes in an op-ed for Elaph that Kerry – not the opposition -- should be the one to open the discourse with Assad.
This is totally in character for the Obama administration. They handled Iran the same way.

I certainly don't feel sorry for the Islamist opposition in Syria. But maybe if Obama had lifted a finger earlier, the opposition would not have gone Islamist. 

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