The recent hysteria surrounding John Kerry’s remarks regarding the necessity of negotiating with Bashar al-Assad has provoked both criticism and praise from a number of very different quarters. Unfortunately, however, the opinions of those up in either arms or exaltation are largely the result of misreporting, war psychosis, and simply reading headlines instead of articles.
While the chorus of the usual suspects of Neo-Con rightwing warmongers and Humanitarian Bomber/R2P leftists erupted in anger at the very thought of the United States inching away from total war in Syria, other commentators and analysts erupted for joy at what they saw as the US State Department tacitly admitting that they had lost the war and that they were going to be forced to accept Assad as the legitimate Syrian leader.
Both sides of the issue could largely agree the remarks meant that the United States was coming to terms that Assad had outlasted the attempts of the US to oust him.
Unfortunately, both sides were completely wrong as only a further reading of any mainstream article would have demonstrated.
Kerry’s statements came as he spoke to Margaret Brennan of Face the Nation. Kerry stated,
KERRY: We are working very hard with other interested parties to see if we can reignite a diplomatic outcome. Why? Because everybody agrees there is no military solution. There is only a political solution. But to get the Assad regime to negotiate, we’re going to have to make it clear to him that there is a determination by everybody to seek that political outcome and change his calculation about negotiating. That’s under way right now. And—and I am convinced that with the efforts of our allies and others, there will be increased pressure on Assad.Immediately after the remarks, the mainstream Western Press went into overdrive suggesting that John Kerry and the United States were making concessions to Assad. With headlines like “Kerry Willing To Talk To Assad To Stem Violence In Syria” from PBS, “Kerry: US Will Have To Recognize Syrian Dictator Assad - State Department Walks Back Assertion,” from Breitbart, and “U.S. Will Negotiate With Assad, says Kerry, on 4th Anniversary of Syrian Civil War” from the IB Times, one could scarcely blame the general public from seeing Kerry’s statement as anything but a change of policy.
BRENNAN: And you’d be willing to negotiate with him?
KERRY: Well, we have to negotiate in the end.
Unfortunately, much of the alternative media simply followed suit and reported largely the same information but from a perspective of surprise and satisfaction at the possibility of war avoidance.
But one need only read Kerry’s statement further to see that war avoidance is most certainly not the case.
Skull and Bones John Kerry never stated that the United States must recognize Assad as the legitimate leader of Syria, nor did he suggest that the U.S. is backing away on their strategy of destabilization and proxy invasion. What Kerry said is what Kerry has been saying all along – Assad must go.
Note that Kerry also stated the United States would be willing to negotiate with Assad’s government “if he's ready to have a serious negotiation about the implementation of Geneva I," the agreement reached by an international group of governments in 2012 that sought to force a “political transition” with Assad stepping down.
Shortly after the howl of the war hawks began to reach fever pitch, the State Department was forced to wheel out its favorite Humanitarian Bombers and leftist “Responsibility to Protect” spokeswomen to reassure the more frothing warmongers that the United States was in no way backing off its proxy invasion and destabilization campaign.
State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki stated that “As we have long said, Assad must go and be replaced through a negotiated political transition that is representative of the Syrian people.”
Deputy Spokeswoman Marie Harf also released a statement attempting to clear up Kerry’s comments by pointing out that U.S. policy towards Syria “has not changed” and that Assad himself would never be part of any negotiations.
On March 17, top U.S. Envoy and “ISIS Czar” General John Allen told Turkish officials that the U.S. does want a negotiated peace settlement in Syria but one that excludes President Assad.
Statements from the US Embassy in Ankara make this position clear. As Reuters reports,
‘General Allen reiterated that the United States' position on Assad has not changed,’ the U.S. embassy in Ankara said in a statement after Allen, the special envoy responsible for building the anti-Islamic State coalition, held talks in Ankara.
‘The United States believes that he has lost all legitimacy to govern, that conditions in Syriaunder his rule have led to the rise of ISIL (Islamic State) and other terrorist groups, and that we continue to seek a negotiated political outcome to the Syrian conflict that does not in the end include Assad.’
Allen held ‘constructive talks’ with Turkish foreign ministry undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu late on Tuesday and welcomed Turkey's support in the training of vetted members of Syria's opposition, the statement said.In addition to Allen’s statements, it is important to point out that Kerry’s statement referred to his being convinced that there will be “increased pressure” on Assad to step down. He also said that “It may require that there be increased pressure on him of various kinds in order to do that. We’ve made it very clear to people that we are looking at increased steps that can help bring about that pressure.”
This “pressure” can take a variety of means – the continued arming, funding, training, and directing of al-Qaeda/ISIS terrorists, political pressure, and further US led bombing efforts against Syrian infrastructure - all of which the United States is currently engaged in.
Note, however, that, as recent as March 5, Kerry referenced the possibility that “military pressure” may be needed to oust Assad.
Kerry said that, “Ultimately a combination of diplomacy and pressure will be needed to bring about a political transition. Military pressure particularly may be necessary given President Assad's reluctance to negotiate seriously. He’s lost any semblance of legitimacy, but we have no higher priority than disrupting and defeating Daesh and other terror networks.” Kerry made these statements in Saudi Arabia’s Riyadh Air Base at a meeting of Gulf Foreign ministers.
Make no mistake, the United States is not interested in “peaceful settlements” unless the settlement is total capitulation of its “enemies.”
John Kerry’s statements are not legitimizing Assad as the rightful Syrian leader nor are they an overture for peace. They are an affirmation of the West’s attack on Assad and Syria and it is a statement that, if nothing else, reaffirms the stance that the U.S. and NATO have had since the beginning of the crisis.
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