Syria's Assad Awaits U.S. 'Actions' after Kerry Comments

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  • W460
  • W460

Syria's President Bashar Assad said Monday he was waiting for action from Washington after Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledged talks with Damascus were necessary to end the country's conflict.

The weekend remarks by the top U.S. envoy were quickly clarified when his spokeswoman said Washington's policy was unchanged and Assad had no role in Syria's future.

But in Damascus, local media touted Kerry's remarks as a reversal of U.S. policy, even though Assad said he was waiting to see whether they would followed by action.

"We are still listening to the comments and we have to wait for the actions and then we'll decide," the Syrian leader told Iranian television in remarks carried by Syrian state media.

Assad has long accused Washington of "supporting terrorism" because of its backing for the Syrian opposition, and repeated Monday that any shift in policy required an end to that.

"We have no choice but to defend our country," he added.

"Any international changes that come about within that framework are something positive, if they are honest and have an effect on the ground."


- 'We have to negotiate' -  

He was speaking after Kerry said in an interview broadcast Sunday that Washington could negotiate with Assad.

"Well, we have to negotiate in the end," he said, when asked by CBS television if he would negotiate with Assad.

Kerry stressed that any negotiations would be in the context of the Geneva communique, a document produced after a first round of talks between regime and opposition that calls for a transitional governing body with full executive powers, but makes no mention of Assad's future.

Syria's government insists Assad's departure from office is not up for discussion, while the opposition and its backers have long insisted he can have no role in the country's future after a bloody four-year civil war.

In the interview, Kerry made no reference to Assad's future, but said pressure was being applied on the leader to bring him to the negotiating table.

"That's under way right now. And I am convinced that, with the efforts of our allies and others, there will be increased pressure on Assad," he said.

Kerry's spokeswoman insisted his comments were consistent with U.S. policy, but Syrian media said they underlined the "failure" of Washington's policy towards Syria and acknowledgement that Assad will not be ousted militarily. 

"Facing a fait accompli, the American administration has backed down and recognised the need to reposition its policy on the Syria crisis," wrote Al-Watan, which is close to the government.


- 'Recognising Assad's legitimacy' - 

"This is a new recognition of President Assad's legitimacy, his key role and his popularity, and the resulting necessity of negotiating with him," the daily said.

The newspaper suggested Kerry's comments could pave the way for American participation in talks on the conflict hosted by Russia next month.

Moscow, a key Assad ally, is seeking to sponsor its own peace initiative, but there has been no indication of whether the U.S.-backed Syrian opposition will attend the April 6 talks.

Kerry's comment drew consternation from some in the Syrian opposition.

Samir Nashar, a member of the U.S.-backed Syrian opposition National Coalition, said the remarks appeared to be a "test".

"They are an intentional test to see the reactions of Syrians and of countries that support the Syrian revolution," he told Agence France Presse.

Nashar said the statement had "blurred the American position".

"America used to say that Assad had to step down... But now, Kerry has adopted this ambiguity that keeps Assad afloat in any political solution." 

Kerry's remarks come after CIA head John Brennan also warned that Washington feared that a chaotic collapse of Syria's government could usher in an Islamist takeover.

On the ground, activists said Kerry's remarks came as no real surprise.

"This was their real position under the table, but now it's out in the open," said Abu Omar Maamoun, an activist in the northern province of Aleppo.

Many in the Syrian opposition have been angered by what they call U.S. indifference to their plight and the international focus on the Islamic State jihadist group instead of regime actions.

Comments 25
Thumb Mystic 16 March 2015, 14:45

Too bad, they need Assad more than he needs them now.

Thumb Mystic 16 March 2015, 17:19

If that is your way of sarcasm texas, then you are indeed very predictable.

Thumb liberty 17 March 2015, 04:35


Default-user-icon mahdi firuz berhouz (Guest) 16 March 2015, 15:32

hahahahahahahahaha! What can one say about you: Wit, Humor, Intelligence, and cuteness! Somesing Anazar Flamesrower!!

Thumb _mowaten_ 16 March 2015, 16:05

the saudis will do as they are told, they're just puppets.

Thumb Machia 16 March 2015, 16:15

What we are seeing is pure international politics at play where power is the only rule.
The end game for the US and Israel was the Iranian nuclear program and for Iran and Syria to become rational regional players that do not constitute a threat to US and Israeli interests.
The US is on the verge of capping Iran's nuclear ambitions and will potentially get it to cap its anti-Israeli actions (but not rhetoric).
The new enemy is ISIL and will be for some years to come.
Now the US is in control of the region and can clearly say that they must talk to Assad, whom they never wanted to get rid of in the first place, (or else they would have the way they did with Gaddafi.
Bashar Assad, unlike his father, was a little too ambitious and too inline with Iranian ambitions and he made his country and his people pay a very heavy price.

Thumb _mowaten_ 16 March 2015, 16:30

1- iran has no nuclear weapons intentions, reports from the CIA and even mossad have confirmed this many times

2- they did try to do to assad the same as they did to kaddafi, but while kaddafi had no real air defenses, assad does, while russia did not react for libya, they clearly did for syria (deploying battleships when the US threatened to bomb syria), and while tribes in libya joined the US war effort (lead by known qaeda operatives) the majority of syrian people stood firm in support of assad. plus, assad had a little bonus called hezbollah :)

Thumb _mowaten_ 16 March 2015, 16:32

it came at an immense price, but assad won the international war waged against him, and now they have no choice but to reconsider their lousy former choices.

Thumb _mowaten_ 16 March 2015, 17:07

yea dont worry about my beliefs, just worry about how you're going to rationalize it when it's done.

Thumb _mowaten_ 16 March 2015, 17:51

that's a lot of wishing for one day anonyme, go rub a lamp.

Thumb _mowaten_ 16 March 2015, 23:56

ok mate, i will. now go get some sleep.

Thumb _mowaten_ 16 March 2015, 16:41

already told you (and proved to you with news reports) that there was no syrian officials in geneva 1, how many times will you peddle this delusion of yours?

Thumb Mystic 16 March 2015, 17:16

Machia, there is a few points where you are wrong. Gadaffi did not have the same regional and international support, as Assad have.

Assad have both Russia & Iran as allies, which means the U.S have always had second thoughts of bombing the Syrian government.

I for one believe, that bombing the Syrian government and Resistance fighters are still an option for the U.S, I do not believe for a second that they will reach any agreements like that.

If the U.S decides to do that, then we will simply have World war 3, Iran would interfeer, the Russians would probaly go all in on Ukraine aswell. So this is a dangerous game indeed, we will see what the future holds.

Thumb Mystic 16 March 2015, 17:53

That is not what happend in 2013 texas, do you remember when we wrote back then? Actually I believed that the U.S would bomb Syria back then, but it never happened.

I then realized, the U.S were simply not the same "power" it once was, be it democrats or republicans, makes no difference their populace had enough wars.

Here is the Russian President saying the opposite of your link -

Iran aswell said so -

These are western site links by the way.

Thumb Mystic 16 March 2015, 19:32

Chlorine gas dates back to World war 1. It is not very advanced anymore texas, it was toxic wastes nothing else. The Syrian army have way more improved weaponry by now.
That the U.S got some old chemical stockpiles makes no difference and they even helped paying to ship it out, with the rest of U.N aswell. It was not a huge lost for Assad, as you are trying to make it appear.

The U.S just needed a little something, so it seemed like they were still victorious in some way. Assad gave them a bone, they quickly took it.

Thumb _mowaten_ 16 March 2015, 17:52

i'm not distracting, i just dont care about the topic you're struggling with. i'm just pointing out facts and your blatant lies.

Thumb _mowaten_ 16 March 2015, 19:45

again calling that a minor detail? you're incorrigible kiddo :D

Thumb _mowaten_ 16 March 2015, 23:56

lol anonyme, in your last 2 comments you referred 4 times to your imagined conversation with Machia, using all the possible synonyms in the process:
-"interrupted my conversation with Machia"
-"I was discussing with Machia"
-"I was arguing with Machia"
-"my debate with Machia"

but hey, i don't see him giving a shoot about your rant, he didnt even bother answering your lousy arguments. what you're having is a monologue, typical for a neurotic deluded person. get some sleep now, you need it. good night.

Thumb _mowaten_ 17 March 2015, 00:16

you're such a kid anonyme, with your childish accusations. i think you've realized you had nothing to say, so you're desperately trying to have the last word, even if that means talking complete nonsense. i'll let you have it, you seem to really need something to hang on to. so be my guest.

Missing helicopter 16 March 2015, 16:29

Bachar's survival means HA survival and ability to control more of Lebanon in the future. So every comment you make is seen from that lense and not from the lens of sheer Lebanese patrioyism.

Default-user-icon memory lane (Guest) 16 March 2015, 16:36

38 years ago today Bashar Assad's father Hafez Assad murdered Kamal Jumblatt one of a string of Syrian regime assassinations of Lebanese leaders.

Thumb _mowaten_ 17 March 2015, 10:50

"and we miss him a lot"... said nobody. ever. (even joumby jr. did not care and collaborated with the syrian regime for decades after that)

Missing idris_gray 16 March 2015, 16:52

Bring back the Ottoman empire. Arabs are incapable of ruling themselves

Thumb zahle1 16 March 2015, 19:31

I have no problem with Assad staying as long as we all agree to keep their intelligence agents and army out of Lebanon. We don't need them to occupy us.

Missing peace 16 March 2015, 20:57

the US want to negociate assad's resignation... nothing else.