Moon of Alabama — March 31, 2017
There is a serious confusion about statements made yesterday by the Trump administration. It set the fight against ISIS as the top priority and no longer demanded an immediate leaving of Bashar Assad as the Syrian president. Reports try to sell this as a new position. But it is not new at all.
The U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley announced a “change of priorities”:
“You pick and choose your battles and when we’re looking at this, it’s about changing up priorities and our priority is no longer to sit there and focus on getting Assad out,” U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley told a small group of reporters.
Secretary of State Tillerson confirmed that position:
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, speaking in Ankara on Thursday, said Assad’s longer-term status “will be decided by the Syrian people.”
The International Business Times wrote about the statements:
The United States has announced a shift in its diplomatic policy on Syria and is no longer insisting that its president Bashar al-Assad be removed as the head of the war-torn country.
In a clear departure from the Obama administration’s stance on Assad, and against EU policy, the US is now moving its focus to its battle with Isis.
Southfront headlines the Haley talk as ‘Assad Must Not Go’.
But the Trump administration statements are not new at all. The “announced” positions were established under Obama:
President Barack Obama spent a significant portion of his final State of the Union speech discussing the fight against the terrorist group ISIS.
Obama said that fighting ISIS (also known as the Islamic State, ISIL, or Daesh) and other terrorists is the top priority of his administration.
Also in January 2016 then Secretary of State Kerry used a similar wording as Tillerson used now:
“It’s up to the Syrians to decide what happens to Assad,” Kerry said. “They are the negotiators and they will decide the future.””It’s up to the Syrians to decide what happens to Assad,” Kerry said. “They are the negotiators and they will decide the future.”
There is no change of policy. The top priority has been and will be for a while the fight against ISIS. The U.S. will use this to occupy the eastern parts of Syria. When ISIS is suppressed enough to no longer be an immediate issue the removal of Assad will again become a top priority.
That Assad’s position will be “decided by the Syrian people” is just obfuscating as long as it is not said WHICH Syrian people are HOW to decide over it.
The mess in Syria will go on until the U.S. really changes its positions and until the Wahhabi oil sheiks stop their financing of their various Takfiri mercenaries – be they ISIS, al-Qaeda or whatever name they want to apply.