Tuesday, May 29, 2018

John Kerry and his pursuit of Bashar al-Assad & Javad Zarif … 
flawed judgment, or deceit, or? 

 Kerry  has spent a half-decade courting  Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

 In December 2006, when he was still a US senator, in spite of the objections of Pres. George W. Bush and the US State Department,** Kerry traveled to Damascus to meet with  Syrian dictator, Bashar al-Assad..  Kerry  portrayed  Assad as a reformer who could be peeled away from his alliance with Iran and Hezbollah, and lured towards the West. Kerry also publicly held out the possibility of   Assad negotiating a peace treaty with  Israel over the Golan Heights.

By 2011, after that initial meeting, Kerry was reported to have met with Assad a total of six times, including a visit in February 2009 when he and Assad dined along with their wives at an upscale Damascus restaurant. After the dinner, Kerry reportedly asserted that “Syria is an essential player in bringing peace and stability to the region.”

In addition to his visits to Damascus, Kerry was actively advocating for Assad in the US. Jay Solomon[The Iran Wars] describes Kerry as having emerged, by 2009, as the “Syrian dictator’s man in Washington.”  Kerry was very public in his  lobbying efforts in behalf of Assad. In a March 2011 speech at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Kerry claimed that the Syrian dictator “very generous” and said, “Syria will move … Syria will change, as it embraces a legitimate relationship with the United States and the West.”

Kerry’s words of support for Assad at Carnegie were given during the very week in March 2011 that the initial peaceful protests in Syria began. Assad responded to the protesters’ pleas for reform with brutal crackdowns that led to a bloody civil war and the genocide of Syria’s Sunni population.Thus far, the Syrian  war has killed half a million Syrians, displaced more than ten million from their homes, and wrought havoc across the region and beyond. By the time Kerry began his diplomatic outreach, Assad already had a well-established record of mischief in the region.

When Kerry made his first trip to Syria at the end of 2006 — while the terrorist insurgency in neighboring Iraq was in full swing — Assad had been facilitating the movement of Al Qaeda fighters and suicide bombers from Syria into Iraq. Assad had also established the Damascus International Airport as the jihadi gateway for Sunni militants traveling from around the Middle East and North Africa looking to attack American forces inside Iraq. The Assad regime even arranged for buses to ferry fighters directly to the front lines.

**As early as January 2004, the Bush administration was increasing its pressure on the Assad regime to halt the jihadi traffic into Iraq and Syria's support of the  terrorist insurgency in which American soldiers were targeted and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians were killed.

Kerry regularly advocated for Javid Zarif as a moderating force in Tehran’s revolutionary regime

During early May 2018 , former Secretary of State John Kerry  met with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad  Zarif twice   to  organize a  concerted effort to  undercut US administration’s efforts to modify and strengthen the Iran nuclear deal that Zarif and  Kerry had   previously negotiated. Their focus  was  to get the European Union to counter and bypass US efforts to reimpose sanctions  and other controls on Iran.

 Last week Zarif made headlines when he was caughtthe on tape with a crowd in Tehran actively participating in a chant calling for the destruction of the United States and its allies. The crowd can be heard chanting “Death to America,” “Death to Britain,” and “Death to Israel,” and  Zarif is  clearly seen smiling and mouthing along.

Over the years John Kerry had grown quite close to the foreign minister of the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.Kerry regularly advocated for Zarif as a moderating force in Tehran’s revolutionary regime. During his efforts to sell the Iran nuclear deal to Congress and the American people in 2015, Kerry pushed the idea that the deal would empower Zarif and other supposed reformers, thus tempering the Islamic republic’s hostility to the US and its allies. American TV frequently featured Kerry and Zarif w backslapping throughout the negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program.

Kerry’s words of assurance have , of course, proven to be false — as Iran’s aggression in the region and hostility towards the West have only increased since the deal was implemented. 

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