U.S. No Longer Considers Assad a Priority
With an estimated 400,000 deaths in Syria and over 5 million displaced from their homes due to the costly civil war, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, told reporters that removing Assad is no longer a focus.
“You pick and choose your battles,” Haley commented, “And when we’re looking at this, it’s about changing up priorities and our priority is no longer to sit and focus on getting Assad out.”
She added, “We can’t necessarily focus on Assad the way that the previous administration did, our priority is to really look at how do we get things done, who do we need to work with to really make a difference for the people in Syria.”
During a news conference in Turkey, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also weighed in, “I think the… longer term status of President Assad will be decided by the Syrian people.”
The comments were viewed with skepticism in some Republican circles, John McCain responded claiming Tillerson’s comment “overlooks the tragic reality that the Syrian people cannot decide the fate of Assad or the future of their country when they are being slaughtered.”
In 2013 the CIA was placed in charge of an operation to arm opposition forces in Syria, an operation that cost $1 billion annually. The ongoing civil war was subsequently escalated.
Initially reluctant, President Obama was strongly advised to take action by his previous Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who wrote in her memoir Hard Choices, “I returned to Washington reasonably confident that if we decided to begin arming and training moderate Syrian rebels, we could put in place effective coordination with our regional partners.”
The escalation of the war has had disastrous humanitarian consequences. Diplomacy has failed to resolve the conflict, however currently peace talks are scheduled to continue until next week; however, as of yet, there have been no resolutions.
Photo Source: BBC
News Source: Al Jazeera and Reuters