The value of Secretary John Kerry’s proposals are consistent with Kerry’s track record.
Kerry’s Syrian Track Record Until the eruption of the civil war in Syria, Kerry was a member of a tiny group of US Senators – along with Chuck Hagel and Hillary Clinton – who believed that Bashar Assad was a generous, constructive leader, a reformer and a man of his word. Kerry was a frequent flyer to Damascus, dining with Assad and his wife at the Naranj restaurant in central Damascus. Following a motorcycle ride with Bashar al-Assad, he returned to Washington referring to Bashar as “my dear friend.”
In September 2009, Kerry opined that “Syria is an essential player in bringing peace and stability to the region,” while Assad was conducting hate-education, repressing his opposition, hosting and arming terrorist outfits like Hezbollah, cozying up to Iran, and facilitating the infiltration of Jihadists into Iraq to kill US soldiers. WikiLeaks disclosed that on February, 2010, Kerry told Qatari leaders that the Golan Heights should be returned to Syria and that a Palestinian capital should be established in East Jerusalem. “We know that for the Palestinians the control of Al-Aqsa mosque and the establishment of their capital in East Jerusalem are not negotiable.”
According to the London Telegraph, Kerry was a fierce critic of the Bush Administration’s hardline against Assad, advocating a policy of engagement – rather than sanctions – against terror-sponsoring Syria. In March 2011, Kerry subordinated reality-driven hope to wishful-thinking-driven hope: “my judgment is that Syria will move; Syria will change, as it embraces a legitimate relationship with the United States and the West.” However, more than 200,000 deaths and 2 million refugees later, Assad’s Syria has certainly changed for the worst. In January 2005, following another meeting with Assad, Kerry said: “This is the moment of opportunity for the Middle East, for the U.S. and for the world…. I think we found a great deal of areas of mutual interest…strengthening the relationship between the U.S. and Syria.”
On September 3, 2013, Kerry assured his colleagues that “the Syrian opposition has increasingly become more defined by its moderation.” However, Assad’s opposition consists, mainly, of anti-US, Islamic supremacists, Shariah-driven, anti-democracy, the violently-intolerant Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda, whose subversive vision transcends Syria, encompassing the Abode of Islam as a prelude to the grand assault on the Abode of the Infidel.
Kerry and the Palestinian Issue While vital US interests and homeland security are threatened by smothering Middle Eastern firestorms – from the Persian Gulf through Northwest Africa – Secretary Kerry is preoccupied with the Palestinian tumbleweed side-show. The latter has been the centerpiece of the Arab talk, but never the Arab walk. Contrary to Kerry’s Palestine Firster approach, the Palestinian issue is not directly or indirectly linked to the Arab Tsunami, is not a core cause of regional turbulence and has not been the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict nor the crown jewel of Arab policy-making.
Kerry’s Arab Spring
According to the New York Times, December 21, 2012, Kerry contended that the Arab Street is transitioning toward democracy: “What is happening in the Middle East could be the most important geo-strategic shift since the fall of the Berlin Wall.”
About the Author: Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger is consultant to Israel’s Cabinet members and Israeli legislators, and lecturer in the U.S., Canada and Israel on Israel’s unique contributions to American interests, the foundations of U.S.-Israel relations, the Iranian threat, and Jewish-Arab issues.
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