Sec. of State John Kerry is headed for London to launch his first tour in his new post after four years of his Senate Foreign Relations Committee shuttles to Syria, where he insisted that Syrian President Bashar Assad was a key to bringing Hamas together with the Fatah movement, headed by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
His view of Assad may have changed, as did that of his predecessor Hillary Clinton, who called Assad a “reformer” two months after the current two-year uprising broke out. However, his view in 2010 that the dispute between the Palestinian Authority and Israel is the “single most important” stability issue in the region remains rock-solid.
Kerry, like President Barack Obama soon after he was elected, is determined to bring his views on how to combat Islamic terror, the Syria civil war, Iran’s nucleate threat and, of course, how to make peace between Israel and the PA.
His trip will take him to Germany, France, Italy, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar.
Israel is not on his itinerary, ostensibly because the United States does not want to appear it is influencing the current coalition government attempts by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. It remains to be seen if a new government is in place when President Barack Obama visits next month.
Kerry’s trip to Europe and the Middle East as Secretary of State is termed by US officials as a “listening tour.”
Previously, he listened to Assad.
As chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Kerry was a frequent traveler to Syria.
Among his other far-from-prophetic pronouncements on Middle East affairs, he said three years ago after meeting with Assad, “Syria could be, in fact, very helpful in helping to bring about a unity government. If you achieve that, then you have made a major step forward not only in dealing with the problems of Gaza but you have made a major step forward in terms of how you reignite discussions for the two-state solution … I think that Syria indicated to me a willingness to be helpful in that respect.”