Syria: ‘Brutal beyond belief’ Assad better than insurgents — former U.S. ambassador

Scott Lucas writes: In early December, Ryan Crocker — former US Ambassador to Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan — provided a dramatic sound-bite for a New York Times article pointing to a possible re-think in Washington about the Syrian conflict:

We need to start talking to the Assad regime again….It will have to be done very, very quietly. But bad as Assad is, he is not as bad as the jihadis who would take over in his absence.

Crocker did not stop there. Last weekend, he wrote in the Times, “We need to come to terms with a future that includes Assad — and consider that as bad as he is, there is something worse.”

And on Tuesday, his interview with Robert Siegel of US National Public Radio drove home the point, “The simple fact is Assad is not going….We need to come to terms with it.”

Never mind that Crocker’s basic facts are wrong: “Al Qa’eda” did not carry out a raid on Free Syrian Army warehouses earlier this month. It is his dramatic call to accept Assad rather than the insurgents that will resonate. [Continue reading…]

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One thought on “Syria: ‘Brutal beyond belief’ Assad better than insurgents — former U.S. ambassador

  1. seth edenbaum
    —Not a day passes without reports from Syria claiming that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a Salafi rebel group active in Syria and Iraq, is a branch of al-Qaeda, or at least affiliated with it. But it is not.

    …Even if the ISI and the central al-Qaeda leadership shared many ideological tenets, there were still doctrinal disagreements between the ISI leaders and Zawahiri—for example, on what attitude to take toward the masses of ordinary Shia Muslims in the Arab world.

    As expected, Zawahiri took the side of Golani and urged the Islamic State to retreat from Syria. But Baghdadi retorted that the ISIL would remain in both Iraq and Syria and that he would never comply with “the borders of Sykes-Picot,”

    …Structurally, strategically, and politically, the ISIL is substantially different from the Nusra Front. Yet paradoxically, both Western observers and some liberal Syrian activists tend to regard the ISIL as the more radical group. It is even more surprising to see certain moderate Islamists frightened by the ISIL’s advances, announcing their preference for the Nusra Front, when in fact this group is today the official branch of al-Qaeda in the Levant.—

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