Has Kerry gone mad?

How will the region react to John Kerry's call for talks with Assad?

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

Published: Updated:

I don’t understand how an official like the U.S. Secretary of State says that Bashar al-Assad can be accepted because he needs him in the fight agains the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

John Kerry’s statement is enough to push millions of people here to support the ISIS. If Kerry’s excuse is that he will cooperate with Assad because he despises ISIS, then millions of Syrians will cooperate with ISIS because they despise Assad.

And these Syrian people’s justifications are greater than Kerry's excuse. The Assad's regime, aided by his allies - the Iranians and Hezbollah - killed more than a quarter of a million people. It’s impossible for them to reconcile with him regardless of what the American justifications are.

Kerry has heralded the gates of hell on himself and his country in an angry region

Does the U.S. Secretary of State think that millions of Syrians will be silent and forget about the massacres and displacement which have befallen them just because Kerry decided to ally with the devil to fight another devil?

Despite many of his slips, Kerry's latest statements were his worst. This is regardless of whether they were simply made to please Iran into signing a nuclear deal or whether they were the result of an advice by his advisers who care little about the plight of the Syrian people.

No one can emerge victorious

The fundamental rule in the fight against ISIS is making sure it is confronted locally. This can be done by getting regional people together to cooperate, since ISIS poses a shared threat to Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

Without regional cooperation, no one will be able to defeat terrorist groups, which attract volunteers and donors with claims of standing against tyrant!

So how can the region’s governments convince their citizens otherwise when the U.S. Secretary of State publicly announces himself that he’d negotiate with and accept the worst regime the region has known - especially when this regime has done worse than Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq and worse than Moammar Qaddafi’s regime in Libya?

If the aim of his statement is to please the Iranians, the American government must think twice, because this harms everything it has built over long decades.

And it also subjects its interests to bigger threats and poses a threat to the region. In the end, the U.S. will get nothing but more regional problems from the Iranians, the Syrian regime and Hezbollah.

Kerry has heralded the gates of hell on himself and his country in an angry region, where most of its people feel that Obama’s administration has been silent over daily crimes of genocide, in which forbidden chemical weapons have been used, and has also prohibited arming the opposition with qualitative weapons and now wants to reconcile with murderers in broad daylight.

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on March 17, 2015.


Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the former General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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