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Kerry no stranger to Assad, once called dictator 'generous man'

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
September 3rd, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

John Kerry has delivered some speeches recently, condemning Bashar al Assad's regime and his recent attacks on civilians. Kerry may be in a better position than most to talk about Assad. The current Secretary of State has had several visits with the dictator.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Although Kerry's recent speeches have called for strikes against Syria, a move that most Americans and the international community believes would be a mistake. Kerry knows Assad personally, having made several visits to the dictator.

Kerry visited Assad first in 2009 as the head of a delegation sent by Obama to reassess relations with countries the U.S. previously considered hostile. It was an olive branch and an opportunity to warm relations between the two countries.

Assad told Kerry that the U.S. should "move away from a policy based on dictating decisions." Assad called for a "proper understanding" by the Obama administration on regional issues. This was a polite way for Assad to tell Kerry to get out and stay out of the region, at least politically and militarily.

Kerry returned just two months later to discuss Syria's role in the peace process with Israel and other "regional issues."

Finally, a planned visit by Kerry in 2011 was nixed by Obama and France. That visit was intended to invite Syria into a closer relationship with the West, and away from Iran, but both Obama and the French government were concerned the visit would suggest weakness on their part. Kerry stayed home.

Not long after that, tensions erupted into civil conflict in Syria.

Kerry continued to court Assad through 2011, calling him "very generous" and referring to him as a man of good faith. Kerry's words were kind, but as all politicians go, they were likely intended to court a favorable outcome than to convey true feelings.

In other words, Kerry was either misguided in his conclusions about Assad's character, or he was lying. Both misjudgment and lying are common in politicians.

Today, it is likely that Kerry feel much differently about Assad as he serves as Obama's drum major for war against the Syrian dictator.

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