The Washington Examiner is reporting:
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Thursday that steps are “underway” to organize an “international community effort” to oust Syrian President Bashar Assad, a major policy shift triggered by the latest chemical weapons attack in the country’s ongoing civil war.
“With the acts that he has taken, it would seem that there would be no rule for him to govern the Syrian people,” Tillerson told reporters. “The process by which Assad would leave is something that I think requires and international community effort, both to first defeat ISIS within Syria, to stabilize the Syrian country to avoid further civil war, and then to work collectively with our partners around the world through a political process that would lead to Assad leaving.”
Tillerson added that “those steps are underway” already.
One of the big questions this raises is how taking such action will impact our relationship with Russia.
It’s a marked shift from last week, when Tillerson told reporters in Turkey that Assad’s future would be up to the Syrian people — an apparent departure from former President Barack Obama’s stated position that he had to leave power. And it adds a new layer of complexity to Tillerson’s upcoming trip to Moscow, as Russia has provided Assad with major military and diplomatic support.
“It is very important that the Russian government consider carefully their continued support for the Assad regime,” Tillerson said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s team signaled that Assad might not enjoy “unconditional support” from them, as they disclaimed responsibility for the Syrian gas attack. “It is not correct to say that Moscow can convince Mr. Assad to do whatever is wanted in Moscow,” Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. “This is totally wrong.”
The idea of getting involved in the Syrian conflict has many in conservative circles divided, as some see it as dangerous and unnecessary to spread ourselves thin by getting involved in Syrian affairs.
However, it’s hard to ignore the awful devastation, and crimes against humanity being perpetrated against those caught in the crossfire of this awful war.
Let’s hope the president — and those advising him — come up with a viable solution to this problem that will avoid spreading our forces thin, won’t hastily put them in danger, and will provide relief for victims in Syria.
[Note: This article was written by Michael Cantrell]