Tags: Syria | obama | admits | syria | uneven | handling | abc

Obama Admits to Uneven Handling of Syrian Conflict

Monday, 16 Sep 2013 11:39 AM

By Melanie Batley

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President Barack Obama has acknowledged that his approach to the Syrian conflict has been anything but smooth, but he still defends it as having achieved the right results.

In an interview aired Sunday on ABC's "This Week With George Stephanopoulos," the president also said the U.S. is prepared to act militarily to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons despite the decision to pursue a diplomatic solution with Russia on Syria's chemical weapons, The Washington Post reports.

"I think that folks here in Washington like to grade on style," the president said in response to criticisms of his handling of U.S. policy on Syria. "And so had we rolled out something that was very smooth and disciplined and linear, they would have graded it well, even if it was a disastrous policy. We know that, because that's exactly how they graded the Iraq war."

He added, "I'm much more concerned about getting the policy right . . . As a consequence of the steps that we've taken over the last two weeks to three weeks, we now have a situation in which Syria has acknowledged it has chemical weapons, has said it's willing to join the convention on chemical weapons, and Russia, its primary sponsor, has said that it will pressure Syria to reach that agreement.

"That's my goal. And if that goal is achieved, then it sounds to me like we did something right."

Obama also warned that Iran should not assume the U.S. won't take military action if it continues efforts to develop of nuclear weapons, despite how the confrontation with Syria over its reported use of chemical weapons has played out.

"I think what the Iranians understand is that the nuclear issue is a far larger issue for us than the chemical weapons issue, that the threat. . .  against Israel that a nuclear Iran poses is much closer to our core interests," Obama said, according to the Post.

"My suspicion is that the Iranians recognize they shouldn't draw a lesson that we haven't struck [Syria] to think we won't strike Iran."

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