Tags: obama | syria | secret | ties | assad

Journal: Obama Maintained Secret Ties with Syria's Assad

Image: Journal: Obama Maintained Secret Ties with Syria's Assad

By    |   Thursday, 24 Dec 2015 08:24 AM

The White House tried to use a secret "back channel" in Syria to get President Bashar al-Assad to step down – including looking for a way to encourage a military coup, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The covert effort never gained momentum and communication was limited, the Journal reports, citing unnamed U.S. and Arab officials and diplomats.

In 2011, when soldiers were beginning to leave the Syrian army and amid a crackdown on protests, U.S. intelligence officials identified officers who potentially could lead a regime change, the Journal reports.

"The White House’s policy in 2011 was to get to the point of a transition in Syria by finding cracks in the regime and offering incentives for people to abandon Assad," a former senior administration official said.

But the "covert communications may have fed [Assad's] sense of legitimacy and impunity," the Journal reports.

With the rise of the Islamic State in 2013, communication with Syria became more direct, and Assad  assumed the role of partner in the fight against terror, the Journal reports.

"The regime was re-legitimized," Ibrahim Hamidi, the former Damascus bureau chief for Al Hayat, a major pan-Arab newspaper, tells the Journal.

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The White House tried to use a secret back channel in Syria to get President Bashar al-Assad to step down - including looking for a way to encourage a military coup, The Wall Street Journal reports. The covert effort never gained momentum and communication was limited,...
obama, syria, secret, ties, assad
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2015-24-24
Thursday, 24 Dec 2015 08:24 AM
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