Tags: Al-Qaida | America's Forum | Exclusive Interviews | Homeland Security | ISIS/Islamic State | Syria | War on Terrorism

Fred Fleitz: 'We Have to Negotiate with Assad'

By    |   Monday, 16 Mar 2015 11:16 AM

Secretary of State John Kerry "stumbled onto the truth" when he said the United States may negotiate with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for a political transition in Syria, former CIA analyst Fred Fleitz said Monday on "America’s Forum" on Newsmax TV.

"We have to negotiate with Assad," Fleitz said. "We can't go after [the Islamic State] and also go after Assad. We have to choose one. ISIS is the greater threat. What I suggest we do is to try to find a way where Assad and his family can go into exile, maybe into Russia, because there's not going to be a solution under any other circumstances.

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"If we wipe out Assad, the radical Islamists take over the country. If we go after ISIS, we strengthen Assad. There has to be a third way."

Despite Kerry’s words, Reuters reported that State Department Spokeswoman Marie Harf told CBS News on Sunday that the secretary of state was not referring to Assad when he made the statement. She said Washington would never negotiate directly with the Syrian leader.

"By necessity, there has always been a need for representatives of the Assad regime to be a part of this process," Harf said. "It has never been and would not be Assad who would negotiate and the secretary was not saying that today."

The Obama administration has been wrong on its foreign policy estimations, dating to the Arab Spring, according to Fleitz.

"They thought there was going to be this democratic revolution in the Middle East," he said. "It never happened. If we were tough with Assad when the Arab Spring revolution in Syria began, we might have been able to bring about a democratic transition, but we didn't, and the Islamists gained ground in the country and they're poised to take over this country if nothing is done, and since we're now going against ISIS and probably going against al-Qaida in Iraq, we're creating a situation where Assad is going to win. So, I don't see how we cannot negotiate with it [the Syrian regime]."

Former House Intelligence Chairman Pete Hoekstra, also appearing Monday on "America’s Form," concurred with Fleitz’s assessment on Syria and the entire Middle East.

"This administration has been wrong about the threat from radical jihadists from the get-go, saying that we had defeated them when we killed [Osama] bin Laden, then when ISIS was beginning saying it's a JV team, and we never calculated or anticipated their march through Syria into Iraq," he said.

"We're missing and we're not acknowledging the presence that they are creating in northern Africa, in Libya, and then the events in the last couple of days where the leaders of Boko Haram in Nigeria have pledged allegiance to ISIS. They're trying to create a narrative that the threat is not that significant, it is under control, and we're rolling it back. In reality, the narrative is much different than that."

Fleitz also weighed in on Iran and the negotiations over Tehran’s nuclear program.

He suggested that the deal on the table would leave Iran’s nuclear infrastructure in place and would allow it "to continue to make nuclear weapons."

The White House, he continued, is playing games by leaking aspects of the deal it wants the public to know about, but when questioned, taking the tack that no one knows what’s happening on the inside and insisting they can’t discuss it.

"We can talk about this deal because we know from what's been leaked to The Washington Post, Reuters, and AP, we know the key aspects of this deal," he said. "Enrichment will continue, a plutonium-producing reactor will continue, Iran will not disassemble any of its nuclear infrastructure. This adds up to legitimizing a nuclear program that could lead to a war in the Middle East."

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Secretary of State John Kerry stumbled onto the truth when he said the United States may negotiate with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for a political transition in Syria, former CIA analyst Fred Fleitz said Monday on "America's Forum" on Newsmax TV.
Fred Fleitz, John Kerry, Bashar al-Assad, Syria
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2015-16-16
Monday, 16 Mar 2015 11:16 AM
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