In remarks to the United Nations General Assembly, President Barack Obama insisted that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must be removed from power. His statement contradicts a remark from Secretary of State John Kerry that Assad is necessary to bring peace in the region.
“Yes, realism dictates that compromise will be required to end the fighting and ultimately stamp out ISIL [Islamic State], but realism requires a managed transition away from Assad into a new leader and an inclusive government that recognizes that there must be an end to this chaos so that the Syrian people can begin to rebuild,” he claimed.
He continued: “We’re told that such retrenchment is required to beat back disorder, that it’s the only way to stamp out terrorism or prevent foreign meddling. In accordance with this logic, we should support tyrants like Bashar al-Assad who drops barrel bombs to massacre innocent children, because the alternative is surely worse.”
The U.S. has been among the most vocal critics of Assad under President Obama since the Syrian Civil War began in 2011. However, only ten days ago, Kerry said that Assad is needed for Syria.
“Our focus remains on destroying ISIL and also on a political settlement with respect to Syria, which we believe cannot be achieved with the long-term presence of Assad,” he stated.
Russia is one of Assad’s closest allies, and has supplied his military with troops and equipment. Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov have spoken to each numerous times about ending the war in Syria and combatting radical Islamic groups. Lavrov insists Assad must stay, which contradicts Obama’s statement.
“When a dictator slaughters tens of thousands of its people, it is not one nations’ affair, but it brings magnitude of suffering of all, likewise when a terrorist group beheads captives, it is not one single nations problem but it is an assault on all humanity,” said President Obama. “I said before and I will repeat there is no room to an apocalyptic cult like ISIS.”