When it comes to setting policy in Syria, Secretary of State John Kerry is “not taken seriously” and is “laughed at” in the larger Middle East, Breitbart Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter Aaron Klein stated in a radio interview on Wednesday.
Klein was speaking during his weekly segment on John Batchelor’s popular national radio show.
Click below to listen to Klein’s full segment on Batchelor’s program.
Klein, reporting from Tel Aviv, told Batchelor that he heard the anti-Kerry sentiment from diplomats in the region regarding U.S. policy in Syria:
What I’m hearing is that the Middle East right now is entirely disappointed by John Kerry, by the United States. There is no leadership. There is almost nothing being done on the American side. America has almost completely abandoned Syria to Russia; to what Russia wants in the ceasefire agreement. … The United States has been largely absent. …
John Kerry, by the way, is not taken seriously in the Middle East and beyond. He’s laughed at. There is no policy. He hasn’t presented anything serious.
Kerry has been attempting to broker a ceasefire agreement in Syria. But Klein says it is Russian President Vladimir Putin who has taken the leadership position in trying to arrange a vaguely-defined halt in hostilities scheduled to take effect Saturday.
The Guardian reported:
The Russian president spoke by phone to leaders in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Syria in an attempt to garner support for the ceasefire, and explain its complex details.
He has also opened a coordination centre to which the warring parties can send complaints of specific breaches of the truce.
The truce will not apply to zones controlled by the Islamic State and the al-Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front.
However, Klein said ceasefire efforts may be complicated by the Assad regime’s insistence on labeling rebel groups as terrorists.
Klein is not the only one mocking Kerry’s Syria diplomacy. Shadi Hamid, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute, was quoted stating, “The only one holding out hope is John Kerry.”
“Right now, it’s hypothetical and not based on anything real. How Kerry even explained it in his own words, it’s hard to take seriously,” Hamid stated.
Klein, however, was speaking to what he said was the absence of a larger cohesive U.S. policy in Syria.
On Thursday, Kerry cited previously unheard Pentagon estimates essentially making public the dim chances of creating any future safe-zone or no-fly-zone in Syria.
ABC News reported:
Kerry said today that creating a safe zone isn’t as simple as it sounds. In addition to controlling the airspace, Kerry said, a large troop presence would be required to shield the population from ISIS attacks on the ground.
“All this talk about safe zones does not go through the process of what it really means,” Kerry said.
“Our Pentagon estimates that to have a true safe zone in the north of the country you may have upwards of fifteen to thirty thousand troops. Now are we ready to authorize that? Are we ready to put them on the ground?”
Aside from the inherent physical and political risks of putting a large number of U.S. troops on the ground inside Syria, the U.S. worries about potential conflicts with Russia, which is also conducting an aerial bombing campaign over Syria.
Creating a no-fly zone would most likely mean the U.S. would have to enforce that rule against Russian jets – a potentially dangerous scenario.
Nevertheless, Kerry said that the U.S. is considering other options if a ceasefire can’t be reached inside Syria.