Syrian President Calls Donald Trump a ‘Natural Ally’ in Fight Against Terrorism

President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, condemned by the Obama administration and much of the West for waging a brutal war
of suppression against Islamist opponents in his country, said this week that President-elect Donald J. Trump could be a “natural ally” in the fight against terrorism. The comment underscored the degree to which the new administration’s approach could reverse central tenets of American foreign policy.
Destroyed buildings in the Syrian village of Kfar Jales, near Idlib, on Wednesday, following air strikes by Syrian and Russian warplanes.

In an interview with the Portuguese broadcaster RTP published on Tuesday, Mr. Assad — whom President Obama wants removed from office — welcomed the prospect that Mr. Trump would make good on his campaign promise to focus exclusively on fighting the Islamic State and to align the United States with Russia, a close ally of Mr. Assad’s, in doing so. The Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, is one of an array of moderate and extremist groups seeking to topple Mr. Assad.
The statements by Mr. Assad — a leader who Secretary of State John Kerry has said should be investigated for war crimes along with Russia — highlighted both the complexity of the foreign policy challenges awaiting Mr. Trump and the extent to which he has signaled a break from Mr. Obama’s approach, especially in the Middle East.
In Syria, Mr. Trump will inherit an especially tangled set of alliances and trade-offs, a situation that has bedeviled Mr. Obama in a region where the United States military is acting in support of efforts to contain or destroy the Islamic State.
While allowing that what he called “opposing forces within the administration” could cast doubt on whether Mr. Trump “can deliver on his promises,” Mr. Assad said that “if — if — he fights the terrorists, it is clear that we will be a natural ally, together with the Russians, Iranians and many other countries who want to defeat the terrorists.”

Post a Comment