Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 10, 2016

Kerry's "Please Make Assad Go" Begging Rounds Look Utterly Silly

Ali Akbar Velayati, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's top adviser on international affairs, said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had asked "Iran to help so that Bashar Assad leaves.

"We should ask them: "What does this have to do with you? Shouldn't the Syrian people decide?'"

"From Iran's point of view Bashar Assad and his government should remain as a legal government and legal president until the end of his term. And Bashar Assad shall be able to take part in a presidential election as any Syrian citizen. And their precondition that Bashar Assad should go is a red line for us."
Jerusalem Post

I have wondered for quite a while why Kerry is running from door to door with this childish insistence that Bashar al-Assad has to leave as President of Syria.

Let's assume that Assad leaves tomorrow and is replaced with some other intelligent Syrian nationalist. Someone who, like Bashar al-Assad, has majority support of the Syrian people to continue the current course.

What would change?

Yes, Bashar Assad has some symbolic character for the Syrians fighting for their state. But a good inner-Syrian propaganda campaign could easily project a like picture onto a new face. The strategic interests and the policies involved in Syria would not change at all.

After the U.S. supported "rebels" broke the ceasefire by attacking government position in south of Aleppo and in Latakia the Syrian army is preparing for a big offensive. The aim is to free all of Aleppo governate from the "rebel" al-Qaeda menace. Changing the Syrian head of state would not change these military plans. They have, like national interests, their own logic.

Does Kerry understand how silly he looks when he makes these 'Please make Bashar al Assad go' rounds?

Posted by b on April 10, 2016 at 13:40 UTC | Permalink


@ b: "Does Kerry understand how silly he looks when he insists on this?"

That, b, would require some introspection on Kerry's part. A luxury servants of the Empire can't have.

Posted by: ben | Apr 10 2016 13:53 utc | 1

"But a good inner-Syrian propaganda campaign could easily project a like picture onto a new face."

This is the opposite of what we've been hearing from pro-Syrian analysts, opinionators and experts for the last several years. The claim is that it's not just Assad, but a whole circle of people around him, who won't serve just anyone who is installed into power by foreign entities, and that if Assad is taken out, there's no guarantee the army will fight for an installed leader, etc.

Are you saying this isn't true?

Posted by: Joanne Leon | Apr 10 2016 13:54 utc | 2

Does Kerry understand how silly he looks when he insists on this?

Think you will find self-conscienceness is NOT part of Duhmerikan genetic makeup. Has something to do with income.

Posted by: Formerly T-Bear | Apr 10 2016 13:58 utc | 3

Presumably, the Culinary Intelligence Agency surreptitiously “seasons” our “leaders” meals with largish amounts of intelligence diminishing sodium fluoride.

Posted by: blues | Apr 10 2016 14:20 utc | 4

This type of behaviour goes with his head. Lost and clownish. I guess that is what you are reduced to when your public role is to defend schizophrenia. The skill of critical thinking, perhaps at one time present, now replaced by proclaiming the establishment narrative - even if that narrative can change with the wind, overnight.

Posted by: MadMax2 | Apr 10 2016 14:44 utc | 5

Would I look silly if we ask Kerry that Erdogan must go instead of Assad ? :)

Turkey is much bigger than Syria and much much more people would be happy about it :)))

Posted by: sysati | Apr 10 2016 14:48 utc | 6

What would change? - b.

If a ‘nationalist’ figure acceptable to the Syrian voters could be found, well nothing, as b says. In fact such a figure might be ‘more’ nationalist (as I’m one of the few who opines that Assad made some horrible mistakes but that argument is past ..) Just as, for ex. dislodging Putin (and anti-communist centrist, open to, collaborative with, the W until recently) might have results unfavorable to neo-cons. Such a rational pov, however, ignores:

1. The ‘opposition’ plan is to re-write the Constitution and transform the Syrian state. (I have not found any concrete proposals worth reading. Imho none exist.) The last Const. is from 2012 and was accepted by referendum. Proposed by Assad, it made some important changes (see wiki etc.) Assad belongs to the ‘past’ structure. Setting up a whole new one is aimed at destroying any kind of ‘continuity.’ Assad is not just the ‘symbol’ but the guarantor of that continuity, seen as a head of State who should remain, etc. A clean break! (sic) Assad must go = the Constitution must go, and *everything* has to change. Plus, naturally, any trouble making may have startling yet favorable results…

2. Many always consider the US organises everything in its own interests, which is questionable. The ones who loathe Assad are not the US, but KSA, Qatar, and the like. The US bends or agrees with ‘allies’ (incl. Israel) to a degree which imho is pathetic. This is not a way to hold on to even limited power.

Posted by: Noirette | Apr 10 2016 15:06 utc | 7

"Let's assume that Assad leaves tomorrow and is replaced with some other intelligent Syrian nationalist. Someone who, like Bashar al-Assad, has majority support of the Syrian people to continue the current course. What would change?"

This strawman argument is not vaguely connected to reality. Kerry is not trying to replace Assad with another Assad. It should be:

Let’s assume that Assad leaves tomorrow and is replaced by a Sunni puppet that hates Putin and has the support of the US neocons and Israel. What would happen?

Well, what would happen is that Yisrael would not need the US to clear the airspace over Syria and so GoY would attack Iran, precipitate a war, and drag America and Europe into it.

Troll Alert: This comment contains content that is not in agreement with or is critical of the management’s PoV. It is therefore officially considered trolling, as per . . .

Posted by: b | Apr 9, 2016 9:21:45 AM | 33
@all - Denis is just a troll - not even a capable one though

Posted by: Denis | Apr 10 2016 15:47 utc | 8

Poor Kerry. He's caught in a betwixt situ - in the long American quagmire..the quicksands of the Middle East.

Vicious Cycle: Why It is Time for Washington to Get Out of the Middle East

The United States has found itself bogged down in the Middle Eastern conflicts; two questions then arise: why Washington can't win and since it has not won, why it can't get out of the Mideast quagmire, American historian Andrew J. Bacevich asks.

In his article for Politico Magazine Andrew J. Bacevich, Professor of International Relations and History at Boston University, draws historic parallels between the World War I bloody stalemate on the Western Front and an analogous stalemate Washington has found itself stuck in in the Middle East and Islamic world in general.

[.] In the Middle East US military forces "bombed, raided, invaded, occupied and worked through proxies of various stripes." Meanwhile, Washington policymakers — both Republicans and Democrats — were lulling themselves into the illusion that "US military power will somehow put things right."[.]

~ ~ ~ ~

Military might found wanting. Let’s try begging.

And Oh, more begging;

"it’s time for Russia to return to the G7”club says German FM Frank-Walter Steinmeier

Posted by: likklemore | Apr 10 2016 16:03 utc | 9

Kerry is trying to sing Turkey and Saudi Arabia's tune just to make them feel good.
He knows very well that removing Assad will jeopardize the fight against ISIS that Bashar Al Assad is leading with the Syrian army and allies deeply loyal to him.
Would that loyalty easily shift to another out of the blue Syrian leader? It is obvious that it won't.
Other potential armies that offered to fight against ISIS have gone into thin air. The supposed "Arab military coalition" announced in great pumps is born dead. Turkey's army abhores the idea of fighting ISIS as they are busy fighting the Kurds and worried about their own security. The Turkish proxy FSA are in bed with Al Nusra and therefore are been bombed daily by the Russians, even if Turkey claims that they are fighting ISIS. No one believes that anymore.
Therefore Kerry has no choice than to repeat overtly that Bashar al Assad should go while covertly relying on the Syria army and its allies to help the USA fight ISIS.
As he has always been doing, he is caressing while backstabbing Erdogan and the King Salman.

Posted by: virgile | Apr 10 2016 16:10 utc | 10

thanks b.. i like bens literal answer @1..

@7 noirette - #2.. was it the gcc's that wanted regime change in iraq and libya? i don't buy your rationale.. do you think the gcc's want to isolate russia from the rest of europe as well? i think you need to think this out a little bit more.. always enjoy your commentary btw.. thanks..

Posted by: james | Apr 10 2016 16:18 utc | 11

add. to my post at 7.

Here is one US plan, “Options for Pol. Transition in Syria”, PDF 41p 2015.

Carter Center

Many others out there.

Anyone who has done a search on this will note that there are no US Gvmt. position papers of any kind. (Or what, where? Obama’s speeches, Tv, MSM news, don’t count.) All come from think-tanks, Brookings and on and on, the Syrian opposition, and the like. The ‘best’ (argh, color me shamed) seems to be attained by organisms like The Congressional Research Service, who publishes spin and slanted, lying, descriptions, history, but have no advisory role. PDF 30 p.


Is the US Gvmt actually in charge of foreign policy? If they were, might they not say so? Like Kerry, who after all is Sec. or State?

Posted by: Noirette | Apr 10 2016 16:23 utc | 12

noirette - remember nulands tapped conversation to pyatt where 'yats' is there man? yats is now gone.. a better question would be who is in charge of usa constant meddling where all sorts of war corps/banks and etc profit?

Posted by: james | Apr 10 2016 16:30 utc | 13

@13 Volodymyr Groysman is in line for the job. That should offer some clues.

Apologies if this belongs in the open thread.

Posted by: dh | Apr 10 2016 16:44 utc | 14

Denis says:

Kerry is not trying to replace Assad with another Assad

hey, there's an idea! another Assad! i vote for Hafez jr...his manifesto seems pretty lucid for an 11 year old.

Posted by: john | Apr 10 2016 17:00 utc | 16

I suspect that Kerry, Obama and Hillary are all looking forward to their post-term payoffs, and want to appear at least to be making the best efforts that they can, to carry out the Empire's directives.

Posted by: AntiSpin | Apr 10 2016 17:34 utc | 17

ben @1: "servant of the Empire"

Please don't excuse Kerry ... or insult the servants.

Kerry's there because he WANTS to be there.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 10 2016 17:50 utc | 18

Does Kerry understand how silly he looks when he makes these 'Please make Bashar al Assad go' rounds?

Kerry looks silly to whom - grown-ups?
He's saying childish things so that the nasty, childish, destructive, racist "Israelis" can include it in their nasty, childish Existential Threat, and Identity Politics, bullshit.
Maturity, empathy and logic are alien concepts to the kids in charge of the Shitty Little Country**.
**H/T Ken Livingstone, Dec 20, 2001.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 10 2016 17:56 utc | 19

james @13

Gen. Wesley Clark spoke of "taking out seven countries in five years" about the same time that Sy Hersh wrote "The Redirection" which described a conspiracy between Israel, Saudi Arabia and USA to use extremists as a weapon.

Iraq and Libya were included in those Gen. Clark's list of countries.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 10 2016 17:56 utc | 20

Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have died in the last 4 years since the war started in 2011.
So who is to blame for all those deaths? It's utterly imperative from the US, Saudi, Israeli, Turkish point of view that Assad take the blame, as the 'dictator who murdered his own people', because if it's not Assad's fault, then it's harder for them (and their Syrian lackeys) to hide their own responsibility. If the Syrians strongly support Assad in the next elections, it gets harder to establish Assad as the scapegoat the US needs him to be.
Now of course it's true that there is no way most people in the US, Israeli or Saudi societies will admit anytime soon just what role their countries played in this bloodbath, but they don't want Syrian or Chinese or Russian historians or media teaching their people a version of events that assign them the sort of blame they probably deserve. They don't want future generations in any country learning the sort of lessons that interpretation of events might result in.
They particularly don't want the sort of blowback they might get if the hatred of the Syrians gets pointed at them and their countries. Someday, 30 or 50 or 100 years in the future, the Syrian people just might be more powerful than the Israelis or Saudis of that time. And if their accepted historical narrative blames the Israelis or Saudis for this war, some future Syrian leader might pick up that historical grievance and use it as justification to attack the Israelis or Saudis in the way Syria was just attacked.

Posted by: Glenn Brown | Apr 10 2016 18:03 utc | 21

Imperial orthodoxy: the only good intelligent nationalist is a dead intelligent nationalist.

Unless they are Israeli.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 10 2016 18:18 utc | 22

Kerry represents the Western mentality of an insufferable 'exceptional and indispensable' lunacy like another people that thought they were 'uber alles'.

Posted by: AriusArmenian | Apr 10 2016 18:31 utc | 23

@20 jr... exactly, but apparently kerry never got the memo, or is good at making like he knows nothing about it! hey, lets make it really difficult to figure out who is running usa foreign policy!!!! works for a lot of folks.. either that or the empire is in strong decline with all sorts of signs of decay, started some time ago..

@21 glen brown.. excellent question and foregone conclusion on "who is to blame for those deaths?".. we are supposed to always remember the constant mantra of 'barrel bombs' and 'used chemical weapons' to convince us of uncle scams virtuous nature and actions in all us foreign policy... the exceptional nation never does anything ugly... well, if you believe that - may as well believe all the rest of the msm 24/7 without question..

related topic here Prof. John McMurtry: US Holds World Records of Killing Innocent Civilians

Posted by: james | Apr 10 2016 18:53 utc | 24

ot @14 dh... what is it with those of jewish decent always getting in positions of power? they are very good at this! Volodymyr Groysman is married and has two daughters and a son.[3] He is of Jewish descent.[19]

i take it his position has been approved by the usa/israel lobby? if it ain't yats, it can be....

Posted by: james | Apr 10 2016 18:56 utc | 25

@25 I don't know how it works. I always thought Ukraine was a hotbed of anti-Semitism. I guess times have changed.

Posted by: dh | Apr 10 2016 19:24 utc | 26

@7 noirette, ' The US bends or agrees with ‘allies’ (incl. Israel) to a degree which imho is pathetic.'

I agree with you.

@12 noirette, 'Is the US Gvmt actually in charge of foreign policy?'

Let me take a shot at an answer. The US' interest, seen through the eyes of the CIA who have been running Obama's presidency, is regional chaos, from which the TNCs - not necessarily all American - can benefit. If Syria and Iraq - and Iran and Turkey - are split up into statelets, that's good. Think fragmented governments that needn't even be drowned in a bathtub.

It's all about TNCs, not about national advantage. Think TPP, TIPP. And the attack is three-fold, not just the fusiliers, but by the financiers ...

[P]GCC to borrow up to $390bn by 2020

A new report says the six oil-rich Arab countries of the Persian Gulf region are expected to borrow between $285 billion and $390 billion through 2020 to finance budget deficits resulting from the low price of oil.

The report that has been prepared by Kuwait Financial Centre (Markaz) says all six countries –Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates that make up the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council ([P]GCC) - are expected to post a shortfall of $318 billion in 2015 and 2016.

... and of course the fossil-fuelers. The new oil producers will be restructured along the lines of the Daesh-Erdogan / Saudi-Yemeni model.

The future is mad max, according to US policy. I never saw the movie, but if there's a chief pirate/marauder among those warring all-against-all called mad max, the US armed forces - all that'll be left of the USG, muscle for the TNCs - will be him.

According to the 'plans' of Kerry (Obama, Hillary, Donald, ...) and his (their) qualified and experienced mentors.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 10 2016 20:38 utc | 27

@26 dh

I think Ukraine still is, and the recent 'ascendencies' are calculated to play on that and to keep the pot boiling. If the hatred ever stopped, or even let up, people might realize what they have done ... and what's been done to them.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 10 2016 20:45 utc | 28

@27 ' - all that'll be left of the USG, muscle for the TNCs - '

- and that's all that is left of the USG, muscle for the TNCs -

Posted by: jfl | Apr 10 2016 20:49 utc | 29

@12, Noirette

And thanks for the links.

Posted by: jfl | Apr 10 2016 20:54 utc | 30

@28 I'm not sure. My sense is that the Maidan got its support from Ukrainian nationalists with facist undertones. Maybe they see having 'certain people' in key positions as the best way to deal with the IMF.

Posted by: dh | Apr 10 2016 21:04 utc | 31

Volodymyr Groysman was born in Vinnytsia into a Jewish family on 20 January 1978.[3] 38 years old.

Posted by: okie farmer | Apr 10 2016 21:18 utc | 32

@Noirette and @jfl
Nice posts.

Posted by: okie farmer | Apr 10 2016 21:22 utc | 33

Duh, John Kerry probably already knows he looks silly with his hang-dog Lurch / Herman Munster / Boris Karloff Frankenstein (take your pick, folks) expression so how would going around Iran and Russia again demanding "Assad must go!" make him look sillier than he already does? 'Tis a mere matter of degree.

Speaking of degree, here is one sentence from John Kerry's Wikipedia entry which says a great deal about Kerry's time at Yale University:

"Overall, Kerry had lackluster grades at Yale, graduating with a cumulative average of 76 over his four years. His freshman-year average was a 71, but he improved to an 81 average his senior year. He never received an "A" during his time at Yale; his highest grade was an 89."

Indeed The Boston Globe devotes a full article to John Kerry's academic ... strengths at Yale University. I'll spare you all the agony by simply posting the link.

So to those who wonder whether Kerry knows he looks silly turning around in the same old groove again and again while Velayati and Lavrov scratch their heads in astonishment, and whether Kerry indeed has the brain cells to know that he does, wonder no more.

Posted by: Jen | Apr 10 2016 22:48 utc | 34

But his hair is so nice and the blue ensemble works so well with the background.

Posted by: Forest | Apr 11 2016 6:17 utc | 35

b: "Does Kerry understand how silly he looks when he makes these 'Please make Bashar al Assad go' rounds?"

I'm sure he does, but when a loyal servant of Empire gets his marching orders.... well.... orders are orders, right?

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Apr 11 2016 7:10 utc | 36

Was it the gcc's that wanted regime change in iraq and libya? james at 11.

No. (one could discuss? - They made no moves against.) But in Syria, definetly, and since forever, and with bitter, crazed hatred. **Pipelinistan,** secular state, Alawite, Assad dynasty, Syria becoming more ‘modern’ etc. And fears of emboldening their own internal opposition, though that would take some working out. Their alarm intensified with a semi-rapprochement USA + World-Iran (well before sanctions were lifted as it was clearly on the cards), Iran is an ‘islamic republic’ — not a tin-pot black-gold royal medieval dictatorship — and a despised enemy to boot.

Do you think the gcc's want to isolate russia from the rest of europe as well?

Imho they completely disregarded Russia and did not expect Russian intervention in Syria (there was none in Iraq or Lybia), and care not a fig for US-Russia relations. They only think OPEC and regional situation or ‘own moves.’ They counted on the US (+ its allies Turkey, Israel) to hold fast (say) and keep their status as protected by the most powerful patron in place.

jfl at 27, I pretty much agree.

Posted by: Noirette | Apr 11 2016 14:42 utc | 37

@dh - i like jfl's answers, but you might be right in your last speculation.

@37 noirette... thanks.. i was being a bit facetious asking those questions.. you are correct that the usa isn't driving the whole bus, but there actions are duplicitous and they are a major reason for the mayham and murder in syria.. i ain't letting the usa wiggle out of it's responsibility for the genocide it has been responsible for and continues to be responsible for in syria and yemen especially.. until they start talking about beheading saudi arabia and there fucked up wahabbi cult, i am holding to this position..

Posted by: james | Apr 11 2016 15:52 utc | 38

"After the U.S. supported "rebels" broke the ceasefire by attacking government position in south of Aleppo and in Latakia the Syrian army is preparing for a big offensive. The aim is to free all of Aleppo governate from the "rebel" al-Qaeda menace."

On the other hand:

The Russian military says it is helping the Syrian army fight the al-Qaida-affiliated Nusra Front around Aleppo, but has no plan to storm the city.

Lt. Gen. Sergei Rudskoi of the military's general staff told Monday's briefing that Nusra has nearly 10,000 fighters southwest and north of Aleppo and plans to cut a strategic highway linking the city with the rest of the country.

Rudskoi said that the Syrian army backed by Russian warplanes is taking action to derail Nusra's plan. He added that "there is no plan to storm Aleppo."

Rudskoi's comment contradicted a statement by Syrian Prime Minister Wael Nader al-Halki, who reportedly told Russian lawmakers in Damascus on Sunday that Syrian troops backed by the Russian air force are preparing a joint operation to capture Aleppo.

Posted by: Emil Pulsifer | Apr 11 2016 23:27 utc | 39

I think when the US says Assad must go, what we mean is this:
1. The Russian naval base should go.
2. The Alawite government should go. Syria should not be allowed to align with Iran.

Assad is a fairly run of the mill authoritarian. His human rights record up until the civil war was not horrible, according to human rights annual reports. When faced with a civil war led by Sunni militias, he pushed back, much to the world's surprise. We thought that he would quickly leave, much like Mubarak in Egypt.

I'm always surprised by how every death in the Syrian civil war is blamed on Assad. I never hear about how Abraham Lincoln killed over 600,000 Americans.

Posted by: Jim Hannan | Apr 12 2016 15:40 utc | 40

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