Saturday, 13 August 2016

"Nobody in this country is advocating an American military intervention"

 Nicholas Burns:

 "Back in 2012, we know now that she [Hillary Clinton] was part of a group, including Leon Panetta and David Petraeus, advocating not that the US intervene militarily in Syria, but that we arm those Sunni rebels that could oppose the Assad régime; and the Assad régime has killed most of the civilians in Syria. In 2013, if you do draw a line in the sand as President Obama did, and then if Assad crossed it and you do nothing, that is a symbol of weakness. So I think actually she's in the mainstream of what most Democrats, and most Republicans, here in our country, and I think in many European capitals, think would have been the right way to go on Syria.

 I think it made sense in 2012, and still makes sense in 2016, that if there are Syrians in the Sunni majority Arab community in Syria, who want to defend themselves, who are not part of the Islamic State or Jabhat al-Nusra...In this civil war, that has produced twelve million homeless, the destruction of the entire country, the greatest humanitarian crisis of our time, we shouldn't stand by.

 Nobody in this country, my country, is advocating an American military intervention. But what we are advocating is two things. Help those moderate Sunni rebels who want to defend their homes, and their villages, and their towns, against this rapacious government in Damascus, and its Russian, Iranian, and Hezbollah allies. Number two, you've got to help the refugees, and that means we've got to get humanitarian aid corridors by the United Nations and NGOs into Aleppo, which is being besieged right now, pressure the Russians and the Chinese to stop vetoing those aid columns at the United Nations. This is not an intervention of the type, and it was wrong I think in retrospect, of the type of Iraq in 2003, it is simply trying to deal responsibly with the greatest crisis in the Middle East and Syria and Iraq. It also means we have to fight the Islamic State, and that's what Europe and the Arab world and the US are trying to do."
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