Much like a game of telephone, White House officials seem to be having trouble pushing a unified message regarding the Islamic State policy.
Speaking Friday at a news conference in Greece, Secretary of State John Kerry contradicted President Barack Obama when asked about Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, saying, “With respect to the question of Assad and the timing, I think the answer is … it is not clear that he would have to ‘go’ if there was clarity with respect to what his future might or might not be.”
Kerry’s remarks follow Obama’s scathing rebuke of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s bolstering of Assad. “I think Mr. Putin understands that, with Afghanistan fresh in the memory for him, to simply get bogged down in an inconclusive and paralyzing civil conflict is not the outcome that he’s looking for,” said Obama, speaking at a press conference in Paris on Tuesday. In a November meeting with the newly minted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the president was much more blunt: “It is unimaginable that you can stop the civil war here when the overwhelming majority of people in Syria consider him (Assad) to be a brutal, murderous dictator.”
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford also broke with the Administration Tuesday when he testified to congress that the U.S. has “not contained” ISIS. The testimony contradicted President Obama’s comments prior to the Paris attacks that ISIS was indeed contained. (RELATED: Carter: US Special Forces Deploying To Conduct ‘Unilateral Operations In Syria’)
It appears the often lauded international coalition fighting ISIS is also not on the same page as Kerry. German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen gave the German government’s thoughts on the Assad question saying, “The top line is: there will be no cooperation with Assad and no cooperation with troops under his command.” (RELATED: Germany Makes Noncommittal Commitment In War On ISIS)
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