S Nihal Singh
Mar 30 2015
It took US Secretary of State John Kerry four years of civil war in Syria in which more than 200,000 died, millions were forced to become refugees in neighbouring countries, millions more internally displaced and a country largely in ruins to say he is willing to talk to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad. True, there were no easy options as Washington sought to help overthrow the Alawite President of a Sunni-majority state. After two wars, in Iraq and Afghanistan, Americans had no appetite for another war in the region.
As the Syrian carnage continued with Turkey, among others, rooting for President Assad's overthrow, it became clear that there were divisions in the opponents' ranks and it soon transpired that the most potent opposition came from the al-Qaida-linked factions, rather than the favoured moderate opposition. And while President Barack Obama hesitated and even saved retaliatory attacks in the face of chemical use, he opted for Russia's deal to destroy all of Syrian chemical weapons.