Syria Can Live Any Way It Wants… As Long as 'Washington Approves'

© AFP 2022 / LOUAI BESHARASyrian men walk past a poster bearing a portrait of President Bashar al-Assad in the capital Damascus, on February 27, 2016, as the first major ceasefire of the five-year war takes hold and an international task force prepares to begin monitoring the landmark truce
Syrian men walk past a poster bearing a portrait of President Bashar al-Assad in the capital Damascus, on February 27, 2016, as the first major ceasefire of the five-year war takes hold and an international task force prepares to begin monitoring the landmark truce - Sputnik International
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The Syrians supposedly have a right to determine their own future, but, as evidenced by a recent State Department press briefing, this future can only look like the one that Washington has in mind for the war-torn Arab Republic.

During a briefing that took place on March 17, State Department spokesman John Kirby tried to explain why the Obama administration opposed the Kurdish self-rule in northern Syria, but could not quite nail it.

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Kirby said that Syria was supposed to stay unified, could not contain any semi-autonomous zones and could not be led by Bashar al-Assad, but the Syrians surely had the freedom to choose whatever future they wanted for their own country.

State Department spokespeople sometimes seem to have mastered the art of making mutually exclusive assumptions. Jen Psaki cannot but spring to mind.

Kirby's lengthy explanation (or an ill-fated attempt thereof) was best summed up by AP diplomatic writer Matt Lee.

"So the political transition in Geneva – the Syrians are free to come up with whatever kind of system they want. It's up to them to decide. But the United States says they can't have Assad as their leader, and they can't have a federal system of any sort. How is that leaving it up to the Syrians to decide how they're going to govern themselves?"

© AP Photo / Hassan AmmarA Syrian girl chases pigeons in Marjeh Square, in Damascus, Syria, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016
A Syrian girl chases pigeons in Marjeh Square, in Damascus, Syria, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016 - Sputnik International
A Syrian girl chases pigeons in Marjeh Square, in Damascus, Syria, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016

In other words, the Syrians can choose any system of governance they like and elect any officials they deem fitting if Washington is not against. Otherwise, they will apparently have to think again.

Political analyst Daniel McAdams summarized Washington's approach to freedom and sovereignty by saying that "you are free to choose your own future as long as you choose the future we want for you." He also called America's policy on Syria "uber-incoherent" and the US foreign policy in general "really, really bad."

You can view the full exchange here (23:40):

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