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White House Comment on Syria Means US Admits Reality on Assad - Ex-Diplomat

© AFP 2021 / LOUAI BESHARAPoster bearing a portrait of President Bashar al-Assad
Poster bearing a portrait of President Bashar al-Assad - Sputnik International
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White House spokesperson Sean Spicer’s statement that the United States is ready to let Syrian President Bashar Assad stay in power should be welcomed as a belated recognition of Middle East realities, retired Canadian diplomat Patrick Armstrong told Sputnik.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — On Friday, White House spokesperson Sean Spicer said in a briefing that the United States should accept the political reality with respect to Assad being in power and focus on eliminating the Daesh terror group (banned in Russia).

"[The comment is] a recognition of reality, which is always a good thing," Armstrong said on Friday.

The silhouette of a Syrian man is seen through an election campaign portrait of President Bashar al-Assad he hangs it on a billboard on May 11, 2014 in the capital Damascus. - Sputnik International
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Armstrong said he believed the comment was inspired by Trump’s desire to promote stability in the Middle East and improve cooperation with Syria in driving Daesh out of its remaining strongholds in Raqqa as well as in Iraq’s Mosul.

Such an approach would allow Trump to concentrate on his domestic policies, where he is facing continued opposition from the Democrats in Congress and revolts from libertarian-leaning Republicans, he pointed out.

"My personal view is that Trump is concentrating on domestic affairs at this time," Armstrong said.

Armstrong, who previously served as Charge d’affaires in the Canadian Embassy in Moscow, noted that Trump also wanted to avoid unnecessary conflicts with other countries in the Middle East.

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Trump had clearly been prevented from pursuing his often-expressed goal of improving relations with Moscow by the wave of anti-Russian hysteria being promulgated both by politicians and media outlets in Washington, Armstrong said.

Trump’s "foreign policy has been somewhat derailed by the anti-Russia hysteria that has taken hold of the chattering classes [in the United States," Armstrong added.

Until his retirement, Armstrong was a Canadian diplomat who was a specialist on the Soviet Union and Russia. He previously served as political counselor in the Canadian Embassy in Moscow.

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