07:11 GMT27 February 2020
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    In the wake of cessation of hostilities in Syria Russian online newspaper Gazeta.ru sat down with a former American diplomat and a retired Israeli brigadier general to talk about the changes in Washington's rhetoric regarding the ousting of President Assad and find out why the long-standing calls for his removal suddenly abated.

    When you proclaim that “Assad must go,” you then should make the next move, Daniel C. Kurtzer, former American diplomat, former US ambassador to Egypt (1997-2001) and Israel (2001-2005) and a foreign policy advisor to President Obama's campaign in 2008 told the newspaper.

    The US apparently wasn’t ready to actually go into Syria to get rid of the president and so it had to tone down its rhetoric, he added.

    The former diplomat noted however that the position of the Obama administration on the future of President Assad remained unchanged as the US doesn’t think that he could contribute to the solution of the Syrian problem.

    He might be allowed to take part in the beginning of the national reconciliation process, Daniel C. Kurtzer suggested.

    Retired Israeli Brig. General Shlomo Brom, former director of strategic planning for the Israeli Defense Forces General Staff, suggested that the US should move away from its policy of issuing slogans.

    “If you proclaim that Assad must go, then it should become the main leading aspect of your policy,” he said. “And if it is only a slogan, then you do not have any real ideas on who is worth taking his seat.”

    Assad was predictable, he added, and someone whom you could send a “message” regardless of the content – be it a threat or an invitation to reconciliation.

    Even when you bomb someone, the former general said, it is also some kind of a “message.”

    “We understood his reasoning,” he added. “For me, Assad is not the worst option, however there are other, better opportunities in Syria. It can become more open and, to a certain degree, a more democratic country.”

    Democracy is not so important when a society is not ready for it. Any attempt to impose democracy by force could lead to a catastrophe, the retired general added.


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    ousting, toppling, policy, rhetoric, Shlomo Brom, Daniel C. Kurtzer, Bashar al-Assad, Syria, United States
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