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    People walk past a billboard depicting Syria's President Bashar al-Assad at Saadallah al-Jabri Square, in the government controlled area of Aleppo, Syria December 17, 2016

    Change in US Stance on Syria Is 'What Trump Promised and Americans Voted for'

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    The White House statement that Washington should no longer try to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad marked the recognition of Middle East realities by US policymakers at last, former Department of State diplomat Anthony Salvia told Sputnik.

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

    “Finally, we have a US president guided by a realistic assessment of US interests and the situation ‘on the ground’ rather than [by] the dictates of ideology," Salvia told Sputnik.

    Salvia noted that President Donald Trump promised throughout his election campaign last year to abandon the long-established US policies of promoting regime change across the Middle East and elsewhere in the name of democracy and human rights.

    “The White House's acknowledgment of reality in Syria is a significant development,” Salvia claimed.

    Spicer’s statement reflected the emerging recognition in Washington that Assad’s government in Damascus had not threatened or attacked the United States whereas Islamist extremist groups such as Daesh and al-Qaeda were fiercely antagonistic to it, Salvia pointed out.

    This new, more realistic policy angered regime change hawks among liberals and neoconservatives on both the American Left and Right but it was popular with the mainstream population, Salvia observed.

    “The Democrats and not a few Republicans are not happy about this, but change is what Trump promised and Americans voted for. Clearly in the case of Syria, change is in the offing, indeed has already happened,” he said.

    Salvia recalled that Assad had always protected the Christian community in Syria, though over the past six years it had been devastated by Islamist forces in the country’s civil war.

    “It never made sense for the United States to seek to overthrow one of the main defenders of Christianity in the Middle East, and to do so by sending arms to evil groups like al-Qaeda — the people who carried out the September 11, 2001 attack on the US,” he said.

    Salvia suggested Trump should follow up the positive change he had made in Syria in the US national interest by withdrawing the Treaty that would allow Montenegro to join NATO.

    Anthony Salvia was Special Adviser to the US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs under President Ronald Reagan, director of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Moscow bureau, and is a Partner at Global Strategic Communications Group.

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    change, Bashar al-Assad, Donald Trump, Syria, United States
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