U.S. , Iran Offer Clashing Accounts of Syria Civil War

kerry rouhaniSecretary of State John Kerry and President Hassan Rouhani of Iran offered clashing accounts on Thursday of the civil war in Syria, and the role that Tehran is playing in the conflict.

The contrasting assessments illustrated the chasm that still separates the United States and Iran
on Middle East issues even as they have agreed on a temporary accord to freeze much of Iran’s nuclear program.

In an interview here with the news agency Al Arabiya, Mr. Kerry said that it was time for Iran to match its words about the need for a peaceful solution to the war in Syria with deeds. If Iran wants to play a stabilizing role in Syria, Mr. Kerry suggested, it should stop sending paramilitary forces there and rein in its proxies who are fighting with President Bashar al-Assad’s forces against the rebels.

“Iran has I.R.G.C. personnel on the ground in Syria conducting military affairs,” Mr. Kerry said, using the abbreviation for Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. Mr. Kerry also said that Iran was the main supporter of Hezbollah, the Lebanese militia, which he asserted was “the principal difference in the fighting that has taken place on the ground in Syria.”

But the Iranian president offered an assessment that differed so radically it was difficult to imagine that he was talking about the same country. Echoing arguments used by Mr. Assad, Mr. Rouhani suggested that terrorism, not power-sharing with the opposition, was the main issue.

“All of us should work to push terrorists out of Syria,” Mr. Rouhani said in an address to the World Economic Forum in this Alpine village. Though he described the insurgents who had taken up arms against the Syrian president as “ruthless killers,” Mr. Rouhani made no mention of the arms or personnel Iran had sent to Syria or of Hezbollah’s role.

The dueling accounts pointed to the deeper, compartmentalized nature of American-Iranian relations. Though Mr. Kerry has had extensive negotiations with Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Obama administration’s discussions with the Iranians, including its back-channel talks, have focused almost entirely on the nuclear issue.

There was no indication that the tentative efforts to find common ground on the nuclear question had laid the basis for a broader accommodation on regional disputes. If anything, the interim agreement on Iran’s nuclear program called to mind the sort of arms control accords the White House reached with the Kremlin during the chillier days of the Cold War, in which Moscow and Washington sought to limit their nuclear arms even as they waged proxy wars and competed for influence in the third world.

The contrasting American and Iranian assessments came a day after the peace talks on Syria opened in Montreux with a defiant speech from a Syrian government official. Mr. Kerry acknowledged in his interview on Thursday that there were no indications that Mr. Assad was prepared to vacate his post. “He’s not ready at this point in time,” Mr. Kerry said.

Mr. Kerry also did not present a clear blueprint for how he hoped to persuade Mr. Assad to change his mind, beyond mobilizing international pressures.

Yet it was Mr. Rouhani who was on the diplomatic offensive. Describing himself as an advocate of “prudent moderation,” Mr. Rouhani said he sought “constructive engagement” with Iran’s neighbors and pledged that his country had no intention of acquiring nuclear weapons, speaking to a packed auditorium that included some Israeli participants and Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s foreign policy chief.

John Chipman, chief executive of the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, said Mr. Rouhani’s speech was in essence “an application to rejoin the international community.”

“His buzz-terms were ‘prudent moderation’ and ‘constructive engagement,’ ” said Mr. Chipman, who was in the audience. “He is saying: Trust me as a leader.”

Yet Israeli leaders attending Davos took exception to Mr. Rouhani’s comments, saying they represented a missed opportunity and were intended to mislead world opinion. “Rouhani is continuing with the Iranian show of deception,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in remarks relayed by his office in Jerusalem.

Mr. Rouhani’s conciliatory tone certainly did not represent a convergence with the United States on Syria, the most urgent Middle East crisis.

Mr. Kerry suggested that Iran might yet play a role in the Syria peace talks if it publicly embraced the mandate for Swiss peace talks, which calls for the establishment of a transitional administration that could run the country if Mr. Assad agreed to yield power.

But Mr. Rouhani appeared to show no interest in that possibility. Instead, he again echoed the Assad government’s arguments calling for “free and fair elections” and stating that “no outside power” should seek to determine Syria’s future.

NY Times

  • barabie

    “stating that “no outside power” should seek to determine Syria’s future.”

    How he could bark that with a straight face beggars belief.

    • Patience2

      He’s a Shiite … he lies.

      • barabie

        I wouldn’t go as far as blaming the religion. I doubt he is a practicing shite, he is more power and money hungry.

        • Btru2u

          Your being very diplomatic, God, Shows us who the munafiqeen are for a reason,
          The shite cult is an innovation based on hatred of the prophets (pbuh) companions, and history has shown us , the treachery they had done , especially when they sided with the mongols against the genuine Muslims. They sided with and helped America with intelligence and support against Afghanistan and Iraq.
          You should read the book , ” the mirage in Iran” . This will change your view on the Shia, and show how dangerous they are to the peace and stability of the Muslims. I don’t hate them ,because I don’t want to be like them, but they are truly misguided, and must be educated and warned of the path they are walking.
          I wish I could reason with them.

  • barabie

    Maliki is doing to iraqis what his boyfriend assaad is doing to Syrians. Even to Christians as the pic shows. I’m sure hind will defend this murderer too.
    “The so-called “anti-terrorism assails” are led under the pretext that the cities of al-Anbar – notably the largest of them, which are Fallujah and Ramadi – have been infiltrated by al-Qaeda, although the citizens themselves have repeatedly and clearly refuted such claims. Due to the siege and in the fear of an imminent attack by the government forces, which are known for their ruthlessness and indiscriminate brutality, countless people have fled the cities. The current situation has reached a dangerous level. Densely populated cities of Saqlawiya, Karma and Khalidiya are directly targeted, besides Ramadi and Fallujah, which are already under heavy non-discriminative bombardment by artillery and military aircrafts.”

    • Btru2u

      Blessed are meek, blessed are the innocent victims of Syria, for they shall inherit God’s kingdom.

      On the authority of Zaid Ibn Thabit Al-Ansari that: ‘I heard the Messenger of Allah (saw) say, ‘How blessed is Al-Sham! How blessed is Al-Sham!’ “And how is that, Oh Messenger of Allah?” People asked him. ‘Those angels of Allah have spread their wings over Al-Sham’, he answered.’ ‘The Prophets built Bait Al-Maqdis (Al Quds),’ Ibn Abbas added. ‘And the Prophets lived in it, and there is not an inch in Bait Al-Maqdis where a Prophet has not prayed or an Angel has not stood.’ [Tirmidhi]

      “This rule (i.e. the Khilafah) will be after me in Medina, then in Al-Sham, then in al-Jazeera
      (peninsula), then in Iraq, then in Medina, then in Bayt Al-Maqdis (Al-Quds), and when the rule is established in Al-Quds, that would be its place, and thereafter nobody will be able to remove it.”

      Ibn ‘Asakir quoted Yunus Ibn Maysara Ibn Halbas as saying that Rasoolallah (saw) had stated: “This matter (namely the Khilafa) will be after me in Madina, then in Syria, then in the Jazira, then in Iraq, then in Madina, then in Jerusalem. If it is in Jerusalem, its home country is there, and if any people expel it, it will not return there for ever.”
      [Ibn ‘Asakir, Tahdhib Tarikh Dimashq al-Kabir, Volume 1, p42. (Dar al-Masiyrah, Beirut, 1979]

      Mu’adh Ibn Jabal (ra) quoted the Prophet (saw) as saying: ‘O Mu’adh! Allah the Almighty will enable you to conquer Al-Sham, after my death, from Al-Arish to the Euphrates. Their men and women will be garrisoned until the Day of Judgement. Whoever from amongst you chooses one of the coasts of Al-Sham or Bait Al-Maqdis (Al-Quds) is in Jihad until the Day of Judgement.’

      Ibn Sa’d quoted ‘Abd Al-Rahman Ibn Abi ‘Umayra al-Mazni, “There will be a Baya’a of guidance in Bayt Al-Maqdis (Jerusalem).”
      [‘Ala’ al-Din Ali al-Mutaqi Ibn Husam al-Din al-Hindi, Kanz al-‘Umal fi Sunan al-‘Aqwal wa al- ‘Af’al,(Mu’asasat al-Risalah, Beirut, 1979), Vol 14, p.148, Hadith No. 38199]

      It was narrated by Saeed b. Almusayyab that he said “There will be an ordeal in Ash-Sham so often that when it goes down from one side it goes up from another. This ordeal will not end until a caller from the sky will call the name of your Ameer”. This means that the ordeal will prolong until the establishment of the Khilafah.

      Note the following statement was narrated by a companion of the Prophet Muhammad (saw): It was narrated by Suliman b. Hafez Al-himyariy that he said “There will be an ordeal in Ash-Sham that will be frequent like the frequency of water in the water skin but will be removed after you become repentant and after you become so hungry but in that ordeal the smell of bread will be better for you than the smell of musk”.

      Narrated by Suliman b. Hafez Al-himyariy that a man said to him forty years ago that he heard Kaab Al’ahbar saying: “When the ordeal of Palestine becomes agitated it will be frequent like the frequency of water in the water skin, when it is removed you will be repentant and few”.

      Narrated by Abdullah Ibn Umar (ra), “I heard the Messenger of Allah (saw) say, ‘There will be Hijra (migration) after Hijra. The best of the inhabitants of the Earth will live in the place where Ibrahim (as) made Hijra and the evil will remain elsewhere on Earth.’” [Abu Dawud]

      “Two Hijrah’s will take place, and the latter will be to the place where your father Ibrahim (as) had immigrated (i.e. Palestine).”
      Note: Hijrah occurs when Muslims emigrate from Kufr lands to the Islamic state.

      Imam Ahmed reported in his Musnad (5/35) that the Messenger (saw) said:
      “If the people of as-Sham (Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria) went astray then there would be no goodness amongst you, but however there will continue to be a group supported from my ummah, and they will not be bothered by those who disapproved until the day of Judgement”.

      The Imam Ahmad related in his Musnad that Abu Umama Al-Bahili quoted Rasoolallah (saw) as
      saying: “A group from my Ummah are still knowledgeable about the truth, they are vanquishing their enemy, and those who disagree with them cannot harm them until Almighty Allah’s command comes to them. They are thus.” “O Messenger of Allah,” he was asked, “where are they?” “In and around Jerusalem,” Rasoolallah (saw) replied.
      [Musnad al-Imam Ahmad, Vol 5 p 269 (al-Maktab al-Islami Lil Tiba’a wa al-Nashir, Beirut)]

      • 5thDrawer

        And Verily, the Peoples of the Earth cried out as one voice … calling often and loud:
        “Hijrah, indeed Hijrah, Oh Sons of Messengers, that our sufferings shall be no more.”

  • Btru2u

    Rouhani and Kerry are continuing with this theatatric show of deception, in order to buy time , whilst proceeding with the hopeful goal of eliminating , the genuine islamic resistance,.
    We can see straight through them…..

  • 5thDrawer

    Everything coming out of that whole area is so weird and contradictory, and basically unbelievable, that the Canadian Prime Minister decided to take a ‘first-ever trip’ to the ‘area’, and find out for himself if anything could be understood from any ‘side’.
    Early reports are coming back to now-nervous Canuks, as he moves from Israel to Jordan … apparently he’s 2 shades whiter already. Extra cases of TUMS are being sent by RCA fighter jet.
    And a couple of cases of ‘Moosehead Ale’.

    • Hind Abyad

      Harper is Christian Zionist Evangelist elected with Bnei Brith’s money, Canada’s decadence,
      who had brilliant Prime Ministers as Lester Person, Trudeau..and brave Chrétien, when retarded Bush said; if you’re not with us you’re against us (Irak War), he said “we’re not there”.
      That’s why Je..err Zionists hate Quebec.

      • 5thDrawer

        And visa versa, Hind. Did the French ever like them??
        I liked Chretien … he knew how to Joue au Hockey, and sell the Gaz.
        I’m sure Mister Underwater loved him too. ;-)
        Quebec, Mafia, and Bike Gangs have done well together – in a country largely run by the Liberals since it’s inception. N’est ce pas? (Check latest ‘old-folks-home’ construction)
        (Although everyone dumps on Conservatives forever anyway. :-))))
        But don’t get me going on ‘The Trudeau’ lineage … the guy who impressed the women, but had gone for schooling with Manley of Jamaica into the ‘rich-boys’ vaunted ‘London School Of Economics’ – which taught them they could ‘spend now and the kiddies of the future would pay’ it back. (Keynes Philosophy)
        Obvious problem in that.
        And where are we now? Stuck with that stupid (voluntary) C-Metric system for one thing, which only allowed businesses to gouge and taxes to rise. Can’t say the voters are any smarter anywhere … it’s just that the Canuk ‘system’ has some better checks and balances – and ‘The Press’ is still allowed to print what it thinks, to catch up to the bastards eventually. Sometimes, the cops do too. ;-)

        • 5thDrawer

          Ok. Back to Lebanon.

        • Hind Abyad

          Yes ..but i’m on Radio Canada fm.. it would be interresting to try it, it’s intermission after 1th act, they explain etc..Then back to Lebanon ..if you want.,

    • 5thDrawer

      Harper really needed the TUMS in the Jordanian refugee camp. Returning very soon.

  • barabie

    Yalibnan why no mention of the war in Iraq?

  • 5thDrawer

    I can’t wait until the ‘Ukrianian Revolution’ begins to be debated on here and in the UN … ;-)