Middle East

Ex-ambassador disputes Obama’s analysis of rebels

BEIRUT: Washington’s former point man on Syria has countered recent statements by U.S. President Barack Obama about the lack of military capabilities among Syria’s armed opposition. 

Former Ambassador Robert Ford was asked about Obama’s remark that rebels, whom he described as “farmers and dentists,” were unable to topple the regime. Ford told Arabiya television that “of the officers and soldiers I knew, not one of them was a dentist or a farmer,” he said. 

“They were defected officers and soldiers, with the expertise required to receive lethal weapons.” He described the conflict as a three-way war, involving the regime forces, rebels and radical jihadists. 

“No one can defeat the other two sides, which leads me to say that we should support moderate groups to place more pressure on the regime [to negotiate].”

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on July 05, 2014, on page 10.




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