Middle East

Don’t engage the regime, former U.S. envoy says

BEIRUT: Ambassador Robert Ford, the former White House point man on Syria policy, urged a stepped-up effort to arm “moderate opposition fighters,” in an op-ed published in the New York Times Tuesday. 

Ford has given a series of interviews in recent days, detailing his experience in policy-making, and in the op-ed article he complained that the “media attention about my departure misses the point.” 

Ford reiterated his stance that moderate factions in the armed opposition should receive better and more effective military assistance from Washington, while speaking firmly against an alternative policy option being debated, namely focusing on fighting “terror,” with the help of the regime of President Bashar Assad. 

“Some have argued that the easier course is to accept that Mr. Assad is entrenched in the capital and work with his regime to contain and eliminate the terrorist groups in Syria,” Ford wrote. 

“This would not benefit American security.” Ford said the Assad regime had a track record of working with Al-Qaeda groups, such as in the wake of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. 

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on June 11, 2014, on page 8.




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