Kerry: US to Hasten Syria Regime Change

Condemns Syrian Govt Offer of Talks With Rebels

by Jason Ditz, February 25, 2013

In a news conference today in London, Secretary of State John Kerry slammed the Syrian government for offering peace talks to the rebels, insisting that he didn’t believe they should be taken seriously and promising to step up US involvement in the ongoing civil war.

Kerry said the days of the rebels “wondering where there support is or if it’s coming” are over, and that the Obama Administration is determined to “hasten” the regime change that it has been pressing for in recent months.

US officials have previously couched their intervention in Syria as aiming to “change the calculation” toward convincing Assad to cede power, but they also seem to be pressing the rebels hard to spurn anything resembling peace talks, even though some Syrian officials have expressed openness to a negotiated settlement and a transition to an election.

Though this apparently makes sense in the context of the US pushing for an unconditional regime change, having the rebels spurn talks even though the war is stalemated is likely to cost thousands of additional lives, and the US opposition to peace talks in general is likely to be a matter of long-term international embarrassment, particularly with Russia working so hard to get the government to the table for talks.

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