In new comments today at a European security conference, Secretary of State John Kerry again played up the idea that a political transition in Syria, which he reiterated would have to mean the immediate removal of President Bashar Assad, would be a game-changer for the ongoing war.
Incredibly, Kerry termed the removal of Assad not only a “boon for everyone,” but claimed that ISIS would be totally destroyed “in a matter of months” with this transition toward a rebel-dominated government.
Interestingly, the narrative of a rebel-government unity being the key to beating ISIS had been Russia’s talking point, and spurned by the US, but now the State Department are adopting a variation, with Assad’s removal their primary goal.
This is also the closest anyone in the administration has come to a timetable for defeating ISIS, preposterous though it may be. The “matter of months” claim is likely considered harmless by the administration since there is no real chance of Assad voluntarily turning over the government to pro-US rebels.
The notion of Assad’s ouster as a cure-all is also politically controversial, with Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz suggesting that keeping Assad in power was important to keeping the US secure, noting the recent problems with ousted dictators elsewhere in the region.