Biden Apologizes to Turkey, UAE for Frank Assessment of Syria Conflict

Harvard Speech Fuels Outrage Among Allies

A high-profile Thursday speech at Harvard’s Kennedy School landed Vice President Joe Biden in some hot water, as he offered unusually frank comments on the rise of ISIS and other Islamist factions in Syria.

During the speech, Biden said Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates “poured hundreds of millions of dollars” into the Syrian rebellion, and started a “proxy Sunni-Shia war” in the region. He declared the nations America’s “biggest problem” in Syria.

Which didn’t sit well with those nations, not so much because they didn’t mention the US doing the exact same thing, but because the truth isn’t the sort of thing you say publicly.

Biden, needless to say, ended up having to make apology phone calls, with both Turkey and the UAE reporting Biden called to thank them for being allies and apologize for the “implication they supported militants,” even though they both clearly supported militants.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.