The Obama administration’s failure to facilitate change in the Middle East shows that it is weak, Syrian President Bashar Assad said Sunday during a visit to Latin America amid rising regional tensions over last month’s Gaza flotilla incident and increasing efforts to defuse the Iranian threat.
Assad was quoted Monday in the Argentine daily Clarín as saying that Washington did not “seem to be able to manage a peace process from beginning to end.” He added that while the US was capable of pulling “all its weight” to support a peace process, the current administration has so far proved to be impractical and unable to gain the backing of Congress.
Assad: War likely after flotilla raid
'Washington has lost its influence in the Middle East'
World leaders line up to meet Assad
Assad: Iran supports Israel talks
“Afghanistan is worse than before,” said Assad, stressing that the situation in Iraq had not changed and ties with Syria remained stagnant despite US President Barack Obama’s announcement that he would dispatch a new ambassador to Damascus.
Assad says nuke spotlight should be on Israel as well as Iran
While criticizing the Obama administration, Assad had only words of
praise for rising players in global and regional diplomacy – namely
Turkey and Brazil, who recently brokered a deal to enrich Iran’s uranium
on Turkish soil. The move, said Assad, transfers “essential political
weight from a few countries in the North, such as Europe and the US, to
others in the world.”
Assad expressed hope that initiative would lead to increased cooperation
between the less affluent countries south of the equator. On the
nuclear issue, he said only that Syria wishes to prevent an
“uncontrollable” arms race and “transform the Middle East into a zone
free of nuclear weapons … If Israel continues to be a nuclear power from
a military point of view, unfortunately this race will take off some
The Syrian president said Iran’s “aggressive strategy” was actually
assisting Israeli right-wingers who “have said that Arabs are snakes.”
The focus, he said, should be on Israel’s statements as well as Iran’s.