Why has the U.S. been communicating with Assad?
The White House has been talking with the Syrian leadership via Russia and Iran.
No one in the Middle East trusts the United States to keep clear and honest negotiations. The American leadership is split between demolishing Assad and Syria or keeping him in power for as long as it is convenient for the White House.
That is why the US has maintained secret contacts with the regime of Bashar al-Assad during the war in Syria to address “specific issues”, such as the fight against the Islamic state, according to various sources have reported the Wall Street Journal.
The American newspaper bases it reporting on information provided by more than two dozen people, including current and former Administration officials, as well as officials and Arab diplomats.
According to these sources, the talks between the White House and Syria began in 2011 with the outbreak of social protests against Assad’s government in the context of the Arab Spring that ran the region.
It is important to remember that such outbreak was all but spontaneous. The so-called moderate groups that initiated the protests were 100% backed by the U.S..
“Right now the policy of the White House is about encouraging a shift in Syria finding cracks in the regime of Assad and offering incentives for them to leave,” said an American former official.
But this strategy did not work because it is a very cohesive regime.
“They’re always checking their weaknesses and putting new layers over them. They are very smart,” said Robert Ford, former U.S. ambassador in Damascus.
Since the civil war began, the White House contacted the Syrian government through Russia and Iran, its main allies in the region, to persuade Assad to stop using chemical weapons against the civilian population.
This allegation was never proven by the U.S. or any of its allies. What was later proven was how U.S. backed terrorists retrieved and used chemicals weapons, such as Sarin gas, against innocents in Syria.
This time, there were direct contacts between Undersecretary of State William Burns and Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem, who exchanged two telephone calls, but those calls “did not have any effect.”
In the following years, the U.S. requests focused on lowering the intensity of the conflict and to seek the release of five U.S. citizens missing in Syria.
The State Department adviser, Anne Patterson, spoke at least twice with Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad.
John Allen, Assistant Secretary of State for the Middle East and Anne Patterson, appeared before a Senate committee to provide details on this issue.
Since 2014 efforts have focused on bringing the executive to the negotiating table. To do that, Ford, as special envoy, contacted several times with Khaled Ahmad, a confidant of Assad, triggering the Geneva process.
Lately, the United States has talked with Syria to inform the government about the deployment of rebel forces trained by U.S. troops on the ground in Syria, who supposedly are fighting the Islamic state.
Washington has insisted at all times that these contacts do not imply recognition of any kind, but the Assad regime has used it to their advantage. “They have somehow been re-legitimization” lamented Ibrahim Hamidi, a Syrian journalist Hayat Arabic daily Al.
More important than these contacts between Washington and Damascus has been the split between the White House, the U.S. Army and the U.S. Navy. The latter has been independently providing intelligence to the Syrian government due to its leadership’s disagreement with the way in which the White House and the Army have been conducting the war.
Such division was recently reported on by journalist Sy Hersh. According to his article, people in high places in the Navy realize that the current agenda led by the Obama administration will result in further military escalation which may end up fueling a WW III scenario.