Action possible in Syria: US adviser

Action possible in Syria: US adviser

Action possible in Syria: US adviser

Chuck Hagel. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜREL

If things continue as they are in Syria, an international intervention like in Libya may be possible, according to Chuck Hagel, co-chairman of U.S. President Barack Obama’s Intelligence Advisory Board and chairman of the Atlantic Council.

“If things continue to go as they are in Syria, more innocent Syrian civilians are killed and Assad remains in power, then you may well see some international intervention,” Hagel told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday.

Hagel, who participated in the Black Sea Energy & Economic Forum organized by the Atlantic Council in Istanbul, spoke to the Daily News on the sidelines of the conference. Hagel said he believed the Assad government would be toppled in the end. “He cannot maintain his ability to govern his country with the sanctions and no friends and no allies, in a country that is erupting. His people hate him and eventually he will go, that cannot be sustained.”

Hagel said the original point of international intervention in Libya was a human rights issue to protect innocent civilians with the authority of the United Nations, and a similar path followed in Libya could also be possible for Syria.

“It also depends on how long this goes on. The processes that have been used in Syria were mainly trying to peacefully influence the outcome of the sanctions, using all diplomatic, economic and trade influences, powers and authorities that Arab League countries have. Especially the Arab League’s and Turkey’s positions now with Syria are quite significant. Assad now finds himself essentially isolated in the world. Assad has no support anywhere in the world,” Hagel said.

Hagel said he was in favor of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s stance toward Syria. “I admire Prime Minister Erdoğan’s courage and directness on the position he is taking against Assad. The reality is that what comes after Assad and - that is just a matter of time- that new government might need the Turkish relationship. That relationship with Turkey will be very important for the future of Syria,” Hagel said.

Hagel also said the U.S.’s and Turkey’s policies match pretty well in the Arab Spring process. “Turkey and the U.S. have been together on supporting the same policies and in their strategic interests. I know President Obama and Prime Minister Erdoğan talk very often. They talk about Syria, possible strategies; they talk about how best to handle this. Of course that is what allies do. In the end Turkey will take its positions based on its own reasons,” Hagel said.