'Sloppy process' of ousting Assad led to ISIL’s rise, Kerry says
US Secretary of State John Kerry and US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power watch US President Barack Obama address the 69th United Nations General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York, Sept. 24. REUTERS PhotoU.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has placed the blame for the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) on those who resorted to any means to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, creating what he called a “sloppy process.”
“In the very beginning … when the efforts to oust al-Assad took place, there were people who made calculations that the important thing is to remove al-Assad. Yes, there are some bad apples there, but we want to get him out. And that, unfortunately, resulted in funding different groups, and it was, frankly, a sloppy process,” Kerry told CNN International’s Christiane Amanpour during an interview aired on Sept. 24.
Noting that attempts to oust al-Assad and “get rid of the bad apples” after was a bad idea at the time, Kerry spoke more positively about the situation’s current conditions. He stressed that now the anti-ISIL coalition members, including Arab states, “are all on board.”
“So since then, there’s been a real focus on this financing, and state-sponsored support of these groups, I believe, is over. It has ended. There are still individuals within certain countries who have been funneling money to these groups,” he said. “They realized it morphed into something more ominous, more threatening, and so I think people have really pulled back. There’s a sense of purpose now in this focus against ISIL.”
Kerry said Syria’s president lost legitimacy long ago. “This is not about al-Assad now,” he said.
“This is about ISIL. But we are continuing to train openly, equip and arm the moderate opposition. And over the years, we’ve gotten pretty good at vetting and understand – we’ve done 20 years of this now; we did it in Iraq, we’ve done it in Afghanistan – and our folks know how to separate people and begin to determine to the greatest extent possible who is really moderate and prepared to fight,” Kerry said.