Kerry 'mistaken' if thinks that he pushes Syrian rebels towards dialogue

“By giving them even more political recognition and promising more support on the count he will push them for a better readiness for a dialogue - he is definitely mistaken,” editor-in-chief of the 'Syria Tribune' online magazine, Dr Ali Mohamad told RT.

They need to hear it very loudly and clearly, that ‘a dialogue is the only way out’. Anything else Kerry is trying to do ‘will lead in the wrong direction’, Mohamad added.

US Secretary of State John Kerry signalled Washington's readiness to support the Syrian rebels during a meeting with his Russian counterpart in Berlin - ahead of Thursday's so-called Friends of Syria meeting in Rome. The speech was about possible military and humanitarian assistance for the Syrian opposition. But Dr. Ali Mohamad doubts that yet another new face in American politics will make a difference in Syria.

RT:John Kerry says this time will be different, pledging more support to the Syrian rebels. How much aid do you think there will be?

Ali Mohamad: The real question should be “How much aid is left to be done? What more can the US and its allies give to the rebels?”. They are giving them shelter in neighboring countries, they are giving them free passage to enter those countries, they are giving them (even though not directly through the US, but via local or regional proxis) arms, weapons, all kinds of explosives and political recognition. What more can Kerry offer?

RT:What do you think Kerry means by more support then?

AM: What I think is Mr. Kerry is trying to prepare the coalition for the next step, which should be a dialogue. If he thinks that by giving them even more political recognition and promising more support on the notion he can push them towards better readiness for a dialogue - he is definitely mistaken. They need to hear it very loudly and clearly, that a dialogue is the only way out. Anything else Kerry is trying to do will lead in the wrong direction.

Bashar al-Assad (L) meeting with US Senator John Kerry at Al-Shaab palace in Damascus on April 1, 2010 (AFP Photo / HO)

RT:John Kerry says the US is seeking ways to speed up a political transition in Syria, admitting the time has passed for President Assad to leave power. What do you make of this statement?

AM: They have been putting a lot of pressure on this regime change and the balance on the ground did not change based on that. They have tried every possible way, including Mr. Obama calling for Assad to step down more than a year ago and this did not work. Mr. Kerry thinks that he has a magic solution to convince Assad rather than push him to leave power. We don’t know what he means by that, but I assure you it will also not work. What Mr. Kerry needs to do is to give a clear and loud statement that it’s only dialogue that is the way out. And his allies and actually the coalition, given the precedent that Clinton created, should understand this. And this is the only message that Syria needs Kerry to give.

RT:This “only dialogue” method has been something that Russia has been pushing for from the beginning. Why the change of heart in Washington, why haven't they taken the same approach as used in Libya for example?

AM: There are many factors in this, mainly though because the Syrian army did not act the way Washington expected it to act. It remained united, it remained strong, it remained acting on the ground and it remained behind the Syrian foreign policy. There are other factors including the growing influence of Islamists and radical extremists and even straight Al-Qaeda offspring are there in Syria and also in Libya and the events with the US ambassador in Libya was also a very big event. There are many factors, but the number one factor that is determining factor is that this struggle is marked by the unity and the strength of the Syrian army.

John Kerry (L) during his tour of the historic Umayad mosque in Damascus' Old City 08 January 2005 (AFP Photo / Louai Beshara)