‘ISIS: War of propaganda as much about bombs and explosions’

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President Assad has got to be a part of a transition government, how long that transition is needs to be discussed, says Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff to Colin Powell. But we need to get arguing and get to a settlement, he adds.

RT: The US says it didn't carry out strikes in the area where Syrian soldiers were killed. Can you understand people's suspicions given that US forces repeatedly denied bombing an Afghan hospital before finally admitting it? ['Doctors Without Borders' hospital in Kunduz hit on October 3, 2015 killing 30 people including staff.]

Lawrence Wilkerson: I’d have to say two things right away and one is that everyone exercises their right to what I’d call “propaganda” in this horrible conflict, and second that there are so many forces involved that it would be extremely difficult to instantaneously or near instantaneously to satisfy any source as to whether or not it had been described accurately or not. Who knows what’s happening?

RT: It couldn’t be ISIL that was carrying that out, could it be?

LW: Lots of people could have carried it out. The Turks could have carried it out, the coalition which involves a number of different airplanes; the Russians could have carried it out. Who knows who dropped the bombs and who knows even if the bombs were dropped the way they were being described. This is a war of propaganda as much as it is of iron bombs and explosions.

RT: Days before the Syrian army base incident the US Secretary of State criticized Russia and Iran for supporting Assad and warned that “tough choices” could be made. What does John Kerry mean by tough choices?

LW: I hope he is trying to gain leverage in what I hope are secret talks going on right now between Tehran, Ankara, Riyadh, Washington, perhaps, others, Moscow, I hope. I think what he said, if it is not to gain leverage, is a little bit preposterous. Because, let’s face it, we are the ones who are violating international law by what we are doing in Syria, not the other parties.

RT: Obama's critics say he's offering nothing new. Does the US need a rethink of what it's going to take to defeat ISIS?

LW: I happen to agree with the President. I don’t agree that airstrikes and other things as he described them – special forces or whatever - are going to get anybody anything other than maybe a little bit of reduction in what ISIS’s capabilities are. But I agree with him wholeheartedly that boots on the ground,  I hate that expression, I’m an infantryman, troops on the ground is going to do any good. This has got to be achieved through a political solution and the principal partners have to be Moscow, Ankara, Tehran, Damascus, of course, and Washington and others who have a dog in the fight.

I think you’ve got to understand that Assad has got to be a part of a transition government, how long that transition is needs to be the arguing point. But we need to get to that arguing and we need to get to a settlement.

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