Mr Kerry visited Damascus in February 2009, when he was chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
He said in a press conference during the visit: “President Barack Obama’s administration considers Syria a key player in Washington’s efforts to revive the stalled Middle East peace process.
“Syria is an essential player in bringing peace and stability to the region.”
Mr Kerry met with Mr Assad at least six times, and on one occasion – seen in the photographs – dining with the two men’s wives at the Naranj restaurant in central Damascus.
Today’s headlines are surreal to anyone who remembers the aftermath and hysteria in Washington in the wake of September 11, 2001. Today, the terms “rebels” and “Al Nusra” (Al Qaeda in Syria) are used interchangeably by the US and European press in an attempt to obscure the obvious fact that the very “rebels” the US and its European and Persian Gulf allies are funding, training and arming in Syria are quite literally the terrorist factions these same governments have claimed to be fighting for the past 15 years.
Reports put the death toll among the Iranian, Afghani and Lebanese militiamen as high as 80 in the attack spearheaded by the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front.
Israel has not missed the chance to pick off top Iranian and Hezbollah commanders in Syria over the past year or more.
|Image: US-European narratives appear to center around the premise that somehow, Hezbollah is more a threat than Al Qaeda, to the point of supporting Al Qaeda in defeating Hezbollah.|