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Is there a plan for a post-Assad Syria?

July 24th, 2012
04:51 PM ET

Former U.S. National Security Adviser, General Jim Jones tells CNN's Christiane Amanpour the absence of such a plan would have grave consequences – for Syria and the rest of the region.

“It was okay to be surprised by Tunisia for example,” General Jones said. “Maybe you could excuse it a little bit in Egypt. But Syria is a real big strategic country, particularly as it relates to stability in the Middle East. What happens to Lebanon for example if Assad goes? What happens to Iran?”

But does a plan exist? General Jones, a former member of the Obama administration, didn’t confirm it. But he did stress the importance of having one: “Obviously we should have a plan. As a global leader we need to consider what the elements of that plan are.”

Then he put forward his own framework: “From my standpoint it’s not just about sending in troops but it’s about having economic incentives and packages. It could be international; it could be multinational, but we have to figure out as quickly as possible who’s likely to emerge in a leadership position, how do we talk to them, and how do you put something on the table that meets the expectations of the people of Syria who are putting their lives on the line for a better life and a better future.”

With a leader like Assad, you can’t just hope they won’t be used

On Monday, President Obama warned the Assad regime that it would be “held accountable” if it decided to use its stockpile of chemical weapons. “The President did the right thing by drawing the line in the sand,” said General Jones. “And I think some of our recalcitrant friends and allies like the Russians and the Chinese ought to b e thinking about that very seriously as well.”

Asked if there are military plans to go in and get those chemical weapons, he said, “I don’t know. But I do know that whether Assad himself uses them or not, after he leaves, it would be wise to have a plan to go in and secure those weapons before they really do fall into the wrong hands, just as we did with Libya.”

In the meantime, the current situation is sufficiently dangerous: “In a moment of desperation, with a leader like Assad, you can’t just hope they won’t be used. And even if he doesn’t use them, at the end of the day they have to be secured; otherwise they might fall into the wrong hands and then we might have even a bigger problem.”

Could those “wrong hands” belong to al Qaeda? General Jones “wouldn’t discount that.” He went further and said, “I wouldn’t discount other interest groups, particularly terrorist organizations, from having that goal. It’s always been a goal of an organization like al Qaeda to achieve and to attain weapons of mass destruction.”

“So this is one of the big reasons why we’re concerned about Iran,” he added, “not only because of what they might do, but because it might trigger a nuclear arms race in the Gulf and it also might find its way to the non-state actors.”

soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Get Over It CNN Assad Is Not Going Anywhere.

    Get Over It CNN Assad Is Not Going Anywhere.

    July 24, 2012 at 8:03 pm | Reply
  2. Md. Moinuddin

    yes only plan that is realistic given the current situation is to leave the Syria in a state of disorder by the world. just like the fate Libya is awarded by the international community. the world is only taking steps aimed at inflating the situation in Syria I dont know if I can say this but the muslim world is a toy to the west....Saudi Arab and Qatar are the tools to do it...

    July 24, 2012 at 11:50 pm | Reply
  3. Nowzesh Hasan

    It is very vital to have a plan after Asad's regime. And it is also foremost important to secure the alleged chemical arms of Syria. But why the international community are too helpless to secure the life of Syrian civilians? Why we cannot resist the mass murder, it is not more important? Why these politics & profits will take such a toll on innocent civilians? I think, we should think and emphasize for humanity. We can resist all misdeed against humanity as one. Let's save innocent civilians, let's make this plant a better place, out of drugs, arms & racism.

    July 25, 2012 at 1:52 am | Reply
  4. cobra

    After Assad fall, We will have sharia law inshAllah, we will fight for Sharia the law of God!

    July 25, 2012 at 6:23 am | Reply
    • licas

      Smart boy . . . Is your way to be a murder behind ?

      July 25, 2012 at 6:53 am | Reply
  5. bas

    There is no need for a plan. The opposition is still in disharmony, as Mr. Zakaria in his show pointed out that the opposition will not be able to defeat the stronger forces of the Baath if they do not and very soon establish a base. Syria is not like Libya, Lybia is mostly a desert and empty. The only eff-up that the regime has recently done and which might bring a larger reprocussion was admitting to the possesion of WMDs which and if it used them against its people will only mean the same as Sadam had done against the Kurds. "NOTHING!" for years to come before they (the West)conjure up a different reason to get involved in Syria. I think the pretext will come if Syria decided to invade Lebanon again and again bringing the Iranian plan to the surface.

    July 25, 2012 at 7:03 am | Reply
  6. ghazza

    Is there a plan for post failed CIA coup?

    July 25, 2012 at 7:44 am | Reply
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