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How Russia’s Syria deal could be 'gone with the wind'

September 10th, 2013
04:02 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Frederic Hof used to be the point man on the Syrian transition in the U.S. State Department; now, out of government, he could hardly be more critical of President Barack Obama’s policy toward that country.

“I believe that the president should have been prepared right at the outset,” Hof, the former U.S. State Department special adviser to the transition in Syria, told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday. “I think he should have acted quickly. I think he should have authorized military strikes against the tools of terror: the artillery, the aircraft, the rockets, and the missiles.”

The potential for those strikes now is looking more and more remote, as a Russian proposal to have Syria turn over control of its chemical weapons gains traction among governments around the world, including the United States.

Hof, for his part, said it was “hard to tell if the initiative itself is serious.”

Even if it is, he told Amanpour, its success will come down to a single thing.

“It is the credible use of force that has gotten the Russians and presumably the Syrians interested in doing something about this toxic chemical stockpile,” Hof said. “If congress, in its wisdom, decides to make that credible use of force go away, this Russian proposal will be gone with the wind.”

The same, he continued, goes for any potential negotiated solution to the civil war as a whole.

“Diplomacy,” he said, “is not possible without the credible use of force remaining on the table.”

Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • Syria
soundoff (19 Responses)
  1. jetfixr1

    Ms. Amanpour,
    next time you are on air can you please explain the purpose of the U.N.? why are they not demanding the immediate relinquishment of Syria's chemical weapons.? is that not why all nations agreed to ban these, and now that some country that lied about having them has admitted that they do have them.. why is there not an immediate call to surrender them. no country that signed that resolution should be able to question the U.N. demand to surrender such weapons.?

    September 10, 2013 at 11:46 pm | Reply
  2. Abanoub

    if the nation of the united states was able to stop their government from getting into this war
    then I well start believe in evolution

    September 11, 2013 at 6:15 am | Reply
  3. aurelius

    If it goes, so much the better, for there is no way accounting for all nerve gas is feasible in a war torn country. And when it goes, the president will have more than the current 60% of the American people behind him when he takes action.

    September 11, 2013 at 2:35 pm | Reply
  4. kushelevitch

    What was the Syria transition process? Transition from what to what? Syria is as feudal as it has been for ages . The Russians are simply at home with this process .

    September 13, 2013 at 2:51 am | Reply
  5. felix ogugbuaja

    Well it seems president Obama has a regard for the feelings and sensibilities of the American public, and also the opposition from UN members. But now Syria needs military intervention, not just a punitive strike, NATO, the US and their allies should send jack boots to syria to avert genocide.

    September 13, 2013 at 6:29 am | Reply
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