John Kerry Wasn’t Always So Harsh to Syrian President Assad

Headlines across the globe heralded U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s scathing indictment of Syria that it was “undeniable” that President Bashar Assad’s regime used chemical weapons last week and that the “moral obscenity” should “shock the conscience of the world.”

Secretary of State John Kerry speaks on Syria at the State Department in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 26, 2013. The United States said chemical weapons had been used against Syrian civilians and warned President Barack Obama would demand accountability for this “moral obscenity.” Employing his strongest language yet, Kerry said Washington was still examining evidence, but left no doubt that Bashar Assad’s regime would be blamed. (Getty Images)

Kerry added Monday that “our sense of basic humanity is offended, not only by this cowardly crime, but also by the cynical attempt to cover it up” and that Assad’s “belated decision to allow access is too late and is too late to be credible.”

But Kerry may have a bit of a credibility issue of his own: A photo is going viral showing the Kerrys and the Assads enjoying quite the intimate dinner in 2009, before then-Sen. Kerry became secretary of state.

The dinner is at the Narenj Restaurant in Old Damascus, according to Seated across the table are Senator Kerry, his wife Teresa Heinz Kerry, and President Assad. Syrian First Lady Asma al-Assad’s back is to the camera. (Image source: Policy Mic)

Kerry was leading a delegation to Syria to discuss peace in the region at the time. According to French news agency AFP, Assad told Kerry during that visit that America needed a “proper understanding” of issues Syria faces.

Kerry has met with Assad on numerous occasions and once lauded Assad in 2011 as being a “very generous” man, according to the Weekly Standard.

“Well, I personally believe that — I mean, this is my belief, okay?” Kerry said. “But President Assad has been very generous with me in terms of the discussions we have had. And when I last went to — the last several trips to Syria — I asked President Assad to do certain things to build the relationship with the United States and sort of show the good faith that would help us to move the process forward.”

(H/T: Policy Mic)



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