Kerry Reveals Secret: Details of Secret Letter from Assad to Netanyahu
Former US Secretary of State John Kerry revealed the details of a secret message sent by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in 2010 to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and former US President Barack Obama.
Kerry says Netanyahu found the proposal “surprising,” because Assad showed willingness to make more concessions than those negotiated with Israel over previous years and ended without results in early 2011.
Kerry added that in 2009, when he was chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he visited Damascus as part of a Middle East tour and held his first lengthy meeting with Assad.
“I have encountered him around a Syrian nuclear power plant that Israel had bombed,” he wrote, referring to the Syrian nuclear reactor destroyed by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s government in 2007.
“When we were alone, Assad looked into my eyes and told me that the facility was not nuclear, it was a stupid lie, not entirely debatable.
When it came to support for Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas, the Syrian president replied that “everything must be negotiated,” suggesting that this policy could change as a result of negotiations with Israel.
Despite previous attempts to reach a peace agreement between Israel and Syria under the government of Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres, Ehud Barak, Olmert and Netanyahu (during his first term in the 1990s), all failed, Assad insisted on maintaining some kind of dealings with Israel.
“Kerry said in his book,” Assad asked me: what would it take to engage in serious peace negotiations in the hope of securing the return of the Golan Heights, which Syria lost in 1967? ”
“I told him that if he was serious, he had to make a special proposal,” he said, “and I asked my chief aide to send a letter to President Obama.”
Assad, in his message to Obama, has called for renewed peace talks with Israel, and he said Syria is ready to take a number of steps in return for the return of the Golan,” which Israel has occupied since 1967, Kerry wrote.
In his book, Kerry talks at length about Syria, which he describes as an “open wound” left behind by the Obama administration, an issue he thinks “every day.”
Kerry describes Assad in very harsh terms, which he says reflect his behavior for more than seven years of the war Syria is still witnessing.
“A man who can lie in your face four feet away can easily lie to the world after his people hit poison gas to death,” Kerry says.
Kerry also writes extensively about the deliberations within the Obama administration on how to respond to Assad’s use of chemical weapons against the Syrian people in the summer of 2013.