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Kerry's remarks on Assad could haunt him

| Friday, Jan. 11, 2013, 7:40 p.m.
FILE - This April 1, 2010 file photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, shows Syrian President Bashar Assad meeting with Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., President Barack Obama's choice to become the next secretary of state, at al-Shaab presidential palace in Damascus, Syria. Kerry's past words of encouragement for Syrian President Bashar Assad are certain to draw scrutiny at his confirmation hearing for secretary of State as the Mideast ruler's brutal crackdown has plunged the country into months of deadly civil war and turned Assad into a pariah. (AP Photo/SANA, File) ** EDITORIAL USE ONLY **

Sen. John Kerry once held up Syria as a country that could bring peace and stability to the Mideast and predicted that the now-disgraced government of President Bashar Assad would pursue a legitimate relationship with the United States. Those assertions are certain to draw scrutiny at Kerry's confirmation hearing to be secretary of State.

Conservative websites have mocked the relationship as a Kerry-Assad “bromance.”

Kerry summed up the uncertainty in the region when he said in a speech on March 16, 2011, that the “modern Middle East has long confounded American foreign-policy makers.”

Of Assad, Kerry said that he had 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.”

Kerry ticked off six requests for Assad, and said the Syrian president fulfilled all of them.

“So my judgment is Syria will move; Syria will change, as it embraces a legitimate relationship with the United States and the West.” — AP

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