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Former US diplomat warns of possible 'grave mistake' in Syria

Ryan Crocker, former US ambassador to Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, warns against a regime change plan that would depose the Alawite power structure in Syria and advises the Obama administration to contain the fighting by backing US regional allies, but not to intervene militarily.
Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, speaks during an interview at the U.S embassy in Kabul September 14, 2011. A marathon siege in Kabul's diplomatic enclave ended on Tuesday with the death of the last two of a group of gunmen who had held off Western and Afghan security forces for nearly 20 hours, showering rockets on Western embassies in a dramatic show of insurgent strength. Crocker said around six or seven rockets had hit inside the embassy perimeter during the early hours of the attack, l
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Ryan Crocker, a distinguished former US ambassador to Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, told a Washington audience May 1 that US military intervention would likely not produce a better outcome in Syria and that the Barack Obama administration should focus on a “post-Assad” but not a “post-Alawite” future for that war-torn country.

“We would be making a grave mistake if our policy were aimed at flipping the tables and bringing a Sunni ascendancy in Damascus,” said Crocker, who experienced the pitfalls of US military involvement in Lebanon in the 1980s and in Iraq in the past decade. The United States would have no assurance, he said, that a Sunni government would be an improvement on that of Bashar al-Assad and the probability would be that such a government would be “dominated by the worst of the worst” religious extremists.

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