Obama warns of extremist threat over Syrian civil warBy MATTHEW LEE
THE Associated Press | March 23,2013AMMAN, Jordan — Anxious to keep Syria’s civil war from spiraling into even worse problems, President Barack Obama said Friday he worries about the country becoming a haven for extremists when — not if — President Bashar Assad is ousted from power.
Obama, standing side by side with Jordan’s King Abdullah II, said the international community must work together to ensure there is a credible opposition ready to step into the breach.
“Something has been broken in Syria, and it’s not going to be put back together perfectly immediately — even after Assad leaves,” Obama said. “But we can begin the process of moving it in a better direction, and having a cohesive opposition is critical to that.”
He said Assad is sure to go but there is great uncertainty about what will happen after that.
“I am very concerned about Syria becoming an enclave for extremism,” Obama said, adding that extremism thrives in chaos and failed states. He said the rest of the world has a huge stake in ensuring that a functioning Syria emerges.
“The outcome is Syria is not going to be ideal,” he acknowledged, adding that strengthening a credible opposition was crucial to minimizing the difficulties.
Obama, at a joint news conference with Abdullah, said his administration is working with Congress to provide Jordan with an additional $200 million in aid this year to cope with the massive influx of refugees streaming into the country from Syria.
Abdullah said the refugee population in his country has topped 460,000 and is likely to double by the end of the year — the equivalent of 60 million refugees in the United States, he said.
Obama also said he would “keep on plugging away” in hopes of getting the Israelis and Palestinians to reach a peace agreement.
“The window of opportunity still exists, but it’s getting more and more difficult,” the president said. “The mistrust is building instead of ebbing.”MORE IN Wire NewsNAIROBI, Kenya — The U.S. Full StoryPHOENIX — In a ruling that calls into question Arizona’s gay marriage ban, a judge handed a... Full Story
- Most Popular
- Most Emailed
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1959, Soviet Premier Nikita S. Khrushchev arrives in U.S. for historic 13-day visit; in 1987, Secretary of State George Shultz and Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze sign nuclear reduction agreement.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: City celebrates completion of its newest mural, on West Street opposite the post office, more than $2 million in federal grants will bolster Vermont's health centers, Patrick McArdle reports on pending sale of Vermont papers.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: Henry Hudson sails up the Hudson River as far as present-day Albany, Leo Szilard has epiphany waiting for the light to change, 3 kids report a West Virginia close encounter in 1952.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Who will run for mayor in Rutland next year? Has Bennington overcome its fear of twerking? Documentary 'Hungry Heart' packs the Paramount, and the city's Creek Path scores another million-plus dollars.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: The 1509 'Lesser Judgment' earthquake on this day at Constantinople kills 13,000 and destroys the city; in 1801, on this day, Marie Laveau, the Voodoo Queen of New Orleans is born.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Meeting with city police opens topic of bias, Gov. Shumlin announces he'll seek a third term, open party in Main Street Park will celebrate Bethany Bosch's English Channel swim, state task force arrests three drug peddlers..