Thursday, October 2, 2014
Vice President Biden:
“The fact of the matter is, the ability to identify a moderate middle in Syria was—there was no moderate middle, because the moderate middle are made up of shopkeepers, not soldiers; they’re made up of people who, in fact, have—ordinary elements of the middle class of that country.”
“What my constant cry was that our biggest problem is our allies — our allies in the region were our largest problem in Syria. ”
The Turks were great friends. And I have a great relationship with Erdogan [whom] I just spent a lot of time with. The Saudis, the Emiratis, etc. What were they doing? They were so determined to take down Assad and essentially have a proxy Sunni-Shia war. What did they do?
“They poured hundreds and millions of dollars and tens and thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad. Except that the people who were being supplied were [Jabhat] al-Nusra and al-Qaeda and the extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world. Now you think I’m exaggerating. Take a look: Where did all of this go? So now what’s happening? All of a sudden, everybody is awakened because … [IS] which was al-Qaeda in Iraq, which when they were essentially thrown out of Iraq, found open space and territory in … eastern Syria, worked with al-Nusra who we declared a terrorist group early on and we could not convince our colleagues to stop supplying them. So what happened? Now, all of a sudden, I don’t want to be too facetious, but they have seen the Lord! Now … the president’s been able to put together a coalition of our Sunni neighbors, because America can’t once again go into a Muslim nation and be the aggressor. It has to be led by Sunnis to go and attack a Sunni organization. So what do we have for the first time?”
Now Saudi Arabia has stopped the funding going in, Saudi Arabia’s allowing training on its soil of American forces under Title 10, open training. The Qataris have cut off their support for the most extreme elements of the terrorist organizations and the Turks, President Erdogan told me — he’s an old friend — said you were right, we let too many people through. Now they’re trying to seal their border.”
“It took Saudi Arabia to figure out ISIL’s objective wasn’t Ramadi, it was Mecca and Medina.”