Hillary Clinton notes distance from Obama on Syria rebels

WASHINGTON Tue Jun 17, 2014 7:36pm EDT

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton answers a question as she discusses her new book ''Hard Choices: A Memoir'' at George Washington University in Washington June 13, 2014.  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton answers a question as she discusses her new book ''Hard Choices: A Memoir'' at George Washington University in Washington June 13, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Potential Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton pointed out her differences with President Barack Obama on Tuesday over his decision not to arm moderate Syrian rebels, as neighboring Iraq struggles to cope with extremist spillover from Syria.

"We pushed very hard. But as I say in my book, I believe that Harry Truman was right, the buck stops with the president,"

Clinton said in a CNN interview.

The former secretary of state said she, along with the then heads of the Pentagon and Central Intelligence Agency tried but failed to persuade Obama to arm the rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but that the White House resisted.

Clinton said it is not clear whether arming moderates in Syria would have prevented the rise of al Qaeda splinter group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which has swept toward Baghdad aiming to build a Muslim caliphate across the Iraqi-Syrian border.

"It's very difficult, in retrospect, to say that would have prevented this," she said. She said it is too soon to tell whether American policy in Syria was a failure.

The former secretary of state, senator and first lady has been offering views that differ from Obama's on foreign policy in recent months, including on issues such as Iran's nuclear program and dealings with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Clinton, who ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008, has said she will not decide before November's congressional elections whether to run for president in 2016, but is regarded by many as the Democratic front-runner. Her CNN interview was organized as part of a tour to promote her newly released book, "Hard Choices."

(Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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Comments (11)
neill999 wrote:
Clinton said it is not clear whether arming moderate terrorists in Syria would have prevented the rise of al Qaeda splinter group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
No. It would have done the opposite and helped the Al-Qaeda / ISIS rebels take over Syria and Iraq much quicker. I hope this warmonger Clinton never becomes president.

Jun 17, 2014 7:14pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
ZaydeAlan wrote:
Why would anyone believe a single word from her? I am astounded that she has any credibility at all. I cannot recall a single public position she’s ever had that has had no controversy associated. Also, she has no stake in whatever she says at this juncture, and she has proved throughout a long national career to be the absolute queen of spin.

Finally, I find about her a discomfiting arrogance.

Jun 17, 2014 7:36pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
sophie11rose wrote:
I have a real problem with the US arming anyone. In fact, I have a real problem with any country interfering with the inner workings of any foreign nation. Part of the reason the Middle East is such a mess is because foreign nations keep on trading, sending foreign aid and military support to the Middle East. They are basically subsidizing all the terror/violence.

The only people that can make peace in the Middle East are the people of the Middle East. It is time for a new foreign policy – NO PEACE = NO trade, NO foreign aid, NO military support. ALSO, pull the damn CIA out of the Middle East, all they do is stir the pot.

Jun 17, 2014 7:38pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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