Will Washington make it a hat trick?
An excerpt from, "Syria war: Assad says new government could include foes" By Greg Botelho, CNN, March 30, 2016:
Assad offered no hint he would step down -- which his opponents have insisted upon but which he's steadfastly refused to do.An excerpt from, "Iraq asked Syria's Assad to stop aiding 'jihadists': Former official" By Mamoon Alabbasi, Middle East Eye, October 20, 2015:
Nor did he offer kind words for nations that have supported opposition forces.
Assad accused several of them -- Turkey, Saudi Arabia, France and the United Kingdom -- of having "directly supported" terrorism.
Assad's comments weren't the first time Syrian officials have accused other countries of supporting terrorists. The regime often refers to any rebels, not just groups such as ISIS, as terrorists.
Iraq's former national security advisor Mowaffak al-Rubaie had warned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against supporting "jihadi" militants who later become leaders in the Islamic State (IS), the former top Iraqi official said.
The alleged support and training for the militants took place in Syria and was carried out by government security forces who reportedly wanted to keep American troops busy fighting in Iraq following the 2003 US-led invasion of the country.
"I went and met President Bashar al-Assad twice, and presented him with material evidence, documents, satellite pictures, confessions, all sort of evidence that his security forces were involved in active (sic) and transporting jihadist from Syria to Iraq," Rubaie told Al Jazeera, in the first of a two-part documentary entitled Enemy of Enemies: The Rise of ISIL aired earlier this week.
"And also, there were training camps with names and locations. He (Assad) was in total denial of that. I remember telling him that this will - in no time – backfire on Syria," he added.
The documentary suggested that there were secret meeting between representatives of Assad, and former Iraqi Baathist officers as well as "jihadi" militants. It says that the meetings were hosted by Damascus prior to the Syrian uprising in March 2011. It is unclear when exactly they met.
It is not the first time a senior Iraqi figure has accused Syria's Assad of "exporting terror" to Iraq during the US occupation.
In 2009, former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki accused the Syrian government of harbouring "terrorists" who plan and carry out attacks against Iraq – a charge that was denied by Assad.
"Ninety percent of terrorists from different Arabic nationalities infiltrated Iraq through Syrian territory," Maliki said back then, demanding "that the Syrian side hand over the main people wanted in this crime" and "expel the terrorists, Baathists and Takfiris who take Syria as a base to launch criminal activity inside Iraq".