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US envoy to UN not representing Trump’s foreign policy: Journalist

Wayne Madsen

The latest remarks about Syria by the US ambassador to the United Nations are in sharp contrast with President Donald Trump’s public stance and are instead in line with the policy of neoconservatives and former president Barack Obama, an investigative journalist in Washington says.

Nikki Haley is “not the ambassador for Barack Obama at the UN; she’s ambassador for Donald Trump at the UN and she’s not representing US foreign policy as we understand it to be from the White House,” said Wayne Madsen, an author and columnist specializing in intelligence and international affairs.

Haley said Monday the United States does not believe that the Syrian people want President Bashar al-Assad as their leader any longer.

Haley was asked about US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's remarks in the Turkish capital Ankara on Thursday, in which he said that Assad's status would be decided by the Syrian people.

She said Tillerson's remarks do not mean Washington will accept Assad participating in future elections. "It's that we don't think the people want Assad anymore; we don't think that he is going to be someone that the people want to have," Haley told a news conference at the UN headquarters in New York City.

“Ambassador Haley is at loggerheads with President Trump on this issue. Trump has apparently indicated that Assad stepping down, leaving Syria is no longer US policy,” Madsen said during a phone interview with Press TV on Tuesday.

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Haley's latest comments on Syria was a shift from her own comments a few days earlier, when she said on Thursday that the United States' diplomatic policy on Syria was no longer focused on making Assad leave power.

“She’s really pushing the neoconservative line and perhaps she’s getting her orders from Vice President Mike Pence, who’s an ardent neocon,” Madsen said.

“It’s the president that makes these decisions, not the ambassador to the United Nations and apparently she’s just another one of these renegade US ambassadors as we’ve seen with the previous administration, notably Susan Rice and Samantha Power, being taken under the wing of the neocons in New York,” he added.

As a presidential candidate, Trump said defeating the Daesh (ISIL) terrorist group was a higher priority than forcing Assad to step down.

In its later years, the Obama administration was focused on reaching a deal that would eventually lead to the ouster of Assad, though it also shifted its focus to the fight against ISIL.

In mid-2014, Washington increased support for the so-called moderate militants fighting Assad's government, although American officials privately acknowledged that Assad was not going anywhere soon and admitted the difficulty in defeating him.

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