Gen. Jones: Not enforcing Syria red line a 'colossal mistake'

It's not unusual for former administration officials to criticize the president they served after they leave office.  But it's rare that the criticism is as harsh as the statement made by former Obama national security adviser General Jim Jones about the failure to enforce the infamous "red line" drawn by President Obama in Syria regarding Bashar Assad's use of chemical weapons on his own people.

Jones has been prominently mentioned as a candidate for President Trump's national security adviser.

The Hill:

Retired Gen. Jim Jones, President Obama’s first national security adviser, on Sunday blasted the former president's decisions on Syria, saying “it was a colossal mistake to draw a red line.” 

Jones told CNN's Jim Sciutto on "State of the Union" that the administration failed to follow up on the statement, which caused a “loss of confidence” in “a very important part of the world.”

"I think at the very least the penalty for [Syrian President] Bashar al Assad for having used chemical weapons on his own people should have been the forfeit of a piece of his territory for -- where refugees could have been handled and might have prevented the flow of refugees into Europe,” Jones said.

Jones is believed to be one of the four contenders to be Donald Trump’s next national security adviser after retired Vice Admiral Robert Harward declined the position recently vacated by Michael Flynn.

When asked about the qualifications needed for the position, Jones said the position needs a "strategic thinker."

"[It has] got to be someone who understands that the coordination, the strategic coordination of the inner agency... someone who can resist and cause the [National Security Council] to resist getting involved in the tactical operations of our efforts around the world,” Jones said.

Jones also added the national security adviser choice must have "access and confidence" to the president and top White House leadership.

There is little doubt that Obama's and Hillary Clinton's bumbling efforts in Syria led directly to the massive refugee crisis, not to mention several hundred thousand deaths of Syrian civilians.  Recall that only the intervention of Vladimir Putin, who agreed to force President Assad to relinquish control of his chemical weapons, saved Obama from a humiliating retreat after he drew the "red line" without consulting his secretary of defense or of state.

And Hillary Clinton's refusal to back the nascent Free Syrian Army – which at the time was led by mostly secular officers – led to the rise in Islamist militias, including AQ's affiliate in Syria, Al Nusra, and ISIS.

Jones is an intelligent, tough military guy but may be too closely identified with the Obama administration for President Trump to work with.  It's a shame that such clear thinking was missing in Obama's White House, when the Syrian civil war might have turned out differently.

It's not unusual for former administration officials to criticize the president they served after they leave office.  But it's rare that the criticism is as harsh as the statement made by former Obama national security adviser General Jim Jones about the failure to enforce the infamous "red line" drawn by President Obama in Syria regarding Bashar Assad's use of chemical weapons on his own people.

Jones has been prominently mentioned as a candidate for President Trump's national security adviser.

The Hill:

Retired Gen. Jim Jones, President Obama’s first national security adviser, on Sunday blasted the former president's decisions on Syria, saying “it was a colossal mistake to draw a red line.” 

Jones told CNN's Jim Sciutto on "State of the Union" that the administration failed to follow up on the statement, which caused a “loss of confidence” in “a very important part of the world.”

"I think at the very least the penalty for [Syrian President] Bashar al Assad for having used chemical weapons on his own people should have been the forfeit of a piece of his territory for -- where refugees could have been handled and might have prevented the flow of refugees into Europe,” Jones said.

Jones is believed to be one of the four contenders to be Donald Trump’s next national security adviser after retired Vice Admiral Robert Harward declined the position recently vacated by Michael Flynn.

When asked about the qualifications needed for the position, Jones said the position needs a "strategic thinker."

"[It has] got to be someone who understands that the coordination, the strategic coordination of the inner agency... someone who can resist and cause the [National Security Council] to resist getting involved in the tactical operations of our efforts around the world,” Jones said.

Jones also added the national security adviser choice must have "access and confidence" to the president and top White House leadership.

There is little doubt that Obama's and Hillary Clinton's bumbling efforts in Syria led directly to the massive refugee crisis, not to mention several hundred thousand deaths of Syrian civilians.  Recall that only the intervention of Vladimir Putin, who agreed to force President Assad to relinquish control of his chemical weapons, saved Obama from a humiliating retreat after he drew the "red line" without consulting his secretary of defense or of state.

And Hillary Clinton's refusal to back the nascent Free Syrian Army – which at the time was led by mostly secular officers – led to the rise in Islamist militias, including AQ's affiliate in Syria, Al Nusra, and ISIS.

Jones is an intelligent, tough military guy but may be too closely identified with the Obama administration for President Trump to work with.  It's a shame that such clear thinking was missing in Obama's White House, when the Syrian civil war might have turned out differently.

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