Secretary of State John Kerry made a stunning claim when he appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations committee this week. He said the rebels in Syria that are fighting President Bashar al-Assad are both moderate and becoming more democratic. Here's the question and answer between Republican Senator Ron Johnson from Wisconsin and Kerry:
SEN. JOHNSON:What do we know about the opposition? I mean, what is -- have we been tracking them for the last two years? I mean, it seems like -- and this is more of an impression I have as opposed to any exact knowledge, but it seems like initially, the opposition was maybe more Western-leaning, more moderate, more democratic, and as time has gone by, it's degraded, become more infiltrated by al-Qaida. That -- is that basically true? Or to -- (inaudible) -- has that happened?
SEC. KERRY:No, that is -- no, that is actually basically not true. It's basically incorrect. The opposition has increasingly become more defined by its moderation, more defined by the breadth of its membership and more defined by its adherence to some, you know, democratic process and to an all-inclusive, minority-protecting constitution, which will be broad-based and secular with respect to the future of Syria. And that's very critical.
Yet some Middle East analyst strongly disagree with Kerry's assessment. Here's our interview with Middle East analyst Jonathan Spyer from the "Global Research Center in International Affairs."