Tulsi Gabbard Denies New Report Of Trump’s Role In Her Syria Trip
The congresswoman had previously met with Trump to discuss Syria policy and the Assad regime.
by Akbar Shahid Ahmed, Ryan Grim, HuffPo, April 3, 2017
WASHINGTON ― Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) did not communicate an offer for dialogue from President Donald Trump to Syrian strongman Bashar Assad during her trip to Syria in January, she told The Huffington Post on Monday.
Gabbard’s controversial visit with Assad has gained renewed attention after the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar, which is considered close to the Syrian leader, ran a story allegedly featuring details of the meeting.
The report quoted Gabbard as telling Assad, “This is a question to you coming from President Trump which he asked me to convey to you. So let me repeat the question: If President Trump contacted you, would you answer the call?” according to a translation by Brown University professor Elias Muhanna.
Asked by HuffPost if the Al-Akhbar report was accurate, Gabbard emailed, “No.”….
Some in Trump’s movement, like White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, believe that successfully courting Gabbard is a way to unite their faction of the Republican Party with more left-wing Democrats.…
read … Tulsi Gabbard Denies New Report Of Trump’s Role In Her Syria Trip
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The story of Trump 's message to Assad
US envoy in Damascus: We are ready to cooperate with you
Syrian president delivers documents confirming the involvement of US security officials in terrorism
Google Translate Version of Al-Ahkbar article (some translation errors corrected)
LINK: Al-Akhbar (Arabic language)
Gabbard quoted Trump: I gave up the demand to overthrow Assad by force (archive) The announcement by the White House that the fate of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is decided by the Syrian people was not surprising. His introduction dates back to the beginning of last fall, on the eve of (and after) the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States, replacing President Barack Obama, who reached the point of preparing for a military strike against the Syrian government in the summer of 2013
Ibrahim Al Amin
Two years ago and more, voices in the West rose in protest against policies in Syria. It's not just what's going on in Europe. Contrary to the prevailing impression that the American majority is not interested in what is happening in the Levant, and that the political, military and security departments are subject to no discussion, data and deliberations show that the debate is raging day after day, but there are those who close the doors and eyes. What the presidential election revealed about the professional crisis experienced by the American media in all its diversity, also reflected the deep moral crisis that afflicts this media, which is dominated by powerful forces in the administration and the economy. Even the cultural elites, appear more extreme than those in the decision-makers. It is a superpower that has become generalized in many countries of the world. The results of the US presidential election showed the media's inability to hold on to the public's attention all the time.
Tulsi Gabbard, a member of the Hawaii State Congress, is a member of the Democratic Party. She had already made opinions that seemed to be surreal about what was going on in our country. Women, whose voices are prominent in the media and institutions, have been one of the most unpopular voices in the administration. I decided to get a closer look at the reality of what is happening to us, especially in Syria.
Mid-summer, Gabbard matured the idea of visiting Syria on a fact-finding trip. The arrangements were indicative of the possibility of the visit last October. It took some action, from financing the trip, to arranging the agenda, to get the congressional ethics committee's approval for the visit.
Things completed late summer. But what happened was that Gabbard, known to the team of strong candidate Donald Trump, was involved in the election. Was never impressed by Hillary Clinton, and explicitly supported Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders, something that caught the attention of the Trump electoral team. After the latter won the election, he discussed with his team the possibility of convincing Gabbard to take up a senior government post in his new administration. During the communication and search, Trump learned of his intention to visit Syria. He asked her to delay the visit until he received his duties, because he had something to say to her.
Gabbard said to Assad:
Our boss asks if you will answer on your phone if it is a caller.
The Syrian president smiled and replied: Yes, this is my phone number
Gabbard agreed to postpone. On November 21, 2016, President-elect Donald Trump met her for more than two and a half hours. I told him that she could not postpone the visit any more, that her program was scheduled for mid-January between Syria and Lebanon, and that she would be there on the day he took office officially. She gave him congratulations in advance and apologized for not being able to attend the inauguration ceremony.
During the meeting, he asked her to explain his point of view about the situation in Syria and Iraq. After hearing them, he informed her that he agreed to their analysis. She told him that she was working on the preparation of data to enact a law that would prevent Americans from cooperating with anyone who has direct or indirect links with terrorist groups in the world, especially a sympathetic organization.
Trump asked: Will Assad meet in Damascus?
She said to him: Most likely!
He said: Well, ask him if he is willing to communicate with us, and I am ready to call him by phone. However, it should be known from now on that cooperation will be called "fighting". Will find that the demand to remove him from office is not in my interests. An address that will gradually disappear from circulation. Direct communication and the abolition of sanctions are time-consuming, and it is important to know how to act and how willing to cooperate with us in isolation from the Russians and the Iranians. We must change our policy towards Assad. Direct containment may be useful. The man stood up in his position. Reality tells us that we have to deal with it if we really want a confrontation.
Trump, pragmatic and pragmatic, believes that Obama's policy has ruined American influence in the Middle East. His predecessor has the responsibility to leave the region open to Russian influence, arguing that his administration must return and participate in the administration of the region, especially the files of Syria and Iraq. In this context, Trump wants to change all the policies of the administration, externally as well as internally. He pledges no confrontation with Russia, and wants to besiege Iran and end the effects of the nuclear agreement, even without abandoning it. Syria is believed to be the arena for understandings with Russians and others.
Trump believes that a preacher is the main danger to everyone. He is sure the role of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey in supporting the Al-Qaeda and all branches of al-Qaeda. Despite his hatred of Iran, he is believed to be the most serious in a fight. He does not want to make a fundamental political change, but wants to change strategy, so he thinks it is now important to focus on advocating and ignoring all other goals, including the goal of overthrowing Assad.
Gabbard quoted Trump:
Russia is smarter than us at
Syria, Iran is the most serious
In the fight against the duplicitous
Gabbard told (of) Trump: He knows he has many adversaries in America, from parties to the media and intelligence, down to the army. But he does not want to go back.
After meeting with Trump, Gabbard asked to step up preparations for travel. But what happened was the start of a campaign to disrupt it, inside the United States, through CIA agents. Which. "And" F. B. Which.". I got in touch with all those involved in the visit to persuade them to abandon them. The Foreign Ministry also began to face Gabbard's trip.
The American ambassador to Beirut, Elizabeth Richard, received something like "instruction" that she had to visit. She has already told Congress, and then upon her arrival in Lebanon, that her mission is confined to confronting Hezbollah and the Syrian government. She was not welcoming the congressman, but she did not officially know the purpose of the visit. She assumed that she would be the referee's authority to control the visit, fix appointments, and place prohibitions.
It was not too late for the ambassador to be surprised by a message opposite to her wishes. Is already living in a state of great tension because of its administration's decision to freeze its work with other diplomats in the world. She was not in the process of developing a serious program. But Gabbard herself asked her aides to inform the US embassy in Beirut that she did not want them to participate in the preparations or even the arrangements. "I do not want anything from the embassy there," she told her team. No security protection, no logistical procedures, no hosting, no scheduling, no participation in visits. The US ambassador was informed.
The ambassador thought she had to move quickly. With the arrival of the congressional aides to Beirut a few days earlier, Ambassador Richard asked to meet with them at the embassy and brought the security official to explain details of the serious situation in Lebanon with certain recommendations. The security official said Gabbard would stay at the guest house at the embassy. Once again, I was shocked by the deprived Ambassador of Lebanon. Gabbard's assistants told her that she was not interested, no one wanted anything, and that Gabbard preferred her visit to be far from all forms of protocol. She wanted to choose who to meet, where and how.
The security guards at the embassy pressed for conditions, from the name of the Lebanese official security agency, which will accompany the US representative while in Lebanon, with an explanation of the areas she can never visit (the red zone) or those that are preferred only by day (yellow area) and those open day and night (the green Zone). The security officer at the embassy then deposited a number of telephone numbers to call him when necessary, saying in a confident language: "We have units deployed all over Lebanon ready to intervene whenever necessary.
On January 14, Gabbard left the US capital for Beirut airport. Gabbard, accompanied by her husband, the filmmaker, rich Indian-born Abraham Williams, and the accompanying delegation arrived on Sunday. Aides were waiting for her, accompanied by a force from the embassy security service of the Internal Security Forces, which had been made available after contact with Interior Minister Nihad al-Mashnouk. From the airport, the convoy headed directly to the Yarzeh area to obtain a visa to Syria from the Syrian embassy there. The Syrian ambassador in Lebanon, Ali Abdul Karim, who hosted them pending the completion of visa papers.
What happened was that the convoy of the American guest chose a short route to reach the Yarzeh area. This means that it crossed the southern suburb, classified within the red zone. As she passed, I asked: Where are we?
Answer: We are in the area of Hezbollah.
I asked: But where are the military bases and the gunmen?
Answer: These things do not exist at all.
I asked: Are you sure that we are going through an area completely controlled by Hezbollah?
Answer: Yes! Within minutes we are in an area completely under the control of the Lebanese army, and there is the office of the Syrian ambassador and his house.
There, a force from the al-Fohud squad of the ISF arrived. Security officials at the US Embassy were unhappy with the use of embassy security. Their information indicates that it is under the influence of Hezbollah, and that they prefer "cheetahs". Gabbard's assistants accepted the order, but when she arrived at her room in a hotel in the capital, the American ambassador called to meet her. But Gabbard apologized, repeating: I do not want anything from the embassy.
On Monday morning, the motorcade starts from the hotel directly towards the Syrian border. At the factory point, the procession heads towards a point where a security team is easily accessible to the VIP lounge, where members of the Presidential Palace, headed by a Syrian presidential delegate, were waiting with the motorcade. While Lebanese security remained at the border, Gabbard and the delegation went directly to a meeting.
The American Ambassador in
Beirut was active to prevent meetings
With senior officials and Gabbard prevented the embassy from interfering
In its program
Assad received her with his usual smile. Shook hands with the members of the delegation, and asked her about the trip, and then she entered directly into the conversation:
"I'm here on a fact-finding visit. I want to visit more than one area in Syria if I can, and to meet people on the ground. I would like to assist in providing reliable and documented data on who supports terrorist organizations, especially the Al-Qaeda and Al Qaeda. I am here with the approval of Congress, and I intended to attend months ago, but the postponement came at the request of President Trump himself. "
Gabbard then offered Assad her vision of the situation in Syria and the region. "I met President Trump before coming here," she said. I bring you a letter from him. He asked me to tell you his thoughts and ideas about the region, and he asked for something else directly. "
Assad continued to listen, and Gabbard burst out to present her point of view and what she heard from the US president-elect. She repeated the administration's comments on the policies of its allies in Syria, from Saudi Arabia to Turkey to the rest of the Gulf states. She told him that Trump's absolute priority was a staunch fight. He will take into account his approach to Iran. It is a very serious country in the fight against a preacher. President Trump wants a radical change in America's policy toward Syria and the region.
Assad asked her: Is this your impression after meeting Trump?
Gabbard replied: No, that's his idea, and he asked me to convey it to you. In short, we want to cooperate with you in fighting the duplicitous. Trump is impressed by Russia's intelligence in managing the Syrian file and wants to build an understanding with the Russians in Syria.
Then I (Gabbard) suddenly asked Gabbard Assad: If President Trump called you, would you answer the call?
The lion (Assad) smiled and asked: This is a default question, or is it a suggestion?
She told him: not by default.
Assad: Is that a suggestion from you?
I replied: No, this is a question for you from President Trump, who asked me to convey it to you, and I will ask the question: If I call you, will you answer the call?
Gabbard was surprised by a quick response from Assad: Of course, I will give you a phone number that I can reach quickly.
At this point, Gabbard seemed somewhat surprised, as though she were under the influence of confusion, that Assad would not answer directly, and that he would ask for time to think. Later, Trump's administration found that Assad would ask time before answering, in order to consult with his Russian and Iranian allies. The Americans thought frankly that Assad "would not dare to communicate with them without Moscow's permission."
Before the end of the meeting, Gabbard returned and explained to Assad her need for a tour of Syria to prepare her report on what was going on. She asked if she could visit Aleppo, after the Syrian army had regained control with her allies.
In about two hours, Assad heard Gabbard's presentation, then presented his views and data on what was happening and the role of the United States of America directly or indirectly in support of terrorist groups. After that, Gabbard moved to another office, where she also met for two hours with the wife of Syrian President Asma al-Assad, and talked about the social aspects and negative effects of the people-based war in Syria. Then she met with the Mufti of Syria, Badr al-Din Hassoun, and the visit of the Great Mosque in Damascus, and then met with Patriarch Ignatius Afram, after which he met with businessmen and academics who presented the effects of the war on Syria.
The delegation arrived at an official residence. That evening, Gabbard called on Assad's advisor, Dr. Buthaina Shaaban, to attend the dinner, in the presence of Syria's UN representative Bashar al-Jaafari, and arrangements were made for a meeting with Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem.
The next morning, an official political team and a security guard from the American presidential palace visited the American guest and left everyone (left) on a presidential plane to Aleppo. There, another team was on hold, touring for hours, meeting the governor, members of Parliament and clerics.
The US delegation crossed the southern suburb and asked:
Where are the military bases?
Before her visit to Aleppo, her aides received a call that President al-Assad had decided to host it on Wednesday throughout the day, and that he had arranged for detailed meetings, including a working luncheon, and would provide them with compelling documents confirming the direct involvement of American security officials at the request of the administration of former President Barack Obama. Syria. This is what happened, and the decision to postpone her departure from Damascus from Wednesday to Thursday. On Wednesday, Gabbard al-Assad met twice with officials of the Syrian state who brought the documents and files. And presented her with what she felt as a shock rather than a surprise. She was given evidence to verify her authenticity when she returned to the United States.
Gabbard returned to Beirut on Thursday, where she was supposed to have a schedule full of scheduled dates, according to a list did not include for the first time the characters that the US Embassy requires every American visitor to meet them. The proposals came in response to Gabbard's desire. The table included the meeting of the three presidents, army chief, general security chief, former president Emile Lahoud and Maronite Patriarch Bishara al-Ra'i, stressing that no employee from the US embassy in Beirut would attend the meetings. She had set a date for an interview with Ambassador Richard in an urgent and moving meeting.
The president's office refused to arrange a meeting with President Nabih Berri. The Gabbard team quickly discovered that the US Embassy had intervened and informed the office of the President of the Council, as well as those involved in the presidential and government ministries and even security leaders, that the visit was uncoordinated. With the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Gabbard learned of the matter and asked her aides to inform the ambassador that what she was doing was illegal and would be reported to the White House, and the ambassador would be held accountable for an act contrary to the interests of the United States.
Before leaving Beirut, Gabbard held an unscheduled meeting with Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, who was in Beirut, and later traveled back to the United States to await a crowd of opponents who campaigned for her for several weeks. She was waiting for a date for the meeting with President Trump to inform him of the results of the visit, while she began working on the preparation of her special report on Syria ... And this stage is also a long story!