“You can’t simply deal with ISIS and not deal with Assad,” Prince Turki al-Faisal told CBS News on Thursday.
The former ambassador to the United States said “if the need” for US ground troops arises in the effort to depose al-Assad he “hopes the president will change his mind.”
Asked if Saudi Arabia would send ground troops, al-Faisal said no way.
”It would be a mistake for the United States, or Great Britain… to send in ground troops and overthrow the Assad regime,” Obama told the BBC in April.
However, around the time Obama made this remark the United States sent 250 ground troops into Syria—in direct violation of that country’s national sovereignty—under the pretense of fighting the Islamic State.
The Saudis scoffed and said the move was little more than “window dressing.”
Asked about a remark by Iran that Saudi Arabia’s participation in the coalition bombing of Syria is illegal, al-Faisal said Iran’s troops on the ground “killing Syrians” is illegal.
The Saudi prince failed to mention that Russia, Syria, Iran, and Iraq formed a coalition to fight the Islamic State in September 2015. The United States was offered to join the coalition but its response was “unconstructive,” according a statement by Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov.
As a former diplomat, al-Faisal is undoubtedly aware of the invitation by Syria, but then we have to keep in mind he was talking to an American television audience that knows virtually nothing about the real situation in Syria.
CBS did not clarify.
That would be a deviation from the script.