Robert Ford, Former US Ambassador to Syria

Washington, November 03 (QNA) – Former US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford, who served there from 2011-2014, and Senior Fellow at the Middle East Institute praised today the big role the State of Qatar plays in settling regional disputes and handling different regional and international issues.

Speaking to Qatar News Agency, Ford expressed his belief that the United States’ relations with the GCC members under new president will remain just as strong now, despite the passing of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA). He noted that the US administration issued an executive veto against the law and many specialists and diplomats in the US were against issuing that law as well.

He added that the US Department of State is generally opposed to the law and is keen on ensuring it doesn’t impact the US relations with other countries, especially GCC members.

qatar airways

Ford commented on the differences between Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, back when she was Secretary of State, and President Barack Obama. Ford said that Clinton has experts at her campaign who advise her on Syria. Some, such as Steven Simon, are against intervention in Syria. While others such as Michele Flournoy see it is paramount that the US intervenes to resolve the Syrian crisis. He added that he was not sure which way was Clinton leaning.

On the liberation of Al Mosul in Iraq from ISIS, Ford said that US forces were making progress in both Mosul in Iraq and Al-Raqqah in Syria. He warned that, even after a military victory in the two cities, ISIS and Al Qaeda will continue to have cells operating in Iraq and Syria and those two must be eliminated.

Ford turned to the presidential elections and said he expected Hillary Clinton to emerge as the strong winner. The US diplomat said that he has offered his help and backing to Clinton’s campaign.

Commenting on Clinton’s recent declines in a recent opinion poll by CNN, Ford said it was important to note that nationwide opinion poll will not necessarily reflect the results because the elections are held on a state-by-state basis. He highlighted that Clinton had a comfortable lead over Republican candidate Trump in important states such as New York and California. (QNA)