Vice President Joe Biden has apologized after saying U.S. allies in the Middle East funded and armed extremist rebels in Syria. Biden made the comments in a speech at Harvard University last week.
Vice President Joe Biden: “Our biggest problem is our allies. Our allies in the region were our largest problem in Syria. The Turks were great friends, and I have a great relationship with Erdogan, which I’ve just spent a lot of time with. The Saudis, the Emiratis, etc. What were they doing? They were so determined to take down Assad and essentially have a proxy Sunni-Shia war, what did they do? They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens, thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad. Except that the people who were being supplied were al-Nusra and al-Qaeda and the extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world.”
Over the weekend, Biden directly apologized in phone calls to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and then to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed of the United Arab Emirates. The White House says Biden expressed regret “for any implication that [U.S.] allies and partners in the region had intentionally supplied or facilitated the growth of [ISIS] or other violent extremists in Syria.”