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Kerry's words on Assad certain to draw scrutiny

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. John Kerry has held up Syria as a country that could bring peace and stability to the region. He predicted the now-disgraced regime of President Bashar Assad would pursue a legitimate relationship with the United States.

Those words are certain to draw scrutiny at his confirmation hearing for secretary of state as the Mideast ruler’s brutal crackdown has plunged the country into months of civil war.

Conservative websites have mocked the relationship as a Kerry-Assad bromance, seizing on the comments.

But the politically tinged criticism of President Barack Obama’s nominee fails to capture the context of Kerry’s words, his more recent statements and what has been a complicated outreach to a mercurial and defiant leader. Republicans and Democrats alike have struggled to fathom the Assad family over the years.

Associated Press