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Powell Warns Against Outsident Military Action in Syria

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Aug. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Outside military involvement in Syria is “probably not the solution” to the “civil war” occurring in the country, said former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Powell made the remarks in an interview with CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS” scheduled for broadcast tomorrow.

“It’s not clear to me that the outside world can do much more than lend encouragement to his departure, perhaps provide some limited assistance to the free Syrian forces,” Powell said, according to a CNN transcript.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will use violence as long as he thinks he has a chance to stay in power, Powell said.

Powell, a former U.S. Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that creating and enforcing a no-fly zone isn’t simple either.

“The one thing I know the administration is certainly considering is: What do we do after Assad departs?” he said. “I think he will eventually depart. I don’t think history is on his side, but it’s going to be ugly for a while until that point is reached.”

Iran’s Nuclear Program

On Iran, Powell said it would be difficult to get the country to stop enriching uranium.

“I would make clear that they knew from our side and from others in the region that the consequences of them using such a weapon would be cataclysmic,” he said. “They are the ones who would lose the next day.”

Powell, who supported President Barack Obama in 2008, said he hadn’t decided yet how he will vote this year.

“I want to see the whole picture and then ultimately I decide who I’m going to vote for,” said Powell, who was secretary of state under President George W. Bush, a Republican. “And if you knew my whole voting life pattern, I voted for Democrats, I voted for Republicans. Until President Obama, when I voted for him in 2008, I’d voted for 20 straight years for Republicans.”

Powell said he thought that on foreign policy, Obama has done “reasonably well,” avoiding new conflicts and being “vicious” on terrorists.

The interview was recorded Aug. 9, before Zakaria was suspended by CNN for plagiarism in his Time magazine column and a CNN blog posting. Zakaria accepted responsibility, apologized and, after an internal CNN review, was reinstated by the network.

To contact the reporter on this story: Richard Rubin in Washington at rrubin12@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at msilva34@bloomberg.net

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