What The Hell Is Kucinich Doing In Syria?

Uri Friedman has been trying to figure it out. His colleague Adam Clarke Estes follows up:

Dennis Kucinich has scolded the international media for exaggerating the violent protests in Syria, reports the Syrian Arab News Agency. Spotted unexpectedly in a Damascus hotel by a CNN journalist on Monday morning, the Ohio congressman has now said the press is "jumping to conclusions without talking to people and listening to what they want."

The purpose of Kucinich's trip is still somewhat clouded with intrigue.

We noted earlier how Kucinich has been parroting the points of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in interview with the American press, and his more recent statements to SANA reiterate his commitment to defending Assad:

"There are some who want to give a wrong picture about what is going on in Syria," Kucinich said in a press conference held on Tuesday at the Four Seasons Hotel, adding that things should be left to the Syrian people, government and leadership to decide for themselves the direction and the way to go for democratic changes. … "President al-Assad is highly loved and appreciated by the Syrians," said Kucinich, voicing his belief that people in Syria are seeking a real change which is up to them.

Joshua Keating highlights a quote from Kucinich last month:

We also understand that there's very serious questions raised about the conduct of the Syrian police, but we also know the Syrian police were fired upon and that many police were murdered.

Michael Rubin is gobsmacked by the liberal congressman's behavior. Totten sighs:

I’m almost willing to write his trip off as a harmless yet useless comic diversion, but there’s a tiny chance Assad might end up fleeing Syria if he comes to believe the entire world is gearing up to smash him if he refuses. Kucinich would have a better chance at success if he told Assad, “you’re next after Qaddafi,” but he’s Dennis Kucinich (a man the Daily Show’s Jon Stewart once referred to as “a small woodland creature”), so he won’t.