Obama's Syria policy an 'embarrassment'

A group of US lawmakers Thursday lashed out at the Obama administration for what they claimed was a lack of a strategy in Washington’s handling of the Syrian civil war, calling it an 'embarrassment'.

Obama's Syria policy an 'embarrassment'

World Bulletin / News Desk

A group of bipartisan US Senators Thursday lashed out at the Obama administration for what they claimed was a lack of a strategy in Washington’s handling of the Syrian civil war.

“There is no real strategy relative to the opposition... And I want to support any and every diplomatic effort that is taking place. But I think we ought to realize there is no strategy right now for the opposition – none,” said Republican Senator Bob Corker, the Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, during a hearing Thursday.   

He said that US aid to the opposition is an “embarrassment”.

Robert Menendez, a Democratic senator, added, “I just don't get a sense that we have a strategy."

Washington’s ambassador to Damascus, Robert Ford, said that the Syrian opposition was “deeply disappointed” that Washington chose not to use military force in Syria. But he emphasized that the administration is trying to develop a political solution to Syria’s two and a half-year long crisis, which has killed more than 115,000 people.

“I have heard just anguish from people that I have talked to over there. And I've had to explain the administration's rationale. And I have had to emphasize to them that our primary goal here is to find a political solution,” he said.

He added, “In a civil war where communities think it's existential, that if they surrender, they will be murdered, we have to build a political set of agreements between communities.”

Ford went on to say that the administration does “not think there is a military solution to the conflict in Syria.” Despite recent gains that Assad’s forces have made in the southeast of Allepo, and in the country’s north, Ford maintained that Assad can't "win militarily either”.

The Obama administration had asked Congress to authorize military force following a deadly chemical attack in the suburbs of Damascus in August. Following political opposition in the House of Representatives, however, the administration pursued a plan with Russia to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles. 

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said Thursday that the Assad government destroyed vital facilities used to produce, mix and fill chemical weapons. Additionally, all declared chemical weapons were put under seal. The announcement came one day prior to the OPCW-mandated deadline.

Part of the administration’s efforts to develop a political solution to the Syrian crisis is the Geneva II conference planned for November.

Throwing cold water on the conference, Corker asked, “There's unlikely to be a very successful Geneva II conference because who is it that we're going to be dealing with? Who is it that we're going to be bringing to the table?”

And yet, no amount of external influence may be able to bring this crisis to an end.

“Ultimately, Senator, Syrians must fix this problem, and ultimately, Senator, it's going to require them to sit down at a table. The sooner they start, the better. But in the meantime, we will keep helping the opposition,” said Ford.

Last Mod: 01 Kasım 2013, 11:51
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