Top US general: My mission is ISIL, not al-Assad

Gen. Martin Dempsey says nation building and overthrowing the Syrian president are not in his plans.

Top US general: My mission is ISIL, not al-Assad

World Bulletin/News Desk

The top U.S. general said Wednesday that he has been tasked with destroying ISIL, not overthrowing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. 

“My mission is to defeat ISIL, not to build a nation or topple the Syrian regime," Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, Gen. Martin Dempsey, told an audience of defense and security leaders at a Defense Summit in Washington. 

Dempsey said "the counter-ISIL strategy has to exist in both Iraq and Syria," however, as for the military strategy specifically, prioritize Iraq. 

During his recent visit to Iraq, Dempsey said he was encouraged by Iraqi leaders because they are acting "thoughtfully" in adopting an inclusive policy. 

Iraqi leaders are faced with enormous problems that would take time to overcome, he said, including sectarian divisions. 

They would need to show "courage" and "leadership" to settle all problems, he said. 

In Iraq he also visited the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government's capital Erbil, where Kurds have joined the fight against ISIL.


Amid calls from within the U.S.-led coalition against ISIL for Washington to do more to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, America’s defense chief also maintained that the establishment of ISIL as the number one threat was the correct strategy.

“The first priority, the most dangerous, is ISIL,” Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel told renowned interviewer Charlie Rose on public channel PBS late Wednesday. “We’ve never seen an organization like ISIL that is so well-organized, so well-trained, so well-funded, so strategic, so brutal, so completely ruthless.”

He reiterated the U.S. position that there was no military solution to Syria’s more than three-year long conflict, adding: “The people of Syria are going to have to be able to rely on, at some point, some kind of political solution to govern their country, give them the freedom that they want.”

Some within the more than 50-member international coalition have said that more should be done to remove Assad from power, even while fighting ISIL.

Asked by Rose if Assad was benefiting from the ongoing airstrikes against ISIL in Syria, Hagel said that he was, “indirectly.”

Still, he maintained: “There is not going to be a military solution in Syria. There only can be a diplomatic solution, and people coming together enough, and no one wants a completely failed government in Syria.”

Syria’s conflict has sharply divided many of the country’s religious and ethnic groups, and has become a major battleground for ISIL in its attempt to establish a transnational state. Fighting in the country has claimed over 191,000 lives through April of this year, according to the United Nations.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Kasım 2014, 14:07