by WorldTribune Staff, June 22, 2016
Secretary of State John Kerry on June 21 met with eight of the 51 State Department personnel who signed a “dissent channel” cable criticizing the Obama administration’s policy in Syria and calling for action against the regime of President Bashar Assad.
Reports say the eight dissenters left the meeting frustrated, with nothing resolved after five years of unenforced “red lines” and a series of failed cease-fire accords and no rational explanation for the White House’s unwillingness to budge on what has been a disastrous policy.
The Pentagon is said to remain cautious about entering another Middle East war it cannot control the outcome of. And five years of war have erased some options that were available in the early going, such as solid backing of moderate anti-Assad rebels.
Kerry told the dissenters on June 21 that Russia’s entry into the conflict greatly complicates any American military intervention due to the probability of accidental encounters that may turn deadly. Russia also had mainly been targeting the anti-Assad rebels, many of whom were supported by the U.S.
Earlier in the conflict, some State Department personnel have said in recent months, it would have been possible to “crater” the runways used by Assad’s air force, making it impossible for planes to take off and drop barrel bombs, a tactic the U.S. has used since World War II. The dissenters questioned why the tactic has not been employed in Syria.
As the deadly conflict in Syria continues and the humanitarian disaster worsens day by day, Kerry knows he is running out of time as Assad is likely betting he can wait out the end of the Obama administration.
The eight dissenters all agreed to keep the details of their June 21 conversation with Kerry private, but also know it would not be the last word on a strategy that has failed miserably.