Kerry admits Obama's Syria policy a failure
Josh Rogin of the Daily Beast is reporting that Secretary of State John Kerry told a closed door meeting of US lawmakers that President Obama's Syria policy has failed and that it was time to develop a new policy and arm the "moderate opposition."
As usual, Kerry is blaming everyone else except his boss, whose stupidity, naivete, and arrogance has made the US the lauighing stock of the Middle East.
Secretary of State John Kerry has lost faith in his own administration's Syria policy, he told fifteen U.S. Congressmen in a private, off-the-record meeting, according to two of the senators who were in the room.
Kerry also said he believes the regime of Bashar al Assad is failing to uphold its promise to give up its chemical weapons according to schedule; that the Russians are not being helpful in solving the Syrian civil war; and that the Geneva 2 peace talks that he helped organize are not succeeding. But according to the senators, Kerry now wants to arm Syria's rebels-in part, to block the local al Qaeda affiliates who have designs on attacking the U.S. (Kerry's spokesperson denied that he raised the issue of supplying weapons, but did not dispute the overall tenor of the conversation.)
"[Kerry] acknowledged that the chemical weapons [plan] is being slow rolled, the Russians continue to supply arms, we are at a point now where we are going to have to change our strategy," said Sen. Lindsey Graham, who attended Kerry's briefing with lawmakers on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference. "He openly talked about supporting arming the rebels. He openly talked about forming a coalition against al Qaeda because it's a direct threat."
Kerry's private remarks were a stark departure from the public message he and other top Obama administration officials repeatedly have given in public. Shortly after the meeting ended, Sens. Graham and John McCain described the meeting to The Daily Beast, The Washington Post, and Bloomberg View. Given newly-released intelligence on the growing al Qaeda presence in Syria, as well as shocking new evidence of Syrian human rights atrocities, the senators said they agreed with Kerry that the time had come for the United States to drastically alter its approach to the Syrian civil war.
The surreal nature of Obama's Syria policy was always that it was grounded in a reality that didn't exist - that the Russians could be trusted to help end the conflict; that Assad could be trusted to hand over his chemical weapons; that we could differentiate between terrorists and non-extremists when handing out arms and aid; and that simply bringing the two sides together to sit in the same room could jump start a peace process.
Total, complete, unmitigated failure.
And now, trouble - with a capital "AQ":
Kerry confirmed new testimony by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who told Congress last week that al Qaedas affiliates in Syria "have aspirations for attacks on the homeland."
"Kerry confirmed that," said Graham, "The first thing [Kerry] said [to the lawmakers] is, 'The al Qaeda threat is real. It is getting out of hand.'"
The infighting has cost more than a thousand lives in recent weeks, as Al-Qaeda's parent organization has, for the first time, disavowed an affiliate:
After weeks of vicious rebel infighting in northern Syria that has left more than a thousand dead and set jihadists at each other's throats, al-Qaeda has disavowed the militant group triggering the war within Syria's civil war, saying it isn't responsible for the actions of the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS). The disavowal--the first time the terror group's top leadership has disowned an affiliate--takes al-Qaeda into unchartered territory.
Over the weekend, before al-Qaeda posted a brief statement on jihadi websites saying it was cutting links with the militant group led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who envisages carving out his own caliphate stretching across the Levant, ISIS fighters escalated the internecine strife by killing a senior Islamist commander in a suicide bomb targeting a rebel headquarters in the Syrian city of Aleppo.
The jihadist bomber had gained access using the ruse that he had come to negotiate a truce between the warring sides, say opposition activists. Among the dead were fighters from al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, which has supported ISIS's opponents but has tried to stay on the sidelines of the rebel infighting.
With Lebanon at the tipping point of civil war, Hezb'allah siding with President Assad, and Iraq rapidly turning into a failed state, al-Bagdhadi may succeed in his wild dream to create an al-Qaeda caliphate within rocket range of Israel.
Forget the red line over chemical weapons. We may be forced to go in and destroy the former al-Qaeda affiliate before they can gather the strength to attack us. This would be the worst case scenario to be sure, but it's too late to do anything except limit the damage growing out of our misguided policies that were so incompetently designed and implemented.
About what we'd except from the designers of Obamacare.