MESOP Syria Daily: Obama Set to Dismiss Internal Call for Military Action v. Assad

By Scott Lucas – eaworldview – President Obama’s advisors have dismissed a call by 51 State Department staff for military action to put pressure on Syria’s Assad regime.Several US officials told journalists on Friday that the White House would listen to the proposal, set out in a “dissent channel cable”; however, they said it is not expected to bring any changes in Obama’s approach.

One senior official effectively quashed the dissent when he said that the test for high-level consideration was if the proposal “falls in line with our contention that there is no military solution to the conflict in Syria”.

The cable called for “targeted military strikes” and a renewed partnership with “moderate” rebel forces to fight against both the Islamic State and the Syrian military and its allies: “Failure to stem Assad’s flagrant abuses will only bolster the ideological appeal of groups such as Daesh [the Islamic State], even as they endure tactical setbacks on the battlefield.”

Secretary of State John Kerry — who has sought military action in the past but been overruled by Obama — was more receptive to the dissent. He said during a visit to Denmark, “It’s an important statement and I respect the process, very, very much. I will…have a chance to meet with people when I get back.”

An official “familiar with [Kerry’s] thinking” said that the Secretary of State would go even farther, considering “a wide range of military operations” beyond the targeted airstrikes.

However, a “senior US official” played down any significance, saying that it was natural that “on a subject as complex and complicated as Syria that we have a diversity of views”> And White House spokeswoman Jen Friedman said that, while Obama is open to a “robust discussion”, his aides had already looked closely at a range of options.

Other officials jabbed that no “senior” State Department personnel had signed the cable.