The Obama administration acknowledged Tuesday that diplomacy, the main pillar of its Syria policy, is failing even as civil war is destroying the country, leaving open the question of what the United States will or can do to stop the slaughter.
Negotiations between the Syrian government and parts of the opposition are “far from achieving” a peaceful end to the conflict, President Obama said, and in Geneva, the United Nations envoy leading the talks said they aren’t getting anywhere.
“With each passing day, more people inside of Syria are suffering,” Obama said. “The state of Syria itself is crumbling. That is bad for Syria. It is bad for the region. It is bad for global national security, because what we know is, is that there are extremists who have moved into the vacuum in certain portions of Syria in a way that could threaten us over the long term.”
The president’s dire assessment, and an acknowledged dearth of policy options, created one of the most dismal pictures to date of Syria’s violent disintegration and the administration’s inability to affect events.
Obama ruled out direct U.S. military intervention, at least for now, but offered no new substitute to address a crisis he called heartbreaking and risky for the entire Middle East.
“Nobody’s going to deny that there’s enormous frustration here,” Obama said during a news conference with visiting French President François Hollande. “Right now we don’t think that there is a military solution, per se, to the problem. But the situation’s fluid, and we are continuing to explore every possible avenue.”
The ongoing killing and the deteriorating humanitarian conditions, along with the spread of radical Islamist militants taking advantage of the chaos, make Syria “one of our highest national security priorities,” Obama said.snip
Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr., in testimony before Congress on Tuesday, called the war, which has killed more than 110,000 and displaced millions, an “apocalyptic disaster.”
“For 10 days, the Assad delegation has refused to engage in even the most basic issues,” the umbrella Syrian Opposition Coalition said Tuesday. “The regime delegation is engaged in a stalling technique, day after day, demanding that what they call ‘terrorism’ be discussed. The truth is that, to Bashar al-Assad, a terrorist is any Syrian who disagrees with him.”Digression- Terrorism as defined by the US- FBI
Domestic terrorism" means activities with the following three characteristics:Sounds like what is happening in Syria.
- Involve acts dangerous to human life that violate federal or state law;
- Appear intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination. or kidnapping; and
A State Department spokesman, Edgar Vasquez, noted on Twitter that the word “terrorism” does not appear in the document setting the terms and topics for the peace negotiations.
Brahimi said he has the patience to keep going, but the Syrian opposition and its U.S. backers complained that the Assad government is blocking deliveries of food and medicine to besieged civilians in spite of the talks.From earlier reporting it did not appear that the Syrian Army was blocking deliveries of anything. Rather they were forced to guard terrorists being evacuated from Syria :UN humanitarian relief- For Al Qaeda/NATO merc/killers not for Syrians.
The Geneva peace talks are expected to continue, but Clapper summed up expectations as “modest.”
The Obama administration has cautioned that a political bargain to end the war will take time, but the fractious atmosphere at the talks has been sobering for U.S. officials. The dispiriting results followed similarly underwhelming progress toward the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons.
Both diplomatic efforts rely on the Assad government’s cooperation. The Obama administration accuses Syria of deliberately slowing down delivery of toxic material for destruction and is leaning on Assad ally Russia to demand faster work. Obama acknowledged Tuesday that Assad has “missed some deadlines” in the chemical weapons effort.
There is little else Washington can do to force compliance, and any international punishment for failure would require action by the U.N. Security Council.
Assad’s forces have the upper hand but have been unable to beat back a persistent and well-supplied rebel force. And the effective stalemate could be “prolonged,” Clapper told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
“The regime doesn’t have the staying power to hold on to the areas they clear, and with the external support to the opposition, they will continue to be a thorn in the side of the regime,” he said.
If the US wants peace. Truly wants peace. All they have to do is call back their hired killers
Through all their proxies... Saudi Arabia. Turkey. Jordan. Israel. It's that simple Barack.
First post- "Use force to save starving Syrians" An opinion piece