U.S. ‘Not on a Path’ to Help Syrian Rebels Win, Says Dempsey

Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey outlines three things the rebels need to defeat Assad and secure Syria—none of which the U.S. is providing.

A Syrian rebel fighter walks on a dust-covered street in Aleppo following a reported government airstrike on Sunday. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons on Tuesday said it would seek to "establish facts" about claims of chlorine-gas attacks in Syria.
National Journal
Kevin Baron, Defense One
Add to Briefcase
Kevin Baron, Defense One
May 14, 2014, 12:08 p.m.

Joint Chiefs Chair­man Gen. Mar­tin De­mp­sey says the United States is not provid­ing Syr­i­an rebels what they would need to win the war against Pres­id­ent Bashar al-As­sad’s re­gime.

De­mp­sey’s re­marks keep the chair­man — a former di­vi­sion com­mand­er in the Ir­aq war — on fa­mil­i­ar foot­ing, as he leads top Pentagon gen­er­als skep­tic­al of us­ing dir­ect U.S. mil­it­ary force to aid Syr­i­an rebels or oth­er­wise in­ter­vene mil­it­ar­ily in Syr­ia’s fu­ture be­cause of the coun­try’s an­ti­cip­ated long-term se­cur­ity needs after any ini­tial con­flict. De­mp­sey out­lined spe­cific­ally why he be­lieves Syr­ia’s rebels need far more than a res­cue mis­sion.

“They need the force they have now, which is try­ing to pro­tect loc­al vil­lages and try to har­ass the re­gime and level the play­ing field. They need something that even­tu­ally will be able to hold ground. And they need a coun­terter­ror cap­ab­il­ity — all of which is re­spons­ive to Syr­i­ans,” De­mp­sey said Wed­nes­day at the At­lantic Coun­cil, a NATO-ori­ented think tank in Wash­ing­ton,D.C. “And we are not on a path cur­rently to provide that.”

“That’s the con­ver­sa­tion that we need to have,” De­mp­sey said, but not uni­lat­er­ally, in­stead call­ing for coun­tries in the re­gion to face the real­ity of those needs. “It’s Beirut to Dam­as­cus to Bagh­dad,” De­mp­sey said.

From the out­set of Syr­ia’s civil war — des­pite its growth in to a multi-year con­flict claim­ing more than 100,000 lives and dis­pers­ing mil­lions in­to neigh­bor­ing Middle East states — De­mp­sey and seni­or U.S. mil­it­ary lead­ers, in­clud­ing Gen. Ray Odi­erno, Army chief of staff and former com­mand­er of the Ir­aq war, in their ef­forts to pre­pare mil­it­ary op­tions in Syr­ia for Pres­id­ent Barack Obama, have pub­licly ques­tioned the pur­pose of Amer­ic­an troops in Syr­ia after an As­sad de­feat.

In Syr­ia, gov­ern­ment forces have re­gained con­trol of Homs, the coun­try’s third-largest city, where a 2-year siege has res­id­ents feel­ing like the war is over, ac­cord­ing to the Los Angeles Times. Mean­while, France al­leged Syr­ia has con­duc­ted more than one dozen chem­ic­al at­tacks since the United States op­ted against mil­it­ary strikes last fall, and Lakh­dar Brahimi, the top United Na­tions ne­go­ti­at­or on Syr­ia resigned Tues­day, sig­nal­ing the West’s frus­tra­tion at get­ting Syr­ia’s fight­ing fac­tions to­ward any polit­ic­al solu­tion and fears that much more con­flict is likely to come.

“Look, if As­sad took his fam­ily and all of his cronies and de­par­ted Syr­ia today, how does that coun­try — how does it ar­tic­u­late it­self?” De­mp­sey said.

“I’ve heard it de­scribed as a suc­ces­sion of con­flicts. You have the con­flict that cur­rently ex­ists; then there’ll be the second con­flict, which is kind of an in­tern­al con­flict; and then there’ll be the third con­flict against the ter­ror­ist or­gan­iz­a­tions that are grow­ing,” he said. “That’s prob­ably right.”

What We're Following See More »
TRUMP CONTINUES TO LAWYER UP
Kasowitz Out, John Dowd In
1 days ago
THE LATEST

As the Russia investigation heats up, "the role of Marc E. Kasowitz, the president’s longtime New York lawyer, will be significantly reduced. Mr. Trump liked Mr. Kasowitz’s blunt, aggressive style, but he was not a natural fit in the delicate, politically charged criminal investigation. The veteran Washington defense lawyer John Dowd will take the lead in representing Mr. Trump for the Russia inquiry."

Source:
ALSO INQUIRES ABOUT PARDON POWER
Trump Looking to Discredit Mueller
1 days ago
THE LATEST

President Trump's attorneys are "actively compiling a list of Mueller’s alleged potential conflicts of interest, which they say could serve as a way to stymie his work." They plan to argued that Mueller is going outside the scope of his investigation, in inquiring into Trump's finances. They're also playing small ball, highlighting "donations to Democrats by some of" Mueller's team, and "an allegation that Mueller and Trump National Golf Club in Northern Virginia had a dispute over membership fees when Mueller resigned as a member in 2011." Trump is said to be incensed that Mueller may see his tax returns, and has been asking about his power to pardon his family members.

Source:
INCLUDES NY PROBE INTO MANAFORT
Why Yes, Mueller Is Looking into Trump Businesses
1 days ago
THE LATEST

In addition to ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, Robert Mueller's team is also "examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates, according to a person familiar with the probe. FBI investigators and others are looking at Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development in New York with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008, the person said. The investigation also has absorbed a money-laundering probe begun by federal prosecutors in New York into Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort."

Source:
Mueller Expands Probe to Trump Business Transactions
1 days ago
THE DETAILS

Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team is "is examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates", including "Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008."

Source:
ANALYSIS FROM CBO
32 Million More Uninsured by 2026 if Obamacare Repealed
1 days ago
THE LATEST

"A Senate bill to gut Obamacare would increase the number of uninsured people by 32 million and double premiums on Obamacare's exchanges by 2026, according to an analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The analysis is of a bill that passed Congress in 2015 that would repeal Obamacare's taxes and some of the mandates. Republicans intend to leave Obamacare in place for two years while a replacement is crafted and implemented."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login