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 »
SMOKE REPORTED ONBOARD
Melania Trump's Plane Lands Safely After Mechanical Issue
3 hours ago
THE LATEST
PROBING COLLUSION AND OBSTRUCTION
Mueller To Release Key Findings After Midterms
3 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Special Counsel Robert Mueller is expected to issue findings on core aspects of his Russia probe soon after the November midterm elections ... Specifically, Mueller is close to rendering judgment on two of the most explosive aspects of his inquiry: whether there were clear incidents of collusion between Russia and Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, and whether the president took any actions that constitute obstruction of justice." Mueller has faced pressure to wrap up the investigation from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, said an official, who would receive the results of the investigation and have "some discretion in deciding what is relayed to Congress and what is publicly released," if he remains at his post.

Source:
SCENE APPEARED TO HAVE BEEN CLEANED, SANITIZED
Turks Say They Found Evidence that Khashoggi Was Killed in Embassy
1 days ago
THE LATEST
SAYS MBS CAN NEVER BE A WORLD LEADER
Graham Threatens Sanctions on Saudi Arabia
1 days ago
THE LATEST

“I’m not going back to Saudi Arabia as long as" Mohammed Bin Salman is in charge, Sen. Lindsey Graham said on Fox News today. “I’ve been their biggest defender on the floor of the United States Senate. This guy is a wrecking ball. He had [Khashoggi] murdered in a consulate in Turkey and to expect me to ignore it, I feel used and abused. The MBS figure is to me toxic, he can never be a world leader on the world stage.” Graham added that he intends to "sanction the hell out of Saudi Arabia.”

Source:
INTERROGATION GONE WRONG
Report: Saudis Planning to Admit to Khashoggi Killing
1 days ago
THE LATEST
×
×

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